Why Pruning Plants is A Metaphor For Life


Buying dying ferns

In looking for some house plants, I found some sorely neglected ferns on a bottom shelf in a garden center store. It was almost like they had been tucked away purposely as they were in such sad shape. Definitely not the kind of plant you want to have on display at a garden center store!

Their soil was dry to the touch. They were covered with dried out branches. Some of the branches and leaves that weren’t dried out, were wilting. And they were faded, having been kept out of sun for a while.

Still, they called out to me. They just needed some water. Ok maybe a lot of water! And new pots and new soil. And some sun. And some TLC.

I asked if I could buy them at a discount. I figured why not? Mind you, I kind of have a green thumb but it’s definitely not too green! Yet I wanted to see what I could do with these wilty, parched, dried out ferns.


In their new home …

First thing I did was water them and let them sit in small bowls of water for a couple of days until they were done drinking. They drank a lot. I let them sit for a few more days; I figured they might be in a little bit of shock after having been neglected for so long.

To get them ready to transplant into their larger pots with new soil, I started trimming away all the dead materials and loosening up their bound-up roots.

That’s when the metaphor hit me!

As I’m trimming away the dead branches and those that are were still wilted even after all that water, I realized this is a great metaphor for my life! Or anyone’s whose life that is ready for a new adventure!

Why?  Because when I’m pruning the plant, I’m helping the plant send valuable nutrients to the healthy parts of itself. And, because the dead or dying parts are no longer there, the plant isn’t wasting valuable resources trying to resurrect them.


Do you see the metaphor yet?

As you shift your focus onto a new adventure, a new path, a new goal for yourself, you are focusing all of your resources on that new path. And not still keeping your attention on the past or on an old path that no longer serves you.

That splitting of your focus keeps you straddling the old and the new paths. With no forward movement on either path.

As you set your sights on a new direction, all of your available resources need to move in that same direction. The same as when I trimmed away all the dying parts on the ferns, I forced the ferns to only focus on what was left – the healthy part of itself.


Let me share a personal example

I am an intuitive empath. I love working with horses using these intuitive skills, even though I don’t ride, train, breed, or own a horse. We connect in a way that transcends beyond those minor details.

While working as an empath or animal communicator for horses, I also became a Certified Conscious Life Coach. It was at that point that I really didn’t know how to incorporate both passions. This left me straddling both paths and not moving forward in either one. At all.


Bet you’re wondering ‘so what?’

Here’s where the Why Pruning Plants Is A Metaphor For MY Life clicked for me. My horse business wasn’t moving forward. If anything, it was dying like the ferns. Yet, I was reluctant to let it go. I had worked so hard at it. Through that business I learned about branding, marketing, accounting, Facebook, other social media platforms, how to write and post blogs, how to create or find and markup images, to name a few of the many new skills I learned. Maybe that’s why I was so reluctant to let the business go.

Maybe this was kind of like how the fern was feeling? ‘But I worked so hard growing those leaves and branches. They were doing so well at the beginning. I had such good intentions for them. I don’t want to let them go.’

I made the decision for the fern when I cut all the dead and dying parts off. The result? It is thriving now! The plant itself is perky and happy and a darker green. New growth is even starting! And it’s only been a couple of weeks!

I realized I need to make that same decision for myself. Stop focusing on a business that wasn’t thriving while also trying to get another business going. Focus only on the new path, or in this case, my new coaching business.


Keep what works and let the rest go

Even as I ‘prune’ my horse business way back, I am keeping everything that I learned: all the writing skills; the Word Press skills; the creative skills; the social media knowledge (when I started this several years ago I didn’t even have any personal social media account!). As for the skills that don’t work anymore, I am ‘pruning’ those too.

For example, focusing on multiple social media platforms at once does not really work for me! Neither does trying to learn how to do professional videos, at least not right now.  If you’ve seen any of my FB live videos, you know what I mean! 😀

Knowing what skills work for me allows me to be very focused in my new business efforts. And that focused effort nourishes my new passion which is making moving forward much easier and significantly more fun.


This happens all the time

I see the same with my daughter. She used to love Barbies and they were all over the house. There were even a few that had permanent residency in our tub! As she grew out of them, we ‘pruned’ them from the house and we donated them. She felt good knowing a youngster would soon be taking some of her Barbies home for some new adventures. Bonus! She now has plenty of space in her room for her current passions: books, makeup, and nail polishes.

Stores do it all the time! Those end of the season sales: that is really just a ‘pruning’ of their inventory. On-line flash sales are the same thing. Heck, you’ve done it if you have ever had a garage sale or when you’ve donated some of your unused household items!


How does this ‘pruning’ idea resonate for you?

It’s easy to understand ‘pruning’ when it comes to consumables. It is a bit harder to understand when it comes to personal habits or something that you have invested a ton of time and effort into, like a business. It didn’t click for me that I had to fully let go of my first business until I was pruning those sad wilty ferns.

I want my new focus/adventure to thrive. Just like my ferns are doing now. So I am gratefully letting go of everything that does not support my new venture.

Are there ways that you have ‘pruned’ or let go of some old patterns, or thinking, or ventures? How has your life shifted as a result of letting them go? More importantly, how much growth have you experienced since letting go?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


How Can I Support You ‘Prune’ Your Life?

Letting go, especially of ventures that you have worked so hard on can be challenging, even heart wrenching. If you would like some support on how to let go, or someone to help you process your ‘pruning’ thinking, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. You can book a Free Call here and let’s talk about ‘pruning’ to get you ready for more expansive ventures in the near future.


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Shedding the shyness of my youth, I cheer exuberantly for my daughter, her teammates, and even the opposing Field Hockey team! Their pride & heart filled smiles beam in appreciation regardless of the final score.