Monday, September 1, 2014

Pruning: Not Just For Plants -- How You Can Benefit

Spiritography Day 1: Imaging the Sacred in Everyday Life

Photography is one of my spiritual practices. Though I am but a mere amateur, I enjoy the challenge of trying to capture a reflection of the transcendental. Photography allows me to find the sacred in the ordinary. It's not about the product; it's about the process. Whenever I view the world through a camera lens, my mind quiets, my body slows, and my appreciation deepens. It serves as an effective form of meditation and contemplation. The camera's eye becomes my eye and together we compose and capture moments that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Pruning Shears and Coreopsis by Penny McDaniel
"Pruning Shears and Coreopsis" by Penny McDaniel
In "Pruning Shears and Coreopsis" above, I was struck by the contrast between the shadows and light, the harshness of the shears baring jagged teeth juxtaposed with the frailty of the flowers sprawled on the ground. But in their frailty, the flowers seem to embrace -- almost forgive -- the shears for their "assault."

And so transcendence begins.

We deal with our fair share of pruning on the spiritual path and it hurts like hell at times, but it is necessary to improve our overall spiritual health. If we are honest with ourselves about our lives, we will find that there are areas that siphon off our nourishment and prevent us from growing and living an abundant life. Sometimes we need to refocus our efforts, energy, and gifting; pruning allows us to redirect our spiritual growth into other areas where we'll be more effective.

Sometimes we have to cut away any relationships, attitudes, behaviors, habits, and beliefs that are spiritually sick or dead.

Sometimes we must cut away anything that is unnecessary, distracts us, or clutters the spiritual process. If it's unfruitful, it can't serve us or our highest good.

Take a good look at your lifestyle and any conflicts that may have arisen. Which habits, beliefs, or attitudes are you holding that may have given rise to these conflicts? When we let our ego run the show, our inner world becomes distorted and disillusioned. We start to live according to an image we want to protect, thus causing separation on many levels. If we want to live a more simplified and unified life, we must seek to make the necessary changes, no matter how difficult or frightening they may appear. Deep down, we know what needs to be done if we want to find the connected thread that subtly unites the moments of our lives.

I shuddered at the thought of taking shears to my coreopsis plants because they had bloomed so beautifully throughout summer, but they were beginning to look haggard and were blooming less and less. If I wanted them to thrive again, I knew I had to cut them back, and now a few weeks later, they are blooming abundantly, even more so than they were in the beginning of the season. The flowers didn't cry or complain about the process; they simply accepted it as part of their blooming potential, a lesson not so readily accepted by me in my own life at times.

"Coreopsis in Bloom"
Pruning doesn't only involve cutting away the dead branches of our lives; it involves cutting off some of the healthy branches as well, forcing us to focus on our roots -- our priorities and our values. Sometimes we are spread so thin in many areas that we can't concentrate on fully growing in one area. If this is the case, then the wisest action is removing something that is preventing what we want more of, rather than adding more to our plates. Less becomes more, and space opens up to areas that can make a bigger and better difference in our lives.

Pruning our lives is a spiritual discipline that helps us cut back to grow more and create the results we most desire.

We have the power to change ourselves in any given moment, and when we do, our relationship with everything around us begins to change.

Give your life a healthy trim. Cut out the superfluous parts that no longer serve you.

What are the heavy boughs or empty branches that are weighing down your life?


  1. Dear Penny,

    I love your message and your photo

    It’s so true that we often we hold on to certain ideals that need to be cut away for the sake of our well-being. We hold on to feelings of anger, sadness, happiness, regret. We also hold on to people, things and dreams that no longer serve us.

    And it’s not healthy.

    Holding on isn’t good for our mind and most importantly, it’s not good for our heart.

    Thank you for your message!

    Gena Livings

    1. Thank you, Gena!

      Pruning our lives may not always be comfortable, but it's a necessity if we are to reach our highest good. You're's not healthy to hold onto that which no longer serves us. All kinds of emotional and physical ailments manifest, slowing us down even more. Yuk. Get rid of it, no matter how much it may hurt.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing, my friend.