A girlfriend of mine who works in the wine industry recently wrote me in excitement about getting out into the vineyard to start the preparations for the year. Yeah, in JANUARY she's going out into the vineyard to get things going. She wrote about warm weather gear, but she mainly noted the importance of Pruning the vines. As she noted, this is the start of the growing season (not later when there are buds and leaves and everything we think of as growing). This is the start, with the pruning, the cutting back and setting the stage. If you do a poor job now you're behind for the rest of the year and by the time Harvest comes, you'll be lucky to turn out grapes worthy of making into wine.
Hmm.. I thought it was remarkable, because it is really what I've been up to for this month of January after the wildness of the holidays. In January, not only do I set intentions for the year, I also rein myself back into alignment with what serves me best. I rein in my eating habits which includes coming back to a healthy diet and also just coming back to being Mindful when I'm eating. I rein in my exercise (or start back up again). I've also been reining in my television and internet consumption. Pruning back on facebook when I can manage it.
This year I'm letting the pruning effect spill over into other areas that can use some attention. My closet, for instance. My closets have housed clothes that are way out of style and/or do not fit for WAY too many YEARS. In the last week I went to a function and found I had what my husband jokingly refers to as a "closet full of nothing to wear!" (he says it as a joke because he thinks I have things that are perfectly fine, and I do have a few) the reality was I really did have a closet FULL of nothing that fit, or made me feel like me. And if part of my intention this year is to be authentic me, then I'd better dress as authentic me.
That experience was just the prompt I needed to do some major pruning in the closet. Anything that I wore to my former job (that I left almost 4 years ago) GONE, anything that doesn't fit anymore GONE... etc. The clothes accompanied me to a ladies weekend with my family and were redistributed among cousins, mother, sister, aunt, and even grandmother... and the rest to goodwill to help someone's life hopefully. And now that it's done, whew great relief and space in my closet.
Of course, in reality, it isn't just my closet that I am pruning. The closet is just an outward expression of the inward clearing I've been doing for a while now. I am at a point of truly wanting to move out of sentimentality into reality. To prune away the dead and dying growths, the false starts and misdirected attentions and move forward into new growth without the weight of all that extra STUFF holding me back. Finally, I am coming to a point where I can start to make movements in that direction, and it feels very good. My asana practice is the catalyst for all of this, paired with a deepening meditation practice. I just can't hold on to what holds me back any more. Instead I prune through my poses, I prune through my meditation and hold the line that I come back to the mat and cushion again and again. Slowly but surely I grow, change, evolve as the practice works on me inwardly. In this next cycle it's time to see what happens as the old patterns are set free. Maybe, with time, I'll become a fine wine myself.
I leave you with this thought I stumbled upon while looking for a vine picture. And a question What pruning are you doing in your life right now?
"We continue to prune all day, and have finished more than sixty percent since the start of the year. Pruning is a dialogue with both the past and the future. By cutting away and reforming each vine, we’re working with those who did the work before. By thinking of the work to be done in the future, we’re making decisions to facilitate the work of growing future vintage’s wines." Joe Dobbes