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living a purposeful life field notes farm blog

Spring Pruning & Living a Life of Purpose

Spring is suddenly on the horizon on the farm. That means baby lambs, seeds in the ground and finally pruning the (very old, very unkempt) fruit trees.

One poor thing in particular was overgrown, but resilient. Every year its tangle of branches produced so many apples limbs snapped under the weight of the tart red fruit.

It made me think about that initial transition to a slower, more intentional life.

Over the course of two days we hacked and chopped and sawed our way through the chaos.

It took huge loppers and handsaws and even the chainsaw on occasion, but we slowly cleared away what wasn't essential.

At the end of the second day we declared our mission complete and stood back to observe our handiwork.

The ancient, delicious tree looked . . . terrible.

But just like starting the journey to a slower, simpler life of purpose, pruning takes vision, faith and more than a little chutzpa.

Every cut requires one to imagine three or five years hence - the growth that will happen between now and then, the future cuts that will need to be made, plans revised or abandoned . . .

At one point when I saw my neighbour hesitate before a particularly judicious cut I said -

Go for it. What's the worst that could happen? Whatever we do, it won't be perfect, but it's bound to be an improvement.

Now my decidedly naked apple tree stands in the pale late-winter sunshine - walking lighter in the world, with clear intention, the weight she's shed littering the ground at her feet.

Change is like that.

In order to remake ourselves or our lives, sometimes we need to break out the chainsaw, embrace the imperfection of the plan and learn to live with the ugly, uncomfortable, messy middle between where we are and where we want to be.

We have to find the courage to stand over the trimmings of our previous self piled beneath our feet - knowing they'll nourish the person we are yet to become.

So embrace discomfort. Relish in the messy middle.

Don't be afraid to wield a chainsaw if that's what it takes to cut out the crap, let in the light and make way for the leafy abundance of the life that's waiting for you.

As always.


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