17 June 2007
I received this lesson in an email from a good friend. Some food for thought...
"About a week ago, I received a white climbing rose bush from the people with whom I rent space to teach my children's yoga classes. Those classes are now finished, and I won't be continuing weekly classes in the fall as new opportunities have presented themselves.
I wondered where to put the bush because I have so many rose bushes already of various kinds and colors.
I found a large decorative pot, and I decided to plant the rose bush in the pot and place it on my deck where I could see the sweet white flowers while eating outside and from my kitchen window. There were several full flowers on it when I received it and the directions indicated that caution was needed when pruning it. I was a little concerned about this, and I said to myself that I would need help in pruning this rose bush.
I went away for a couple of days. Before I left I went to cut the roses that were in full bloom and then decided not to - they were too far gone, and I wasn't sure exactly where to cut, so I left the full blooms on the bush.
I returned home and immediately noticed that the rose bush had been pruned. But by who? No one knows I have this bush. No one can see the bush from the street, and there are dozens of roses on other bushes, and none of them were pruned. Why this bush? The stems weren't anywhere to be seen inside or outside my house.
I called my colleague, my father-in-law, and the people who gave it to me. No one in the flesh pruned the bush. At first I was concerned that someone was on my property fooling around with my plants, but that feeling quickly dissipated.
This morning I got it. I knew there was a message in this for me, but what was it? I knew it had to do with the pruning. So what does pruning mean or represent?
This past evening I felt in my entire being that I need to give my full resignation to one of my nursing positions - the one I've been working at for nearly 8 years. When I work there I become physically sick - not severely, but I'm not well when I leave. I also have been struggling with this knowing and procrastinating on this for several months.
The pruning of the rose bush spoke to me about clearing the unnecessary baggage in my life - I have too many balls in the air, and something has got to give - I've cleared a huge amount of clutter this spring, and now I knew I needed to leave this job completely, once and for all. A good personal pruning for me was in order. I couldn't deny the sign - clearly the bush had been pruned by someone - I say by the divine beings in my life or St. Frances who stands just next to the bush. In either case, I'm listening, and I wrote my resignation today. I already left my supervisor a message, and I'll be turning in my nurse's bag and key on Monday.
Unless we prune (which can be painful), we can't create space for further growth - when I looked at the bush a second time, two new buds appear on it - new growth happens quickly when we make room."
I know exactly how this woman feels. A number of years ago I had an ovarian cancer scare and subsequently had abdominal surgery. During that experience I began to "prune" things and people from my life. Things I had collected over the years that no longer had meaning, but also people who did not nourish me, people who always seemed to be on the periphery -- people who really weren't my friends, but they were in my life. They floated in and out of my life like ghosts.
I did the same thing when I returned from India the first time because I felt changed. Indeed, I did not have to say anything or do anything, and the first thing some people said to me when they took a good long look at me was "you've changed." It was literally months before I got over my culture shock of returning to white bread suburbia.
Besides a yoga teacher, I am also a certified horticulturist and I know that sometimes a plant needs to be severely pruned in order to give it new life, in order to make it stronger. The plant may look like hell for a long time, but it comes back lusher and more beautiful than before once the deadwood is removed.
Is there a lesson for you in this story? How much pruning do you need to do in your life? Are you strong enough to cut the deadwood out of your life no matter how painful it is?