Paring Away to Grow Stronger

Photo by Olga Nohra

Tonight, I thinned my radish plants, again. I didn’t enjoy it.

I don’t like thinning plants. It feels like waste to me. It feels like  plant homicide. In a word: boo.

But, it’s necessary. My radish plants are not even very big yet, but already I could see the difference between the plants that were further apart and those that were clumped together. The plants that had more room had stronger looking, thicker stems, and they were a little taller. The plants that were very crowded had extremely thin stems, and when I pulled them, they had barely rooted at all.

It’s that way for us, too. We have to be willing to pare away some things if we want to be strong and healthy. Sometimes it’s bad habits or unhealthy patterns we need to thin away. Other times, it’s memories of hurt, anger, or shame that are holding us back, but that we haven’t quite let go of yet. Maybe it’s people or relationships that are not beneficial to us or to the others involved. It could even be things in our lives that we don’t need (physical things, like too many doodads to dust).

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

We all do this. It’s nothing to be ashamed of (because, really, that would just become another radish plant in your already crowded patch), but it’s something to know and to be willing to examine in our lives, so that we can take steps to thin away what isn’t serving us.

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2 Responses to Paring Away to Grow Stronger

  1. Lynn B says:

    This resonates with me…I have held on to my suffering for attention and kept myself from straying outside of my comfort zone for so long that I’ve built up a fear of the new. Time to thin out that which does not serve me. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. Now to tend to my garden. =)

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