Thursday, April 7, 2016

Clear out the dead stuff

Spring and a for-sale sign in front of our house pull me outside to clear out the garden beds.

Trimming last year's spent stalks out of the 8 foot decorative grass, I find the new growth is taller than expected. Very carefully I clip away the old to protect the new. 

Nose to nose with the tan brittle stems I wonder if they could have prevented the healthy development of the striped thin leaves that give the plant its name--Zebra Grass. 

Likewise, is it possible that my life has dead stuff that needs to be cleared out?  Could the debris from past years choke out new ideas, new habits, new plans--the vibrant part of me? 

Here's how to tackle the job.

1. Step back and try to see where your endeavors fizzled or fell short.

2. Then move in close, and see where the old patterns of thinking actually prevent the results you want. 

For example, I realize I no longer enjoy playing my violin at church (liken it to a dead stalk.) Comparing myself to another violinist leaves me discouraged. When others don't arrive at practice on time I grouse.  My problem, not theirs. Until a paradigm shift happens, I'm happier not participating in as a musician. 

3. Keep your eye on what you want to nurture, and get rid of the obstacles as best you can.   

4. Persist. I cut each zebra stalk individually, about one hundred and fifty of them. Working over my inventory from #1 I realize some of my undertakings are efforts to "fix" other people. Boo. Hiss. Those never work. Cut those out of your life!

5. Take a look at the big picture again, like the zebra grass, healthy shoots will have a chance to flourish.