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Pruning your heart

I’ve been on a pretty major plant pruning kick over the last few weeks. Just call me Davy Crockett, except instead of hunting bears, I hunt dried up flowers, stems, leaves, and/or branches that won’t let go of living plants. It’s a tough gig I tell ya. Sometimes I get on these random kicks, and I don’t really fully understand why I feel so compelled to do whatever it is that I’m doing, but I just go with it, knowing that it’ll all eventually make sense. So that’s what I’ve been doing these last few weeks. Pruning plants that catch my eye. Weird. Sort of. But then yesterday it all made sense.

I’m back at my parents’ house for Christmas holidays. It’s been pretty swell so far – lots of love and attention and people very excited to see and be with me, and my little sister comes home tonight! Yay. Amidst the constant stimulation though, I’ve been careful to make sure I keep up my daily meditation routine. So yesterday, when both of my parents left their house, I jumped on the opportunity to ground and “zen” out in front of a large window over-looking a forest. When I came out of my meditation, the first thing that caught my eye was a large pot sitting in front of me on the window sill. Inside the pot was a beautiful plant with pink flowers. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Yes, the plant needed to be pruned. So away I went, gently breaking off the dead stems and removing the dead flowers. With every stem and flower removed, the green and pink of the plant became that much more visible and that much brighter. The plant started to open. Leaves that were no longer serving it were being replaced with an open space that the plant could fill with new growth. I was helping create space for the plant. Holding space. Removing dead weight in order to create space that could be filled with light and life and new opportunities. Of course! What I’ve been doing for these plants serves as a beautiful metaphor for the work I’ve been doing with/for my heart.

Over the last while (two months maybe?!? give or take hippie time) I’ve been focusing on the idea of “cleaning out the closet and letting go of things that don’t serve me.” It started off as a tarot card that I kept pulling. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there must be something to an idea if it keeps hitting you over the head… but I didn’t quite understand what the statement meant so I just applied it at a superficial level and started to go through my stuff and purge, all the while brooding over the deeper meaning of the phrase. As I purged, I noticed that I liked the space that was created… less clutter and more room to fill with things that suit the current me – which, in this case for the most part is space. Around this time, I also began to read a book discussing the importance of creating a space for our hearts to speak to us and to be heard. Reconnecting the “thoughts” of our minds with the “feelings” of our hearts so that they can work together and allow us to love ourselves fully and thereby be who we truly are. Perfect. Whole. Complete. Unashamed. Unafraid to feel. Imagine, a place where we can all feel safe and happy just being who we are?!? A re-love-ution my friends. A total, fucking, re-love-ution. Ok. So in this book the author writes about how in order to open our hearts, we need to dig deep and figure out where the dark lies. Where is the dead space that is clogged with old hurts? Repressed pain? The events that wrongly fooled us into thinking that it is not ok to be ourselves? In order to create the space to love ourselves unconditionally and “just be”, and thereby have the capacity to truly love others, we need to rid our heart of this clutter that does not serve it… and so here the pruning ties in…

The plant symbolizes our heart. The dead leaves, the dead branches, the dead flowers, the dead matter of any type represent the stagnant and negative emotions residing in us. Taking up space. Not doing much for us except for contributing extra deadweight that bogs us down and takes room away from new growth. When we work through these areas of dead growth in our hearts, we free up space for new growth to take its place. Room for love, room for light, or room for joy… we can fill it with whatever we like – the space is finally there. And by consciously working through to create that space in the first place, it will hopefully bring an awareness to us that will help us be mindful of what fills the space. New negative emotions (“dead growth”) will pop up – it’s a part of life. But by creating the space we now know what it feels like to be buoyant and what it feels like to be anchored down. And now we know, so now we can choose. Choose to constantly monitor and prune and feed our heart with love and light. And as long as we keep up with these regular check-ins and mindful living, pruning doesn’t take so long anymore. That’s the thing – life, love, “being” is constant work. A steady stream of attention is needed for anything to thrive –be it a flower, your “career,” or your heart. But it’s worth it, for where the light shines, the flowers will grow.

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