Pruning, It’s Not Just for Plants…

photoThis past Sunday began with my noticing the herbs I grow in my Aerogarden were looking like more of a miniature jungle than a garden I’d actually want to eat something out of.

Out came the scissors and the pruning began.

The photo to the left represents the results of those efforts – a pile of compost fodder and some now recognizable basil & parsley plants.

This impromptu pruning set the tone for the rest of that cool and rainy day, a day I spent pruning stuff, commitments and ideas from my life.

In reading about pruning on Wikipedia, I noted that pruning involves the “selective removal of parts of a plant” and results in the following:

  • Deadwood Removal
  • Shaping by controlling or directing growth
  • Improving or maintaining health
  • and Increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits.

The reasons for pruning apply as much to our busy lives as human beings as they do to plants.  Who doesn’t want to get rid of the dead wood in their life that is weighing them down, or do what they can to control or shape their own life?  Improving or maintaining one’s health is a no-brainer and I’m guessing most of us wouldn’t be upset if a little pruning ended up increasing what we get out of life.

For me, pruning last Sunday looked like:

  • Emptying cupboards of dishes we don’t use often and purging shelves in the basement of items we’ll not need in the next chapter of our life.
  • Saying no to or renegotiating opportunities that won’t fulfill me and will instead become dreaded commitments.
  • Recycling countless pages of saved articles and conference books containing notes and possibilities I’m now willing to release.

Life gets overgrown and pruning helps bring it back under control.   What have you pruned recently, and if you haven’t done any pruning, how might your life benefit from it?




10 Responses to “Pruning, It’s Not Just for Plants…”

  1. Janet Greene June 13, 2014 8:26 am #

    My most recent pruning experience involved going through 55+ years of photographs, identifying the ones to be saved, scanning those into iPhoto, uploading them to Shutterfly, and putting together a book of our family history. Having previously done Shutterfly books on my family and on my husband’s family, it was time to document our nuclear family. What started out as a daunting chore became a labor of love. The biggest hurdle was choosing from literally thousands of pictures. Approximately 600 photos made the final cut, but only 400 or so made it into the book. The book delivered one unexpected bonus. Most of the framed photographs displayed around our home are now in the book. My next pruning project!

    • Andrea Sharb June 22, 2014 3:17 pm #

      Sounds like quite the pruning job. It also sounds like you came up a great idea for dealing with a significant number of photos. Way to persist and create something that will be treasured by your family!

  2. Ellen Delap June 20, 2014 10:48 pm #

    What a wonderful metaphor for our life! I love that the emotion of the moment helped you “prune”. Thanks for sharing a way to edit out what is overgrown in our lives.

    • Andrea Sharb June 22, 2014 3:23 pm #

      Thanks Ellen, I’m glad you connect with this metaphor and took the time to let me know.

  3. Janet Barclay May 31, 2017 11:46 am #

    What a wonderful analogy! Two of the things I most enjoy about gardening are pruning and weeding, because they’re both about removing what’s not needed or wanted and making space for bigger and better things. I think I’m due for some pruning soon!

    • Andrea Sharb May 31, 2017 3:02 pm #

      I’m so glad you appreciated the analogy Janet. Pruning and weeding are two of my favorite gardening activities, too. Creating space to make room for the new and letting go of what’s not serving us and is maybe preventing growth. : )

  4. Seana Turner June 21, 2017 5:59 pm #

    Pruning is a great analogy. Generally speaking, people accept that pruning is a good thing, necessary for the life and appearance of the plant. Pruning can be something we do repeatedly and periodically, both of which are good habits for all of our things. Pruning is a positive process, done by a gardener who loves and cares about his garden… a helpful thought if you are resisting the urge to declutter.

    • Andrea Sharb June 22, 2017 1:32 pm #

      Thanks for stopping in Seana and for strengthening my metaphor! I love the idea of pruning being a positive process carried out by someone who loves and cares for his garden. : )

  5. Olive Wagar June 29, 2017 8:38 pm #

    Great perspective, Andrea! By getting rid of the excess, we create room for new growth or new opportunities. I have been transforming my flower beds over the past years. Each summer I would concentrate on a different area. Several friends shared perennials with me. This year everything really blossomed together–and I even received a “Green Thumb Award”!! But only because of all the pruning and weeding and planting new seeds. Our lives will bloom when we prune the excess clutter, mindless activities, and bad habits.

    • Andrea Sharb June 30, 2017 3:37 pm #

      Hi Olive, thank you for sharing your story and your personal experiences with pruning. I appreciate your perspective of pruning, etc as a process, occurring over a period of time. I’ve spent a lot of time this year focusing on process goals – those goals that can be reached, but typically over a longer period of time – and your experience serves as a reminder of the importance of staying with the process. Congrats on the award and enjoy your garden!

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