As my husband and I tended the yard this weekend, trimming back the autumn plants that had been still flowering when I pruned before the winter’s hard freeze, we noticed a great deal of new growth just beginning to sprout. Baby leaves, full of vibrant color are springing up this way and that, pushing hard to emerge from their sleep in the womb of our Great Mother Earth. The early Spring pruning removes the old growth and makes way for the life that is ready to make its appearance.
This is how it is with life. As I tend the garden and prepare the planter boxes, I find that the plant spirits are doing the same for me — helping me to let go of old growth, tilling the soil of my heart and mind, opening my whole self to the newness of life that is just beginning to make an appearance. There is something incredibly gracious about this time of year in nature, for it reflects the needs that we have as individuals, as families and as communities large and small. We all have things that need to be pruned, old growth that is ready to be let go in order for the newness of life to have room to spring forth in a healthy way. How we go about this pruning time makes a big difference in the ability of the new life to be viable.
In our garden, as the pruning shears are brought out, so too are prayers and offerings of gratitude and love. I honor each plant family as I approach, touching each one lovingly and expressing my gratitude for the growth that had been a gift in the previous season. I take my time with the shears, grasping gently and being attentive to each branch or leaf that I trim. It is a slow process — much slower than our typical gardeners are allowed to be these days. But this is my way of honoring Earth and all of Her beautiful beings. This is my way of honoring the Sacred in the every day. Releasing our old growth with gentleness and gratitude makes the process almost sacramental.
What is your way? Do you have a sacred ceremony for releasing old growth in your life? Is the process swift or slow? What ways of being or interacting are ready to be let go — in your life? In your family? In your communities large or small? How might we honor all which has come before as we prepare for all that is yet to come?