Welcome to the “Lessons from Nature” series based on a profound insight I had: Humans may have the most complex brains on the planet, but nature as a whole has a better grip than humankind on how to successfully achieve a thriving quality of life.
What I mean by that is this: Each species instinctively knows what type of quality of life it is supposed to have on this Earth and actively works to achieve it. The only species that seems to have trouble doing so is humans (see my earlier blog posts for more details). During this series I will be sharing with you a number of lessons we can learn from nature which will help us achieve a thriving quality of life more consistently.
We can learn a lot from nature about how to have a thriving quality of life by accepting that pruning is a necessary part of life.
Roses are beautiful flowers that grow into a variety of sizes and colors. I love walking around rose gardens and pausing to sniff specific buds that grab my attention. Their fragrance always gives me great pleasure and brings an immediate sense of peace to my life.
When we moved into our first home in 2005 the last owners had planted one rose bush near our front door. Since the house had sat empty for almost a year before we bought it the rose bush was jutting out all over the place and the weight of the flowers caused it to bend in unappealing ways. I had no idea how to take care of a rose bush (I have always unintentionally killed a variety of plants and often tell my friends that “green” gifts won’t last very long in my home), so Danny & I went to Home Depot and asked for help to understand how to care for our rose bush.
One of the things we learned was since our roses had been neglected for so long, and Winter was just around the corner, it would be best for us to prune the bush almost to the ground. I was concerned – how could chopping 90% of our rose bush possibly be healthy? Danny assured me that his Mom was always pruning her flowers and they always grew back. So I sighed deeply and watched him chop the rose bush until only a few inches were left.
During the winter I forgot all about the rose bush and stayed indoors huddled under blankets and several layers of clothing praying that Spring and Summer would hurry up and arrive. Then one day in April I happen to go out the front door to get the mail and stopped dead in my tracks. The rose bush had grown almost two feet and several buds were just beginning to open.
I smiled brightly and leaned over to sniff them. “Wow!” I thought, “Pruning really does work!” And over the next few months I watched the rose bush continue to grow and had lots of freshly cut roses to enjoy in my home. True to what the Home Depot guy said the bush grew back even healthier than before.
Humans, like plants, need occassional pruning to thrive. It’s usually not a fun process, but it is necessary to become the best version of the person we are meant to be because we all grow to adulthood with unecessary emotional baggage and unproductive habits.
Life has a funny way of creating just the right circumstances that force us to face our unecessary emotional baggage and unproductive habits. When those circumstances occur we have two choices: 1) Ignore the opportunity to be “pruned,” which will probably cause those circumstances to occur over and over again until they are addressed; or 2) Accept that those circumstances are a wonderful opportunity to enhance your life in some way even though it may be painful to go through.
I have been “pruned” more times than I can count during my lifetime and none of them were enjoyable. Looking back, however, I’m thankful for each time I was pruned because I was able to get rid of emotional baggage that had been holding me back and developed personal skills which gave me a greater ability to work through future life challenges.
Learn from nature and accept that “pruning” is a necessary part of life. Being open to the pruning process instead of fighting against it will allow you to experience a thriving quality of life more consistently.
I look forward to your comments on this article. Stay tuned next week for another lesson from nature.
Have a fabulous day and don’t forget to keep an eye out for all the amazing possibilities within and around you!
C.E.O. Catalyst & Life Coach