Thursday, November 10, 2011

Time to Prune

It's the dark time, despite today's sunset (which happened around 4:30pm). Our unseasonably fabulous weather comes to an end, the weather service tells us, around midnight tonight when a storm is supposed to blast in and leave us all shivering. Tis the season, I guess. But it's also, to quote Richard the III in a really terrible way "... the winter of our discontent..." Winter? Not yet. But for me, November really is my season of discontent. It's the full first month of dark - by which I mean the time between Halloween and Yule. In the northern hemisphere, the plants are dying back - all of the exuberent summer growth and expansiveness - shrivelling.  

I feel a little like a part of me wants and needs to do the same - as if I could prune back aspects of my life in order to conserve resources and thereby ensure I survive the winter. Yeah, yeah, I know. Unless the zombie apocalypse hits between now and March 21st, 2012 my survival isn't really in question, but work with me. We're surrounded by animals going into hibernation, vegetation pulling resources and energy back into the vital core. It's only natural that we respond to those same rhythms.

I've noticed a pattern. I get really, really down in November. I'm angry, anxious. I feel like I might be going right off my rocker in a subtle, but terrible way. That's when I start cutting. I begin examining my life and pruning away the bits that aren't serving me or that are actively dragging me down. Time and again, I'm stunned and dismayed by how much of my time and energy has gotten syphoned away. I saw that as if I weren't complicit. Clearly, I let my time and energy get scattered. Randomized is how we described it at work. That's how I feel until I start chopping back all of the useless energy and time sucks. Some of that is hard because it's family I have to say 'no' to. Some of that family understands. Some of them do not.

It won't matter. When you feel like you're living your life for everyone but you, when the things you hold most dear are shoved into the background - it's time for a bit of compassionate pruning. No need to be mean when saying 'no' to someone. Recognize that helping others is only helping when there's an exchange of some kind. When there isn't, you aren't helping. You're enabling. And that's not healthy for anyone.


  1. Saying "no" is an acquired skill - a crucial one to acquire. Good for you on this. De-randomize. Chop it back. You go, girl!

  2. I agree that pruning is vital to the survival of the tree. Energy is finite and must be conserved, and the dark time of the year is a good reminder of that. Thanks for reminding ME.

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