Giant Hogweed in my Head

Giant HogweedYesterday as I was driving home from Toronto after visiting 2 dear friends from my University of Waterloo days, I began thinking about giant hogweed.

If the phrase “giant hogweed” doesn't fill you with an uneasy sense of dread, you probably don’t know what it is. And neither did I… until recently.

Giant hogweed is an aggressive plant that takes over local species in natural areas of Canada (and many other countries). It drips a clear sap that can cause third-degree burns if it comes in contact with skin that is exposed to sunlight. The sap can also cause blindness. In short, the giant hogweed is a menace to the natural environment, and increasingly identified as a public health hazard.

Luckily, giant hogweed is easy to spot. It can grow up to 5 metres tall, and the flowers are white and lacy. It looks like a Queen Ann’s lace on steroids.

As I drove, I started thinking about how much the plant has in common with some of the fears and distortions that can grow in our minds when we take on new challenges.

When I was preparing for my first year at Waterloo, I was petrified of all the unknowns that lay ahead. Would I pass my courses? Would I get lost? Would I make friends?

Going through the experience of moving away from my home town and slowly working my way through almost 5 years of Applied Studies Arts Coop at the University of Waterloo helped me develop strength and confidence to identify and safely remove the giant hogweeds in my mind.

And now that I am older and attempting to do scary new stuff like online business development, writing a second book, and helping other people with their books, the hogweeds are easier to prevent in the first place.

So I ask you: what is the giant hogweed in your mind that is stopping you from starting/continuing and/or completing your dreams?

Shoot me an email and tell me about your giant hogweed. Andrea Portrait
I’d love to help.

To spotting and removing hogweed,

Andrea Schmidt

Andrea helps people who have always wanted to write a book by guiding them through the book design and printing process so they can honour and re-connect with themselves. She is also an abstract painter and bread baker who wrote a book called The Fun of Baking Bread.

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