The Power of Pruning

20140521_132722-001So much of what made me first fall in love with our home was its potential. Especially our yard. When we bought it, the house had been empty for an entire spring and summer, and Mother Nature had run amok during those unsupervised seasons. I looked forward to digging in (pun totally intended) and finding the treasures that lived beneath the overgrown mess.

Fast forward 13 years and I’m still trying to harness the potential in our yard. I wonder if a part of me recognized that with all that potential came ample opportunities for therapy. Nothing reduces stress like weeding and nothing clears my mind better than pruning.

I love the simple act of hacking away at stuff that needs to go – no apologies, no worries that someone is overly attached to it, no figuring out how to dispose of it responsibly or recycle it, just lobbing it off. It’s cathartic. It’s liberating. And it provides an instant sense of accomplishment.

I spent a lot of time yesterday working on the bushes and shrubs around our house, thinking deep thoughts about the parts of me that need pruning (and wishing it were as simple as grabbing the Fiskars and digging in). Then I remembered one of the first lessons I learned about pruning – being careful not to lob off too much in one session, but enough so that sunlight can reach the brown, leafless branches underneath. (sigh) No fix is instantaneous.

Now I just need to be as patient when pruning myself as I am with my boxwoods. Although, for once it’s not dissatisfaction with myself that causes me to prune too far, too fast. It’s a desire to let the sunlight in! I’m passing through the midpoint in my life and find I crave light and truth and honesty as much as I crave food and air. There is a crazy joy that comes with getting rid of things we no longer need – literal or metaphorical. Like lifting a 10-pound bag of sugar after you’ve lost 10 pounds, you wonder, “Why did I carry that around with me for so long?”

Just think what might begin to green up if I make space for more sunlight. There are so many things ready to bloom in me!

 

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