In September, I wrote about my avocado tree and what she taught me about persistence, commitment, perseverance, patience, and faith among other things. And weeks later, she continues to teach me.
She had grown to about seven inches and leaves were sprouting on the top of her stem. I consulted my instructions for the next step in her growth process, and it said, “When the stem is 6 to 7 inches long, cut it back to about 3 inches.” What?! Cut her? I don’t think I can do that, I thought. Days went by as I contemplated this. What if I didn’t cut her back? What would happen? Is this really in her best interest? Really? I reread the instructions. I don’t know why. Hoping for a different outcome?
A couple more days went by. I looked at the reasoning for literally cutting my avocado tree in half. If I cut her, the roots would thicken up, and she would have a better foundation when she was planted in soil. It also encourages more leafy foliage to grow which, in turn, gives her more surface area to absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide which are needed for photosynthesis so she can produce the sugar necessary to grow.
If I did not cut her, she would continue to grow, but her roots would remain spidery. Her stem would be thin, and her leaves would be sparse because she would not have the strength in her foundation or stem to support large or plentiful leaves. She would not be able to reach her full potential simply because I did not have the courage to take the difficult and necessary step which would allow her to step into her power and boost her potential.
Well, when you put it like that, you know what I did, right? I mustered all of my courage, I sent her love and healing, explaining that what I was doing was for her benefit. It might hurt briefly, but I had her best interests at heart, and she should be brave. And then I cut her. Right in half. What I agonized over for days only took a split second. She didn’t cry out. She didn’t wince. She stood there and took it like a woman—stoic, determined, brave.
She took it better than I did. Me? I looked at the upper part of her being, held carefully between my thumb and forefinger, and what did I do? I tried to save it. I tried to see if it would root—this part of her that she was willing to let go of for the betterment of her future. It stood, propped up precariously in the water next to her sturdy lower half which had already begun to heal. Eventually, I realized that I had to let go of that part of her, and I unceremoniously tossed it in the trash.
And then, there it was. The lesson in all of this. Growth is hard. It may seem counterintuitive to cut back that plant in order to make it grow.
But a necessary part of growing is recognizing and letting go of what you no longer need.
There are many parts to growth and all of them challenging in their own way. We must believe in ourselves; we must give ourselves permission to put ourselves first; we must spend time in stillness, in contemplation. We must face down fear and move forward despite it. We must listen to our inner voice to learn what we need and, just as importantly, what we don’t. And once we have come to this realization, we must act.
We must take the scissor to the stem. We must prune the elements that make us weak and unable to achieve our fullest potential. That includes our limiting beliefs; our clutter—both physical and mental; the non-essential busyness (y’all know what I’m talking about); and yes, even the people who drain our energy. Whatever and whoever does not support our journey—does not support our growth—weakens us unnecessarily.
Take a deep breath. Send your inner being the love and support she needs to slough off what no longer serves her. Take a hard look at your goals, the best way to achieve them, and then prune. Remove those elements of yourself and others that make you weak, make you less than, and hinder the mighty being that you can be. By letting go, you will become stronger, more firmly grounded, and able to fuel your future.