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So last week I did a bit of volunteering at Johnson’s Backyard Garden. It’s a small, local family farm which sells produce in the Austin area. You can volunteer your time and help package produce for local farmer’s markets and for the CSA  (Community Supported Agriculture)boxes. In return for your time, you get a box of fresh produce. It’s a pretty good trade.

Cabbage is in season at the moment. Part of the job I had was peeling off a few outer leaves from the cabbages to help make sure they looked pretty. You are looking for brown leaves , ratty edges, and holes in the cabbage. The holes in particular are important. Small worms tend to view the cabbage as quite tasty and will burrow into the cabbage. While many parts of the world consider worms a great source of protein, most of the rest of us aren’t so fond of worms in our food.

Now it’s a pretty easy gig. You grab a head of cabbage, and remove 2-4 leaves to get a nice looking cabbage. Pretty simple right? Only every now and then you remove a couple of leaves, expecting to find a good looking cabbage but something catches your attention. You look past the pristine leaf in front of you and pull again, finding a new hole under that leaf.

You see, the wily cabbage worms don’t always burrow in a straight line. You can look at a pristine exterior and think things are fine. In reality there’s holes in them there cabbages.

It’s the same with people. Too often we expect that a pristine exterior means things are fine. You’ve lost weight, you look great, and everyone around you expects that things are just perfect. They can’t see that under your beautiful exterior, there’s still a hole. Like the cabbage, you’ve got some more layers which need to get removed. The inclination is to keep things as they are. I mean come on, who’s going to notice if you don’t clear away all the holes in a particular cabbage? It’s not a big deal right?

Wrong. Those holes lead to the cabbage rotting from the inside out. It’s the same with you. If you aren’t taking the time to make the deeper repairs and healing that you need, those holes will catch up with you. You will break down and fall apart. It won’t be tomorrow or the next day. It will happen.

Don’t be afraid to look deeper. If something doesn’t feel right, even when the people around you are insisting that you should be feeling just fine, ask why. Look for what’s bothering you. If it comes back as a scary looking hole, take steps to eliminate it. That may require journaling, it may require professional assistance.

The only way to have the inside AND the outside matching up is by being willing to do the work required.

With cabbages, at a point in time you can’t keep peeling off leaves because you end up with a cabbage which is too small for market. The good thing about people is you never end up too small. You just end up closer to the essential you.