Yesterday this fan palm that grows outside my office window was heavy with dead palm fronds and fronds that were not yet dead but on their way out. A week ago we asked the gardener if he could remove the retired branches knowing that the tree needed to be cleaned up. I watched as the man climbed the tree and, using a chainsaw, quickly and cleanly lopped branch after branch off the tree.
It was effortless for the tree trimmer, though I had a moment when I wondered if he understood that I just wanted it trimmed, not eliminated. He had no emotional investment in the tree and was just doing his job–getting rid of not only the unwanted growth that I could see, but also that which was hidden. In the end my tree looked beautiful and I was left pondering the metaphor with which he left me.
I’ve always loved this tree, but having left it untrimmed for the last two years I had lost site of it’s true majesty. For months now I could only remember how pretty the tree was. But free of the branches it no longer needs I can see that it’s grown 10 feet in the last 3 years and I can also see all of the healthy branches that were previously obscured by the old unwanted growth. Thank goodness the gardener was willing to climb the tree and really examine what was healthy and what was not because my vantage point did not provide that level of clarity.
This morning as I drank my coffee, caught up on FaceBook and looked out the window, it hit me how all of the old “stuff” had kept me from seeing the tree as it really is today. I had to think how I am still doing this in my own life.
You see, we are preparing to move back east from the home we have known for 8 years in Southern California. As is the case with so many life transitions, we have had moments of feeling “stuck” in the energy of growing and moving forward and yet still holding on to what we have created here. My beautiful palm tree reminded me that only when I let go of the stuff I no longer need can I truly appreciate who I’ve become and where I’m headed.
And for all of the surface “cleaning” I’ve done I think there are spots in both my home and in my emotional house that need a closer look. Who knows what I will find if I take more than a birds-eye look at my life.
I think today I’ll be adding to the pile of items for our community garage sale in a week. I’m sure the activity will allow me to connect more deeply with the emotions of the last eight years, and perhaps I’ll be able to let go of some of those too. I’m anticipating that the world will look a little different and feel a little lighter when I’m done!