http://www.copyright-free-images.com/flora-plants-copyright-free-images/flowers-copyright-free-images/dandelion-flowers-free-images/dandelion-flowering.jpg.html&#8221; title=”Dandelion flowering”>Dandelion flowering</a> by Leon Brooks

I have heard the topic of “dandelions” discussed in two ways by people in recovery. Both ways are supportive of recovery.

The first focuses on using dandelions as a metaphor for redirecting our thoughts from a negative to a positive perspective. The person talking about dandelions this way introduced the topic by saying how everyone abhors dandelions because they are such a persistent, hardy weed. That person then asked those of us who were listening if we’d ever considered dandelions as actually pretty little yellow flowers, quite like miniature mums…..then they could be perceived as pretty rather than bothersome.  The person went on to point out if we tried to see the positive  in whatever it is we view as a problem it becomes easier to handle and less likely to be something that can trigger relapse.

The second discussion I heard about dandelions in recovery “sprouted forth” during a discussion of what people in recovery call “character defects. ” Character defects are persistent, personal and problematic traits that are commonly accepted as being the underlying cause of many of the problems that lead to addictive behaviors. The person speaking said there were basically two ways to handle dandelions (character defects):  You can get rid of the flower by plucking it off from the top of the dandelion’s stem. The speaker equated this with a superficial attempt to “get rid of character defects” by only attacking the obvious, outward result of the underlying problem. Or you can try to get serious about removing the character defect and dig deep to find the underlying cause and remove it by “tearing the dandelion/character defect out by its roots”. When the later approach is used, the removal of the character defect is more effective and long lasting.

Now, how does this apply to spirituality? For me, it means I need to ask myself if I am creating weeds or flowers in my spiritual garden with the habitual way I think. My thoughts do, essentially, create my reality, and, if I am only seeing negative things, then my reality is negative. My life—-spiritual and otherwise—can be much more pleasant if I cultivate dandelion flowers and view things from a positive perspective. Don’t get me wrong. There are negative things, evil things in our world. And those things cannot be viewed as “flowers”—-but, with luck and prayer they can be avoided. When they cannot be avoided we can use the “negative experience” to teach us a “life lesson” that allows us to use what we experienced to give us compassion for others who have problems and to even “show us the way” to effectively help each other.

The other way of viewing dandelions is hard for me, spiritually speaking. I have never been a gardener. When I was a child, my job was to pick rocks out of the garden every day, and every day there were always more rocks to remove. Somehow, that just was not fun and did not leave me feeling like I had helped create anything—-other than just a nice smooth bed for new rocks. So, when it comes to dealing with dandelion/character defects, the path of least resistance for me is just to pluck the top of the “nuisance” off so I’ll look “fixed” to others and not have to feel the pain of digging deeper. Thus, my dandelions usually grow back as either the same character defects or other closely-related ones. Therefore, I am always finding new dandelions/character defects to work on and, hopefully, making spiritual progress even though I will never have a perfect “spiritual garden.” That’s okay, I am enjoying the journey—-and each time I try to remove a dandelion, I am able to remove just a bit more of it. I have even removed some roots and all, but it has taken a lot of growth, hard work, and prayer. And I am grateful the master gardener was there to help me!

I’d love to hear your comments about today’s topic. Please share your thoughts. God bless and keep you.