Psychologists have a term—sublimation—for a process whereby certain negative urges are converted into positive behavior.
I’ve been feeling the need to sublimate.
You see, I’m feeling a lot of intense energy lately, much of it negative and a reaction to the daily news. I read what is going on in my country and the world and I get angry or scared, and frustrated.
For my own sake and for the sake of those around me, I need a way to release that stress.
I need a way to sublimate that energy.
Weeding is the answer. It has taken on new meaning for me this summer.
It’s always been an endless activity here, where the crabgrass and clover run free, amid pavers and garden beds.
I’ve always dreaded it a little, seen it as necessary evil, a fact of gardening life to just be dealt with.
Then I saw this strange little cartoon.
At first I found it disturbing and peculiar but now, every time I kneel down to weed, it inspires me.
When I weed now, I redirect my negative energy and think about the ripping off of heads and pulling out of spines.
I know this doesn’t sounds very “loving hands at home.” It may shock you.
But I’m not advocating actual, literal violence.
And I’m not fantasizing about large-scale head ripping. I’m not imagining pulling just any spines. Just a few specific spines.
It doesn’t work for everyone–some of the people who frustrate me a great deal are immune because they are, seemingly, spineless . . .
So I focus on the others. One in particular.
It’s oddly cathartic, this directing of negative energy to the task at hand. Where I once flinched at the sight of crabgrass, now I eagerly approach it—it has the best long roots.
If I work too quickly, the roots break and the weed comes back. Sublimation has made me a better, more careful weeder—I want that whole spine.
I finish a weeding session calmer than when I started. AND my patio looks better than it ever has.
So here is my advice to you: