On one of my walks over this past gorgeous weekend, I saw folks out in their yards raking leaves, cleaning up, and generally putting their gardens to bed. Some of them were preparing their gardens for next year by planting bulbs and pruning trees and bushes. It got me thinking about how this is also a perfect time of year to do the same for our inner gardens.
When we plant bulbs, they sit snug under the soil and mulch all winter long, sleeping, taking in nutrients and establishing their roots so that in the spring they can burst forth as daffodils, crocus and tulips. Our dreams and intentions also need some time to take in ideas and information, and plant good, solid roots. In this way when our intentions and dreams burst forth into reality, they have a healthy start in life just like the tulips and daffodils. When we take the time to go slowly, prepare the soil and mulch well, we can grow anything.
Pruning, on the other hand, isn't so much about what we put in as it is what we take out. Over the course of the summer some branches were not as productive as others. They did not put out leaves or blossoms and remained bare for the most part. Leaving these bare branches takes away the much needed nutrition and water from the rest of the tree or bush. By cutting away the dead branches, we redirect the nourishment to where it is needed.
Where can we prune away the dead branches in our own lives? What can we get rid of that no longer nourishes our spirit? Maybe it's a relationship, a job, the way we live? Can we clear the clutter out of our lives? Downsize so that we have more time to spend on experiences than on buying and maintaining "stuff?"
The first of the many journals I read by poet and novelist May Sarton was titled: Plant Dreaming Deep. Sarton was also an avid gardener and while the title was a perfect metaphor for her life at that time, I can guarantee you that she also chronicled a lot of pruning in both her inner and outer gardens to create a life she cherished. May we all "plant dreaming deep," prune away our dead branches, and create a life that flourishes!
And so it is.