Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Root Bound

I've been on vacation for a little over a week (almost 2 if you count the weekends). When I went home, I took my office plants with me to take care of them at home. Part of what I intended to do was something I had been putting off for months.

My peace lily kept getting larger and larger, blooming regularly. With beautiful, thick foliage that cleans the air, it is an ideal (not to mention beautiful) companion plant for working in a 'closed building' - also known as a 'sick building'.  But the tips of the leaves have been turning brown and the ones around the edge of the pot even more so.  Therefore, I need to repot.  The folks in the know recommend dividing the plant.  This involves a sharp knife!!  They say that once you have your potting soil and pots ready, you have to remove the plant from the pot, root ball and all, and slice it in half or into however many pieces as you want plants.  The rest is easy for me to do - just follow instructions - put each section in a different pot with some soil in it, water and feed, and add more soil.  But cutting the poor thing!  I've been dreading it.  

Source of the photo:
But last night I got the pots out that I had purchased and began to "psych" myself up for this.  As I started to think more about this process, I began to realize how symbolic it is for me.  I've had this peace lily plant since right around the time I went into recovery - the early months of 2009.  The plant and I have both grown in that time.  

And now it is outgrowing its pot.  The root system is so well-developed that it's starting to send shoots out the bottom of the pot - and if I don't do something soon to give it the room it needs to grow, it will be (if it isn't already) root-bound.  And then it won't be healthy anymore.  The roots won't have room to grow.  

What's more, once I repot, I won't have room for all the pieces.  I'll have to give a couple of them away!

My journey has been like that.  There has been some amazing growth, a few periods of incredible blooming.  But now it's time to allow myself to branch out, so to speak.  I need room to grow.

Yet it involves some uprooting, some slicing, some entirely new situations and challenges which  I've never tried before and frankly, which frighten me even as I make the first tentative moves to step into them.  My book is getting closer to completion; I'm expanding my sphere of influence (and my comfort zone) in recovery; I'm taking more of a leadership role in various areas, including work.  

And the part people see is only the above-ground part. Leaves.  Blossoms.  Inside, though, I feel the pressure of being root-bound, of having nowhere to go except around and around.  It feels tight.  It feels restrictive somehow. 

I know that once I have that room to grow, there will be more of me to "go around."  I'll be able to give more of myself, so to speak.  But in order to do that, I must become smaller, to give up more control in some key areas.  For a control addict, that's a big thing.  But so necessary!  

Well, it's a great day to do a little plant surgery.  Now.  Where did I put that big sharp knife?

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