It’s the great controversy of spring. The dandelion debate: flower or weed? The conversation in my car went something like this:

“Mommy, look at all the dandelions.”

Me, kicking into high-gear-mom-talk-mode: “Yes honey, aren’t they beautiful? Isn’t it funny, they look like flowers even though they are weeds.”

Long pause from the back seat. “What do you mean they are weeds?” Fair question.

In trying to answer, I had to call deep upon my horticultural courage…and realize that I really know very little, if anything, about the classification of weeds, flowers, or how wildlife behaves. I stopped and started a couple of times. I restated the facts: dandelions equal weeds, not flowers. This educational technique (not too surprisingly) seemed to fall short of brilliant.

“Mommy, they’re not weeds. They’re dandelions.” No debating. No reclassifying. No ambivalence as to its flower-versus-weed status. Reality rolled out just as it was: plain and simple.

Sometimes a dandelion is just that: a dandelion. With all our efforts at fancy footwork, describing and classifying…we circle back to simplicity. We may try to explain their surprising beauty, we may wish to communicate the challenges of unwanted growth…but sometimes those boxes of reality are too confining.

  • Weed suggests something that needs to be removed. Something unwanted. Something that requires fixing.

  • A flower, on the other hand, tends to evoke visions of beauty, growth, pleasure.

What we need at times is an in-between category – a way to accept something, or someone, as is. Somewhere between weed and flower is the dandelion reality of our lives. The person that calls for us to step down from our fix-it soapbox and love them…as they are. Before they can improve, we need to accept them in their current state.

Somewhere between weed and flower is the dandelion reality of our lives.

We all need to be seen and valued for who we are. It’s from this experience that we find the capacity to expand. The irony of always trying to change someone is that it holds them back. Think about the difference between someone telling you, “You’re not good enough, so please change, then I’ll accept you” versus “I love you. I’m with you. How can we make this better?” The first approach shuts us down, the second primes us for growth. If we feel safe and understood, we are more willing to take risks and make changes. When we are caught up with, “How am I going to fix this?” “Is this a weed or a flower?” “A keeper or a loser?” there isn’t much space to notice the beauty and love-worthiness before our eyes.

We live in a fractured world filled with pain and disconnection. Our mission is the soul-work of healing and repair. Just like the baby who first needs love and calming before she can grow and learn, so too our loved ones beg for our presence. We are called to stop thinking and analyzing and first love another for their dandelion-beauty: an admixture of flower beauty and weed-like faults. Loving in this way brings a deeper closeness and creates the possibility for growth at its own pace and in its own way.

It is no wonder that the dandelion grows so enthusiastically. She covers so much ground. She is fearless. She can be both the broken and the beautiful at once. In the brokenhearted moments of our days, the “weed times” of life, we too can grow like the dandelion. It is our imperfect relationships that teach us about accepting our own humanity. It is not from the fix-it-and-forget-it parts of our story that we learn to love deeply. When we embrace both the flaws and the beauty, we discover that some things in life are both flower and weed. If we can love each other with that awareness, we will inch closer to our soul purpose. As for the spring time, let’s step out of the dandelion debate and start loving them as they are.

Excerpted from Choosing Up: Elevating the Everyday

Drawing on deep spiritual teachings, personal experiences, and her work as an occupational therapist and psychotherapist, Kendal reveals the Divine sparks in everyday events. With entertaining anecdotes and witty observations, readers will discover their innate power to shape their personal storyline and change their lives.