Last year, around the time I was aware of the presence of Cernunnos and writing about him, I realised that my way of gardening was in some part a metaphor for the way I am in life - and not in a good way. The most obvious thing was my management of the vegetable patch. I had demarcated a small bit of soil to grow a few veg, notably leeks, but several other species - forget-me-nots, evening primrose mainly - decided opportunistically that this was a perfect place for them to grow - as indeed it was. Instead of pulling them up I let them stay with the result that they drew nourishment from the leeks which didn't thrive. I ended up with a few stunted ones and lots of wild flowers.
The reasons I didn't pull up the 'weeds' were various - I don't like to kill things; I like living things to 'do their own thing'; I was quite pleased that flowers I liked were coming into my garden. It's true that the evening primrose made a wonderful display in the autumn, the patio becoming an avenue of bright and vibrant yellow, but it was at the cost of the leeks and made the work I had put into enriching the soil and nurturing the leeks almost null and void...
So this year I decided I would be ruthless and not allow any other plants beside the ones I had chosen to grow in the vegetable patch. I steeled myself and pulled up the rosebay willow herb, the lady's mantle, the forget-me-nots and evening primrose (though a few sneaked in). Result: 23 leeks which are substantial, tasty and glossy with health - and that's in spite of the slugs which have been feasting on the outer leaves but leaving me the important core. "Look at those leeks!" visitors have exclaimed.
These leeks as metaphor are a potent reminder to me to be focused and assertive. I have a tendency to want other people to do their own thing even if it isn't what I want to do - which is why it suits me to live alone I think - so that I can have my own way!
Also, I am easily distracted and that seeps energy and time away from projects. I need to weed out the distractions and trivia that leach energy and nourishment. A bit of discipline... just a bit, nothing oppressive, bearing in mind that my energy is limited and pushing myself always ends up being counter-productive.
But it doesn't mean that I'll end up being totally selfish. Compromise and reciprocity can be fruitful and others, like the slug in the picture above, may still benefit from things we do and what we grow in the world, without damaging what we need for our own nourishment and sabotaging the work we put into it.