I didn’t have a blog post in mind when I decided to tackle my forlorn azalea bush but I don’t argue when the content comes of it’s own accord. It’s kind of fun to watch it unfold in my head. The trick is not waiting until later to get it in writing. I’m still working on that part. In an effort to not wait I’ve even started talking to my phone, which I don’t love to do, but it’s better than losing what your brain is writing!
A Funny Feeling
When I stepped back from my azalea bush after a while or pruning, I have to say, the poor bush looked naked! There were so many limbs that were dead and covered in this weird moss. It sure looked weird at first but I had to remind myself this was going to make room for the live growth AND future new growth.
It can feel that way in our own lives, too. We are not the same people after periods of change and growth. We may feel a little unsure of how the newness will fit but it doesn’t take long to revel in that new-found feeling of lightness that comes with letting old stuff go.
Cutting and breaking limbs off a bush is quite a bit of work (and, I might add, not friendly to a hand with carpal tunnel, as I discovered the next day). To make sure I was ready for the work, I had a good breakfast, I wore high SPF sunscreen because: Irish heritage. I had a nice hat on to cover my head, long sleeves to avoid cuts and scrapes. One thing I did forget was water and the summer morning was warming up quickly. The big guy came out to check on me and I did not hesitate to ask for a delicious glass of cold water.
When we go through periods of growth it is important to make time for ourselves. Self-care doesn’t mean spa or salon-related anything, at least to me. Self-care can be 5 quiet minutes on the couch in darkness or sitting down for a cup of tea in the afternoon. We are not all able to step away to a spa both for time and financial reasons. It’s important to find something that is yours and brings you peace.
Some of the debris will surprise you.
A lot of the growth broke off without really trying because it had been there for so long that it was just waiting to be pruned. As I cleared away this easy stuff, it quickly became apparent that these mossy dead branches had allowed a number of other “unwanted” growth. There were things growing like creepers, clingers, vines, all working up and around the bush leaving even less room for it’s own leaves and flowers to flourish.
As we change and grow we will discover that it is not just one aspect of our lives that will change. Beneath our habits and defenses other things have crept in a as well that we many not even realize. Sometimes theses are relationships or environments we’ve gotten ourselves into to seemingly protect ourselves. Things maybe fall away or be shifted in unexpected ways.
It will take longer than you expect
And that’s ok. Growth and learning happen over stretches of time. In part because we bump into things we don’t expect but also adjusting and incorporating change and growth into our new life is rarely a straight line and sometimes is not even clear to us at first.
We will meet resistance from others and even from ourselves. Just because we “know” what needs doing doesn’t make it easy. Every growth moment is different and each life is different. There shouldn’t be a competition for the most or quickest growth.
Bring a bigger bucket
I brought a small, 5 gallon bucket but quickly realized it wasn’t big enough and went back for the 30 gallon garbage can. There will be more pruning to do than you realize because…
It’s easy to get distracted.
For example, smaller azalea bushes, things that seem easier to deal with than the large project in front of you. That might be feeling overwhelming and like you’ll never finish. started to do that stay focused on what you’re doing.
Sometimes help comes along when you don’t expect it.
While you are going about your pruning and weeding, someone might be inspired by what you’re doing and want to help you and also do some pruning of their own. But remember, stay focused on your task at hand. I was ready to run over and help him work on the other bush but my goal that day was the big one. I got back to work.
Pay attention also can be easy to take off some new growth with the old growth
which some of that might be okay because it might be growth that you didn’t really want or need so slow down and focus on what you’re doing so you don’t get rid of something you might need.
Pay close attention to yourself and your energy, know when to stop.
As I mentioned growth takes longer than expected pruning takes longer than expected so be sure to take breaks while doing your work so you don’t exhaust yourself and burn out. This isn’t a sprint.