May 23

What is a weed?
A plant whose
virtues have not
yet been discovered.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Today's Meditation:

As a teacher, I learn over and over just how limited and limiting our perspective is.  I learn that the student that other people call lazy is simply frustrated and unable to find meaning in the work that's assigned.  I find that the students who are called incapable are simply being asked to work in their areas of weakness rather than their areas of strength.

Almost anything that we think isn't useful is, indeed, useful.  The people we dislike the most are very often helping us to see parts of ourselves that we would like to change.  And consider the dandelion, which among other qualities is "a very safe, valuable and useful plant with many medicinal uses. It is considered a tonic (tones the body), reduces water weight gain, a mild laxative, helps to eliminate toxins from the blood, promotes healthy digestion and will soothe an irritated stomach, acts as an anti-rheumatic, helps support the liver and kidneys, keeps the bowels in a healthy condition, stabilizes blood sugar, reduces blood pressure, has shown anti-tumor properties and clears the skin of impurities" (

It's difficult sometimes to stop and think of things that irritate us.  After all, we want to just get problems out of our lives and weeds out of our lawns and gardens.  But just what are we getting rid of when we never stop to consider the potential positive sides of the things and people with which we're dealing.  Perhaps we're getting rid of learning experiences, or even something with just the healing properties that we need right now.

Sometimes I think of myself, too, as "a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."  I know that I have a lot to give, but the person who most needs to discover my virtues is me, myself.  I hope that one day I'll stop seeing myself as a weed, and start seeing myself as a weed with lots to give.  I'm part-way down that road, but still traveling it.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things can keep us from seeing the strengths and potential of some of the things and people in our lives?

Think of something that you currently consider as useless, or as an inconvenience.  What other aspects might that thing have that you haven't yet considered?

Have you discovered your own most important uses yet?

For further thought:

Our being is subject to all the chances of life.  There are so many things we are capable of, that we could be or do.  The potentialities are so great that we never, any of us, are more than one-fourth fulfilled.

Katherine Anne Porter


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