Digging up your potatoes

When anxious, we do not trust normal growth processes. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Once upon a time there was a potato farmer.  He was a diligent fellow, but every year he would ruin his crop through one simple behaviour.  He would be unable to resist going out into the fields, and digging up his potatoes to see how they were doing.  They were unable to gain roots, and were just not left in the soil undisturbed for long enough.

There are many meanings of this parable, but one of them applies to anxiety.  Anxiety is a checking emotion, pushing us to check how something is going.  ‘Is everything OK?’ asks anxiety, fifteen thousand times a day.  It becomes exhausting.  Relationships can’t develop in peace, because we are always double and triple checking.

Even with work, we can be checking too often how everything is going.  Anxiety might be on our shoulder, saying ‘is the relationship with the boss OK?’ or ‘is my project going to turn out successful?’  We can spend so much time checking, that we interrupt our focus.


Is there an area of your life in which you are constantly ‘digging up your potatoes’, instead of trusting your mind, body and environment to work everything out for the best?

Perhaps you could give yourself a rest, and stop intervening quite so much.  After all, who appointed you General Manager of the Universe?  Probably it was you, not willing to trust anyone else.

Many of our mind and body functions happen independently of our conscious, thinking mind.  In many cases, we can afford to think less, and to let things be.

What potatoes could you leave in the ground for just a little longer?