My friends from Minnesota know about buckthorn.  It’s a very green, always healthy looking, non-native plant/tree/shrub that grows like crazy and crowds out any healthy, native plant it can find.  It’s unpleasant and toxic to your garden.

To remove buckthorn, you’ve got to get down to the base of the tree, to the roots and actually pull them out (this is a non-chemical removal method).  It’s hard work, takes lots of hours of physical strength and sometimes takes multiple attempts to remove.

I’ve had buckthorn in my yard and I’ve had in my life.  The stuff in the yard, I had to hire someone to come and remove it.  The tree went past my roof and I just could not get rid of it.

I’ve also hired people (therapists!) to help me remove the buckthorn from my life.  I’m talking about those people or situations that at first seem beautiful, exciting and healthy — but eventually turn out to be toxic.  And you?  Know what I’m talking about?

Why is it that we don’t hesitate to remove the buckthorn from our yard, or toxins from our food or from areas our children play, but we hesitate to remove toxic situations from our lives?  For me the reason is obvious — I don’t like conflict and I don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings.

There’s a lot of information out there about toxins and their lasting effects on our physical health. We all know about the detrimental effects of artificial preservatives, additives, pesticides, etc. We also know that buckthorn will crowd out everything in its path.  But what about the negative effect toxic situations have on our physical, mental, and emotional health?

Look, life is about choices. Sometimes we make a choice that seems like it’ll be ok, but it turns out not to be.  We bring people into our world, or take a new job, thinking it will bring a positive element to the picture, but we eventually realize that we made a wrong choice and that eradication is necessary, albeit time-consuming and painful.

I sometimes welcome the hard work.  Just as I enjoy the physical labor of working in my yard, pulling weeds and essentially cleaning house, I also appreciate the hard work that comes with moving away from a negative situation or person.

As painful as it is, as hard a job as it can be — I always learn something and become physically and emotionally stronger.  Plus, I can look back and feel thankful that I had the drive to make the change … to clean up my yard so-to-speak.

So, if you’ve got buckthorn in your yard — take care of it (don’t call me … been there done that!).  If you’ve got it in your life, do the same thing.  Remember, the story of your life is yours.  Your choice.  Make it count.

Have a great start to your week!