Bloom Where You’re Planted

“Bloom where you’re planted.”

I’ve heard that phrase many times, and I generally like it and find it inspirational; it shows that despite the circumstances we face in life, we can still make a difference. We can still matter. We can still thrive.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply deciding to bloom.

My backyard was once amazing. It was part if the local garden tour and the owners spent at least 20 hours a week taking care if it. I don’t even have houseplants because I can barely keep any plants alive, so this is new territory for me.

When we bought the house a year ago, the yard was neglected and overgrown. We’d rented it for a year and two other families had rented it for a few years before us. I’m guessing there was five to seven years of neglect; the only thing any of us really did was keep up with the mowing.

Once it was ours, though, we needed to get it in shape, and thanks to the invaluable help from our friends Andy and Laura, we made a really good start on cutting out a lot of dead and overgrown stuff. I don’t even know what most of it is or was. I can pretty much only identify the lilacs, peonies, and roses.

Despite not knowing what a lot of the plants are, I have delighted in seeing everything bloom each spring and summer. It was planted with love and well-cared for over the years before the prior owners moved away. I’ve noticed though, that there are some plants in my yard that are not blooming. It could be that the years of neglect have killed them, it could be that they just need to be pruned and they’ll grow; I don’t know for sure.

What I do know is that waiting for something to bloom can take a long time and a lot of care. The plants don’t just thrive on their own. I wrote about how pruning has helped my lilacs sport new growth, and on Instagram I marveled at how pruning helped my roses bloom more this year than last.

In order to bloom where you’re planted it’s not only up to you. You need others around to help with the watering, weeding, and pruning. You need knowledgeable and caring people to come alongside you and help you.

In his book Anam Cara, John O’Donohue writes:

“The soul needs love as urgently as the body needs air. In the warmth of love, the soul can be itself. All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities. When loves comes in to your life, unrecognized dimensions of your destiny awaken and blossom and grow.”

We are all like the plants in my yard.

We all need to be loved and cared for in order to bloom and grow.


Cleaning Out the Mess

I’m not a morning person, never have been. The only reason I get up is because that’s what responsible adults have to do. I don’t roll out of bed happy and ready to meet the day; I get out of bed ready to meet my coffee.

I do, however, enjoy sleeping with the windows open to let in the fresh air. Unfortunately, along with the fresh air comes the songs of the birds at four in the morning.

Since I had slept very well and didn’t feel too groggy, I decided to get up since there wasn’t going to be any more sleeping that morning. I got some coffee, read and journalled about Falling Upward, thought about the concept of “necessary suffering” and posted my Instagram post about the death of my daffodils and birth of my lilacs.

Around six, I decided I should go outside and do some yard work.

There’s a lot of work to be done and I decided to work on the small area by my lilac tree. As I bent down to clean out some of the dead leaves from the fall that surrounded it, I saw new growth coming from the bottom. Last year, I had pruned it, but I didn’t think I’d pruned anything there; I thought it was only up much higher that I’d pruned, and I had often looked at it thinking that it was kind of a waste that the flowers were all up so high and there weren’t any lower.

Now, someday, there will be.

I am excited to see how this lilac tree will continue to flourish with pruning that it needs to be able to do so.

I started cleaning out all the leftover fall leaves from behind the lilacs and a hedge. It seemed like a relatively unimportant place to cleanup; it’s not that visible unless you are actually out in the backyard looking at the back of the house. You can’t see it when you’re sitting in the sunroom and it’s not like it’s the front of the house where any neighbors and cars passing can see.

But the hedge is potentially dying; I’m not sure if it will recover or not, and if it is dying it’ll need to be removed. If it’s removed, it’ll reveal the mess and ugliness behind it if I don’t clean it up first.

We all have something hidden within us that needs to be cleaned up. We all have something that needs to be pruned. We just don’t really want to do it because it’s messy, hard work.

It’s also necessary.

Pruning takes away what is dying and holding us back. It takes away that unnecessary stuff we carry around. And when we can finally get rid of it, we have more room to grow and bloom; we will be more who and what we are meant to be, not the decaying mess that we find due to the neglect of our hearts and souls and lives.

And like the lilac tree, we might see growth in places we never expected.