Pruning the trees


I’m not an arborist (tree surgeon) and cannot confirm the validity of parts of the following analogy.

We could probably also call this: back to basics.

I worked at an office in Virginia right off the Potomac River. There was a sitting area outside the building lined with these trees. The trees didn’t have bark and grew exceptionally fast. It seemed like every couple weeks folks were out there trimming them back.

It happened so often, in fact, I mentioned it to a coworker one day. He said, “Yeah. If they didn’t do it, eventually the trunk would be so weak a strong wind could topple the tree.” He went on to say he had the trees at his house.

The part about strengthening the trunk is the part I don’t know is true; it wasn’t specifically listed as a reason behind why we prune trees in my quick roundabout the Internet. However, for our purposes, pruning trees is still a fair analogy.

As systems evolve they tend to increase in complexity. The life you design for yourself is a system. Your relationship to anything classified as a noun is a system; that system changes based on who or what is in “the room.”

Over time you may find dead, dying, or diseased branches of your system and it becomes necessary to remove those pieces. You may find the complexity has grown so massive that light is unable to reach the interior canopy or ground and thinning out some of the mass of things can be helpful.

To try and move the abstract to the concrete, this practice is about allowing yourself the freedom to grow and explore while recognizing when to cut back and reinforce the core of your life.

It may be physical possessions; many of us do this if we move or go on vacation. It may be ideas and beliefs that no longer serve you or cause cognitive dissonance.

The point being, never pruning can lead to an unnecessarily heavy existence.