Pruning Isn’t Just for Trees or Plants

I was recently at a flea market and found a vendor who was selling planting pods to grow seeds. Wanting to experiment with growing herbs and annual flowers, I bought some. Since I liked the vibe of the turquoise-and-silver-jewelry-wearing, hippy throwback guy, and he wasn’t too busy, I took advantage of his knowledge by asking him many questions about the overall care of plants.  I know it is important to prune trees, bushes, shrubs and plants, but I never knew exactly when to prune, and definitely never learned how to prune.

He first showed me how to prune, telling me that you want to always cut right before a “Y” joint, that I shouldn’t be afraid to prune too much, and that I always want to follow the main stem as my guide. But what will always stick with me is that he said it is a MUST to prune because the more you do, the stronger the roots become.  When you prune off the top, it forces the roots to grow that much deeper and become that much stronger. Many people are afraid to prune when there are pretty flowers growing, but he said you have to sacrifice that in order to get the foundation good and strong. And when you do that, just wait for all the beautiful flowers you will see!

As he was talking, all I could think of was how this is a metaphor for human life. Why do we not spend time pruning ourselves? When we get too full (too busy), or we start to go astray, why do we not look in the mirror and see what we can cut back…or cut off? Is it because sometimes we have “pretty flowers” beginning to grow? Why do we let that be our guide, especially if we know even prettier and stronger flowers are waiting just under the surface? Part of it, too, is that what we have and what we are is simply all that we know. We might be afraid to let go of something that is a part of us, or something that we think defines us. However, the reality is that when we let go of those things which no longer serve us, it is making us that much stronger.

If you look at the definition of pruning, it is a verb, and it means 1) to trim by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth; or 2) reduce the extent of something by removing superfluous or unwanted parts. Well, isn’t that what we need to do in life sometimes? Do you have a branch that is growing really close to you right now that is sucking up all of your water and taking all of your sunshine? Do you need that branch? If not, prune it. Do you have a branch that is growing over you and risking the shape and direction that you will grow? Do you need that branch? If not, prune it.

See, these branches are things in our daily life such as a dead-end job or a needy boyfriend or girlfriend or neighbor. We hang on to these things because we are afraid we won’t have the same benefits as the job we have now, or that we will have to enter the dating scene again. Whatever the scenario and whatever the example, we must trust that our true bud is waiting just below the surface and will grow and light up our life just as soon as it has the space to do so. If we don’t prune ourselves, eventually we have too many branches (we are too busy), those branches start taking too much from us and we no longer have enough water and sunshine to grow, and — just like a shrub — we begin to look sickly and eventually die. If all we could have done was look at ourselves objectively and say, “no, this no longer serves me” and have the self-worth to prune ourselves, we could have lived a bountiful life.

How do you want to bloom this year? Would you like to find a new job, save more money, lose weight, start your own business? Whatever it is, take a very good look in the mirror and determine what might be holding you back from reaching your full potential. Do NOT be afraid to cut. Trust in the cycle of life and the seasons of nature, and remember that you are DESERVING to be a deeply-rooted, colorful, beautifully scented, bountifully bloomed individual. Do you know why? Because you are a beautiful person just as you are. Even if you are working on enhancing portions of your life, you are you and that is beautiful….and you are enough!

Keep moving and keep growing!

Love and Blessings ~ Connie Jo

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