My parents grew roses when I was growing up.
I remember a few things about this. One, they would throw used coffee grounds and egg shells onto the rose beds. I thought that was weird, to put food that would otherwise go in the trash around the plants. They explained that there were certain nutrients in those foods that made the roses even more beautiful.
The other thing I remember was that the roses, the flowers, were stunningly beautiful. When they bloomed, it seemed that it was a thrill and delight for the entire family.
I also remember how these amazing blooms were surrounded by straggly, not very pretty bushes.
Oh one last thing, it seemed like it was an awful lot of work for a few flowers that lasted for such a short time.
You’re probably wondering by now, why is she telling me this sweet memory about rosebushes?
As I was writing about before, I’ve been reading Henry Cloud’s book called “Necessary Endings”. He uses the metaphor of a rosebush to show how important it is to decide what your vision is for what you want, in this case, the perfectly groomed rosebush, and to engage in an active process to let go of what is not best to get you to your vision.
For a rosebush to be at its’ dazzling best, you have to prune. You have to prune weak branches, you have to prune dead branches, and you have to prune perfectly good branches that are outside the shape of your ideal. You have to let go in order to get closer to what it is that you really want, your ideal rosebush.
Can you see the metaphor here? To get to your best self, your vision of the life that you most want, you have to learn to let go.
People are like rosebushes. We have limited resources–of time, energy, money and attention. In order to be at our best, we have to make decisions about what we really want.
Contrary to the saying “you can have it all”, no, the truth is we can’t. And we have to learn to say no to what isn’t best for us, to what is no longer working for us, to what used to be fine but no longer is, and even to let go of some perfectly good enough things that are no longer necessary as we are moving towards our best life in this moment.
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