In admiration of the weeds on the side of the road and musings on the
meaning of life.
My road was repaved this summer, with a fresh layer of compact gravel
lining both sides. I walk my dog along this road everyday, and in late
September I started noticing weeds sprouting up through the gravel,
including my favourite weed, dandelion. Fresh, young dandelion leaves are
about as tender as lettuce, hardly an example of strength, yet able to
sprout and push up through a dense, 10 cm layer of rock.
How is this possible?
My theory is that it is due to life force energy – the source of strength that
animates living things. Also known as Prana in Ayurveda/Yoga, Chi in
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Vital Force; the concept of life
force has existed in various cultures and traditions, for centuries.
The weeds got me thinking about what makes things grow – whether it’s a
tree, a toddler, a baby bird or a carrot. I believe that they all share life force
energy in common – the thrust of energy that fuels growth and maintains
Why does the dandelion strive so hard to push its way against the odds
towards the light? To fulfill its life purpose, to simply be, to express
The human toddler does not yet have career goals nor grand life plans,
they exist simply to express themselves, to be who they are, like the
As we age, we develop meaning in our lives, we strive to fulfill certain
goals, whether they be interpersonal, relationship, parenting, career,
artistic, health, financial, spiritual, humanitarian, political – there are so
many ways to channel our interests, to live a life of purpose.
Purpose can be expressed by the minute, hour, day, week, month, year or
lifetime. It can be as simple as breathing deeply, offering kindness,
stopping to smell the flowers, or ending the day peacefully with the sunset.
We can bring purpose to everything we do by being present.
We can also be like dandelion, simply expressing our authentic and unique
essence, stripped of all outer world goals.
I was blessed to discover a core life purpose at a young age – to be a
herbalist. Other purposes have come and gone at different stages of my
life; in my early 20’s my purpose was to travel the world; a current purpose
of mine is to care for my aging parents.
According to the late Dr. Edward Bach, physician and founder of the Bach
Flower Remedies, one of the primary causes of illness is not honouring our
life purpose(s). This can be rephrased to say that living with intention and
presence brings meaning to life, which fuels life force energy, which
sustains health and vitality.
Life force energy seems to border biology, physics and spirituality.
I am not an expert in any of these things, I do however let my observations
of the plants and the natural world lead me into contemplation.
Now that we are deep into autumn, we can witness the life force of the
trees and plants retreat downward, into their roots where they will
overwinter in the quiet, dark stillness. The same is true of many wild
animals, birds, fish, insects – the pace of life slows down to allow for rest
and restoration. I find great wisdom in the cycles of nature, reminding me
to carve out time and space for rest in the months ahead.
Thank you for reading this, I would love to receive your feedback on this
subject. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org