Life Lessons From A Plant

Photo by Kulbir on

I had to trim my Pothos the other day.  The plant was getting really “leggy,” meaning the length of the vine from the first leaf to the source was getting too long.  The leaves were turning yellow and it just wasn’t as happy as it could be.  So I got some cups of water and my shears, and I did the deed.  I thought I killed it at the first cut.  I didn’t have any reason to doubt myself, I’ve trimmed plants before.  It’s just a nerve wracking moment when you’re trying to keep a plant alive and you think you did more damage than good.  Regardless, as I was in the middle of plant rescue, something hit me: as I was putting the trimmed limbs in water, letting them get ready to sprout, I realized that sometimes creating the separation and providing fresh water to each section saves the whole.     

The same can be said of life.  When we hold on too long and can’t let the past rest, life gets a little leggy where we aren’t quite getting what we need out of it.  It doesn’t thrive as well and we start losing some of the main points of what we’re doing here.  Sometimes it’s simply too many leaves or things tied together and we get caught on the mundane details or on the fact that we’ve taken on too much.  Sometimes it just gets too heavy with all of the life we have behind us.  Not that we don’t want it, but we don’t need to carry it forward.  Creating separation in life and focusing on a few small details at once creates a much healthier existence.

In order to thrive in a meaningful way, we need to create this type of balance.  We can’t let things get so leggy that they start to die.  It’s much healthier to focus on one thing at a time.  For someone like me with anxiety, that is easier said than done.  If I’m not working toward a million things at once, the sky will surely fall.  My logical brain knows that is crap but the emotional brain doesn’t.  So convincing myself to let go and to know when to let things leave is really challenging.  I get afraid that cutting one thing off means the death rather than an opportunity to be reborn in fresh water.  The reality is it’s giving space to what needs attention.  The rest will fall into place. 

So, how can you pick and choose what to cut?  Well, that’s a matter of your priorities.  What is going to make you thrive?  What is going to push you forward? Just because you can’t do it all right now doesn’t mean you can’t do it all.  There is just a time and place for everything.  Trust that you will know what to do when the time is right.  Sometimes cutting that limb and allowing it to sprout anew gives it the strength it wouldn’t have had if you continued to bend it as it was.  Sometimes that fresh cut opens an opportunity you didn’t see.  After that first cut you may find yourself asking, “What have I done?!” in panic…but after time, you realize it’s a natural part of life. So trim what you must boldly and without fear, plant the pieces you need, and have faith that the life you’re working toward will take root in the seeds you plant and the limbs you put in water.

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