After our heatwave, which left some shrubs with a canopy of leaves burnt brown, I went on a pruning spree this morning.
It was fantastic! Regular readers will know how much I love my garden, how I feel a real emotional connection with my plants, so it was great to get out there and snip away the damaged parts. Yes, there was crooning, along the lines of “oh, my poor thing, I am so sorry you got burnt! Don’t worry, I’ll trim off all the hurt bits, and you’ll grow back good as new.” (I know the plants can’t answer back. I just felt really sorry for them.)
When I prune, I’ve learnt that I have to take a step back every few minutes to make sure I’m not getting carried away. There’s a certain memory of when I helped out a fellow undergraduate by offering to cut his hair for him … Look at it this way, although he was most displeased with the results, he didn’t need another haircut for a long time.
It’s odd that pruning gives me such pleasure, because in pretty much every other aspect of my life, I’m not a pruner. It takes a lot for me to deliberately sever a friendship. I loathe throwing things away; the only way I can clear my wardrobe is to donate the unwanted items to charity. I compost our unused food. I recycle compulsively. And, while I wouldn’t say I’m a hoarder (but what hoarder ever does?) I must admit there’s a cupboard of boxes in my spare room which haven’t seen the light of day for ages.
Unfortunately, I tend to hang onto things emotionally, too. Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with the whole depression/anxiety thing, but I’ve become more aware of it lately. It’s funny: if you’d said to me a month ago, “You hold onto emotional hurts”, I would have replied: “No, I don’t, at least, no more than anyone else. I meditate. I practice mindfulness, and the ‘observing mind’. I go to therapy. I journal. I forgive. I move on” – but the truth is, I was kidding myself. I told my therapist a whole heap of new stuff on Friday, big stuff, stuff which had been locked in the cellar for a long time but which would leak out in flashbacks and frozen moments, and afterwards, I thought: “Wow, I’ve been doing therapy with M for years – why hasn’t this come out before now?”
So perhaps, for me, 2014 will be the year of pruning. It’s going to be financially straitened anyway, with me working the minimum the dearly beloved and I need me to work, so I can focus on getting well; but also, I now hope, a time of letting loose some of those hurts which have been dragging me down for so long. Perhaps also I can prune other, less constructive things in my life: the hours spent watching TV or procrastinating. Oh, and please, please let me shed lots of weight this year! There’s some definite trimming needed there.
As always, my garden has proved a source of wisdom and guidance. Do you have something in your life, a non-person thing, which serves the same purpose? I’d love to hear about it.