I have a plant that a good friend gave me years ago. I thought I was doing an okay job taking care of it. The plant was vibrant, pretty self-sustaining, and needed little care. But this past week, for whatever reason, I took a really good look at the plant.
Its leaves and stalks all looked healthy, but it seemed crowded. I decided to repot it, and found a new pot to put it in. I pulled out the roots, shocked to see how compact and stuffed they were. I broke up the roots, and spread the stalks out, then I added new soil, gave the leaves a bath, and put it back on the window table in the new containers. It now had new room to grow.
There is a lesson here for me.
Time passes invisibly around us, and although there are markers, like birthdays and holidays, or seasons, that remind us of the change occurring, we can be blind to it. The plant had long outgrown its container, and had been prevented from thriving.
Looking deeper, we can begin to check out our lives and face the people, jobs, recreations, habits, thought patterns, and more, that we may’ve outgrown. We can start by looking for the places we feel restricted, where we need more room to grow, but find ourselves hitting up against a wall.
It takes a deep belief in our ability to let go of the past and allow ourselves to re-flourish, to become like the plant: resilient and ready when the opportunity comes to grow more.
To get started, I’m providing a meditation designed to ask these questions, and consider facing parts of our lives that are no longer useful.
New Growth Meditation
Close your eyes. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth three times, following the breath as it comes through the tip of your nose. On the in-breath, think, grow. On the out, think, joy. Grow, joy. Grow, joy. Continue to focus on your breathing, until you have reached a place of stillness.
Visualize a path in front of you. (Call any spiritual guides, guardians, or ancestors to walk with you and guide your way.) It can be any path, a dirt path, a paved road, a snowy mountain trail. Take the path, and notice the colors around you, the smells in the air, the sky, the wildlife. Touch the ground, breath in the air. Be fully present.
The path leads you to a house. This can be any house, a hut, a yurt, a mansion, a cave, a teepee. This is your house, and inside it is everything that is contained within your life. Enter the house. Look around. What do you see? Are there rooms, windows, doors? What does the house contain? Furniture, boxes, is it empty? Is it cluttered, or perfectly organized?
The house represents your life and how you view it. Does this place feel happy, sad, indifferent, frightened, safe, unsafe? What emotion do you feel being here?
At the end of the hall, you’ll see a locked door. You have the key to open it. Inside are all the things that hold you back in life, all your regrets, failures, past mistakes, setbacks, goals you couldn’t reach. You may find locked away treasures, or memories of pleasures that no longer serve you? Are you prepared to unlock the door? If so, open and enter.
Inside the room, what do you see? Is it a dark room or one with lots of light? Explore the room. See what you have locked away here. Go through everything, until you find a box marked, OUTGROWN. This is the box of things that currently trap you, like the plant pot. Now open the box when you’re ready.
What’s inside, describe it? How does it make you feel to look inside? Why do you think you have outgrown these things? Do you feel trapped by them? What will it take for you to move on and find a new container to live in? Choose at least one thing inside the box that you will take and remove, in order to give you new room to grow?
When you are ready, take the item or box from the room, and return to the front door. Thank all your guides that brought you here, safely, and for the discoveries you’ve made. Then go outside, closing the door behind you.
Outside, you will find a pretty garden. Beside it, a shovel and water-can. Take the shovel and dig a hole for the item or box. Make sure that the hole is much bigger than the box. Plant the box and cover it. Make a vow to yourself that you will allow yourself to grow past the limitations you have allowed to impose on your life.
Sit beside the garden. Visualize the box taking new root under the earth, and a seed sprouting above the surface. What do you think will grow in this spot? Does it excite you or scare you?
When you’re ready, open your eyes.
Return to this place often to check on what you’ve planted. Make sure it is watered and has ample light, and good soil to thrive. Return to see how and what has grown.