"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer" - Albert Camus

Friday, June 28, 2013

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach


"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June." - L.M. Montgomery

June is generous with her authentic gifts. Once again the days are sunny and hot.  The roses and peonies are in bloom, and it's time to feast on strawberries and cream.  School is over, summer camp begins, and visions of vacations dance in our heads.  Our smiles deepen, our laughter increases, our hearts open.  This month we rediscover that it is life's enrichments rather than the riches of life that bring us true contentment.

                                                June 28th:

                      Repotting: Giving roots and yourself room to grow.

"Little flower- but If I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all
I should know what God and woman is."
             - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Uh-oh. Dropping leaves. Whatever can be the matter? The plant has been watered; it basks in the light; it's neither too hot nor too cold. I pick up the pot and look at the small drainage hole in its underbelly. Tiny white roots are frantically pushing through in a futile attempt attempt to escape confinement or at least find a little more breathing space.
   Pot bound. Did you know that plants need to be repotted at least every two years? This has not been a problem for me in the past, since plants rarely made it that long around here. But as I become a better caretaker of myself, I care better for everything. However, even if the roots don't need more room to grow, the old soil should be replaced because all the nutrients have been consumed. The interior of the pot is a wasteland. "I don't know when I myself am too pot-bound," Gunilla Norris confesses in her numinous devotional, Being Home, "lacking courage to be replanted, to take the shock of the new soil, to feel into the unknown and take root in it."

                         We, too, need to consider repotting for growth. But when? When we wilt even before the day begins. When we can't seem to visualize or dream. When we can't remember the last time we laughed. When we have absolutely nothing in the next twenty-four hours to look forward to. When this happens, week in, week out, we need to realize that we're pot-bound. We need to gently loosen the soil around our souls, find something that sparks our imagination, quickens our pulse, brings a smile or giddy lilt to our conversations.

    But repotting doesn't mean we have to leave the marriage or quit the job. It just means we need something new. Why is it too late to go back to college if you do it one course at a time? Maybe this is the summer to learn to speak French or to start your own gift basket business? Perhaps you can get the sewing machine fixed, try making blackberry cordial, or take up fencing. What's stopping you from writing for that grant, applying for the fellowship, pulling together that one-woman show, attending that lecture series, publishing your own newsletter, or just sending for that intriguing mail-order catalog.

  As I work with my plans, I see that the roots are just stunted. Gently, with my fingers, I untangle them.
 Leaf. Stem. Root.
Mind. Body. Soul.
 Three in one. Spirit's seamless thread of mystery. I have often thought that if I could just discover where one strand left off and another began, I could understand it all. As it is, I understand little, yet somehow I know.

I set the plant into a slightly larger pt. Not to large; we must not overwhelm but encourage. So too, I must not take on the world but simply each task before me. Now I add rich potting soil. Water. Slowly I take the plant to a shady spot for a day so that it can become adjusted to its new environment. But even at this moment, the stem seems straighter, the leaves uplifted. "Speak to Him thou for He hears, " Tennyson urges. "Spirit with Spirit can meet-Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet."

Root and bud bear silent witness to the restoration.

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