I am a Gardener. It’s not just a hobby for me. I tell you this because I get my best epiphanies while I’m gardening. I live in Phoenix, Arizona, so the fall is the beginning of our growing season. Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Peas, Cilantro, Collards, Onions, Carrots, Radishes, Broccoli, Cabbage, Celery and Peppers are all planted and waiting for harvest.
Recently, I tackled my blackberry bush. Yes, blackberries in Arizona. I have it in the perfect spot, shaded by our lemon tree with lattices for it to be able to spread out. Last year I had the biggest crop yet – just enough to make a small pie. I know, doesn’t seem like a lot, compared to those prolific blackberry bushes in Michigan, but in Arizona, a huge victory!
Now, as you can imagine, blackberry bushes do not like the 110 degree heat that Phoenix dishes out in the summer. So come October, there is a TON of dead stuff to deal with. My husband’s solution is to take the electric hedge trimmer and cut it off at the knees. “NOT a good idea,” I said. You see, trimming that bush is like a puzzle. This piece might LOOK dead, but it is connected to new growth on the ends. Cut it all off, and it will take seasons to regrow. Take off just the dead stuff, and the new growth can be entwined into the lattices and continue to grow. The rest will fill in. It took me hours to work on this “puzzle.”
What does this have to do with anything? I got to thinking how trimming, tending to new growth and lovingly winding the blackberry tendrils into the lattice was a lot like dealing with our own thoughts and growth. We all are growing, all the time. We find a “dead leaf” in our life, such as a bad habit or a bad thought, and we determine we need to cut that out. It doesn’t help the growth, it only stunts it. Cutting it out allows for new growth – new thoughts, new habits. Recently, I lost 40 pounds, all by retraining my body with new habits of eating. I’m no longer tempted by donuts, candy and pizza. I LIKE fitting into jeans again and I don’t want to go back.
What are you dealing with that needs to be “trimmed away?” A toxic relationship? A lack of motivation? Stewing in a failure? Allowing self-sabotaging thoughts to rob you of your future? CUT IT OUT! Trim away those parts that stunt your growth and focus on the parts that allow for new growth. Get a hobby, read a book that will help your career, try a new group to meet new people, reach out to someone you haven’t seen in a long time for coffee, volunteer, take a walk – but do SOMETHING to stimulate growth.
Your “garden” will thank you.