I've spent most of the past few weekends working in my yard. It’s August in Central Texas and the flowerbeds look pretty bleak. Over 100 degrees for most of the last month with no measurable rain.
If you’re a gardener in these parts, you know that this time of year is just about keeping things at least a little bit alive so they can make it till the end of September with the promise of cooler temps and maybe some rain.
And if you succeed in that effort, once you trim back the raggedy, dried out, old-growth, you’ll be rewarded with a second spring-like infusion of greens and flowers until the first freeze hits in December or so.
But it takes some courage.
Because when you cut things back, they look like they’re dead.
The only green left in them was at the ends of the branches... like all of their effort and energy was spent just to keep moving a little bit forward… The growth at the base put on hold… The fresh and strong new growth stifled, while conditions were just too tough to take care of both.
And in order for them to grow strong and flower again you have to cut them back…
So far back they look like they might not make it. And they might not.
But with a little extra water, and a little bit cooler mornings, and the opportunity to conserve a little of that energy they had been expending on their overgrown branches, they probably will.
And the new growth is like a deep breath. And it’s strong and colorful, and living out it’s purpose, and gives the gardener confidence to trust in the process and to believe in the plant and it’s will to survive and to know that the pruning doesn’t kill it but allows it to come back more beautiful than ever. Over and over again.
The trick is that you have to be patient and trust. And then trust some more. But with practice and experience, it’s easier to believe that the plant will come back better than before. And then the pruning process isn’t scary, but exciting. The promise of what’s to come is way better than the fear of what’s getting left behind.
The last few weeks and months (well, years, actually..) have given me plenty of chances to prune my life.
I’ve taken some things out of my work schedule and my business plan that have been taking a lot of my focus and energy but aren’t contributing to my growth and my purpose.
It’s hard to let those things go because they were important to me, and to my clients. And I love these people, they become like my family and we’ve practiced together for many years. And I don’t ever want to disappoint anyone or let them down.
But pruning is a good thing. For plants and for people.
When we hold on to the things we think we’re supposed to… because we always have… we can miss out on the growth we’re meant to have. By having the courage to cut back the old growth we allow the limitless new possibilities to show themselves. It’s scary. It takes courage, and trust, and patience. But it’s always worth it. How have you pruned your life to make room for new growth? Or how could you? Give it some thought, share it, and then get to work!