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The Garden of Life

posted Jul 10, 2011, 10:51 AM by Susan Nguyen   [ updated Jul 10, 2011, 11:14 AM ]
I’m a terrible gardener, but every once in awhile circumstances dictate that I get out and do things with plants. This Tuesday is the once-a-year summer garbage free-for-all and we are allowed to put out anything and everything that can fit in garbage cans and big garbage bags. Prunings must be in  3 feet long tied bundles, but an unlimited number may be left out. An additional catalyst for this was that my daughter just announced her wedding, the reception of which will be next May in our back yard. I had already noticed dead branches on our trees, but all of a sudden they seemed to look even more obnoxious. Our gardeners have already come and gone this week, so I found the industrial grade pruning sheers in the garage, took a deep breath, and started cutting off the dead wood.

All I ever did in the yard growing up was dig dandelions. Lots and lots of dandelions. (That may be the cause of my aversion for gardening.) So I tried to remember everything I ever heard about pruning. I know that it helps plants grow better when unencumbered by unproductive appendages. The plum tree is a prime example of that. A couple of years ago, the plums were so plentiful that some of the heavily laden branches broke.Consequently, dead wood began to accumulate, and the harvest this year is not nearly as impressive.  

Hmmm. I always wax philosophical when working with plants. What unproductive parts of my life are hindering my growth and development? Why not cut them off, too? What about parts that have just a leaf or two. Should they be sacrificed, or should they be nurtured? This all depends on what my values are, and whether I feel it’s worthwhile to have these areas as a part of my life.

All of this is good fodder for a coaching session, or two, or three. We can live such careless lives, sometimes, not giving careful consideration to the worthiness of each aspect of our existence. Is monthly attendance at such and such meetings really enriching my life or career? Is watching TV during dinner really the best way to spend that time with my spouse? Is my super involvement in this or that project really as important as I have been thinking it was, or is there another avenue which would be a better use of my time, talent and energy?

Come to think of it, was that time I spent pruning really necessary? I could have hired someone else to do it and haul away the debris. The answer is, it all depends. What are my values? What floats my boat? As it happens, I truly enjoy my rare communions with mother nature, and the lessons I learn when tending her gardens. (Note, I did say “rare”.) Maybe I should consider having another little adventure like that in the not too distant future.

Exploring this with a coach is a way to discover new possibilities for enhancing life, and making it happen.  A little purposeful snipping here, and a little watering and fertilizing there can make a difference. It just takes some dedicated time and effort to make little changes that, added together, can make a big difference in quality of life.

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