“Oh, your garden is so beautiful!” My friend exclaims as she focuses on fluffy headed hydrangea. Then elephant ear hostas catch her attention. Slowly she takes in different plantings.

My view is of dandelions that push up between the seams in the driveway. I am aware that spiderwort plants need to be cut back. Creeping Charlie weeds must be plucked from their hiding place among the vinca ground cover.

Last month I wrote about a flower that spoke to me. This month weeds are calling my name.

These unwanted plants seem invisible to other viewers. For me, they denote work that needs to be done. Weeds grab my attention. Bottom line, I have lost control of my garden. There is the problem. My garden is feeling too much like the rest of life right now.

In three weeks i leave to lead a retreat in Taos, New Mexico. The trip felt steady a few weeks ago. Now it feels a bit wobbly. So, what to do when we don’t know what happens next. I am holding a vision of an amazing gathering.

In times like these, where we place our focus is critical.

My inner Zen monk says, “This is what it means to live in the moment. Embrace the unknown. Remember, you are never truly in control.” These messages feel true and yet not very comforting.

If we are lucky there are moments when we hear the whisper of our hearts. Then flowers come in view. Weeds fade into the background. My inner monk shouts, Yes! I shift my attention to the deep-throated gladiolas, spritely daisies, bright pink coneflowers. I enjoy the pungent scent of Russian sage and the fragrance of roses.

When I focus on what I can’t control my anxiety increases. The problem becomes huge. I lose the poetry of my garden and see the problems. This is what I love about a garden. It is such a metaphor for life. It teaches me to do what I can. When that is done, let go and return to the astonishing beauty of nature.

I decided to get some help with weeding. Other hands will now be working alongside mine. If my garden is in shape maybe the world will look better too. Yes, this is magical thinking. But I will take comfort where I can find it. An orderly garden brings me peace. It gives me a sense of predictability in an unpredictable world.

This is my mantra:

Focus on what I can do.

Let go of the rest.

See beauty everywhere.