Pruning My Thoughts

I used to save everything. I didn’t want to cut anything out. I thought pruning trees and grapevines and rosebushes was silly.

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But lately I’ve turned a corner in my thinking. So I was out a couple of weeks ago, pruning out some blackberry briars. The thicket was just crazy with shoots going every which direction.

Most of the berry-laden branches were in the middle, of course. Where else would they be? I’ve read somewhere that it’s the second-year shoots that actually produce. Then they die. So all of the new shoots were blocking access to the berries and dead shoots stood guard over the fruits.

Using the pruners, I gently separated out the prickly strands and worked my way inward. It became a working-meditation and the whole process became a metaphor for what I’ve been doing lately in life: sorting out all the strands of thought, some I’ve had since childhood, others conceived in marriage and still others born of necessity in more recent times.

The thoughts bobbed and waved before me like the briar branches in the breeze. Like the briars, some of the thoughts I found fruitful, holding promise for the future. Other thoughts were dead. Their time was up and hanging onto them could only mean difficulty navigating today. Still others were new growth, too young to bear fruit yet. Some of these were vibrant and healthy. Others looked stringy and weak or grew in places that prevented me from getting to the good stuff.

Today, I give myself permission to get out my mental pruners and remove unproductive thoughts, old and new, allowing room to reap the present benefits and make space for the fruitful thoughts of tomorrow.

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