Sacrificing What We Are, For What We Could Become

June 2002

This week, finally, Vince the yardman came to launch efforts to tame our unruly and long-neglected yard. All morning, I had vaguely wondered what all the noise was during my coaching calls. Turned out it was Vince’s chain saw (yes, it had come to that; not a job for a mere weed wacker or hedging shears). By the time I got outside, mid-morning, the front yard had been transformed. The lowest branches of the “tulip tree” were gone; the “umbrella tree” had received a serious haircut; the front walk was no longer obstructed by encroaching “evergreen bushes” (I put the tree names in quotes as that is how we have referred to them for years; horticulture is not a Seal forte). The grass was cut, hedges were trimmed, and the flower beds were neatly raked. I felt disoriented in my own front yard.

As I reflected on my newly groomed yard, I realized how accustomed to the wild look I had become. Getting rid of (literally) dead wood opened up the yard to sunlight and a cool breeze. You can now see the house from the street, and I even have a new perspective on my neighbors across the street. I’m excited about planting the window boxes, and coaxing the English ivy back to full vigor.

Charles Du Bos, French critic, wrote “The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” How tightly we hold on to what we are! I know that I spend a lot of energy trying to maintain things, and myself, as they are. With each box I pack for my upcoming move, I realize that I am turning to a new chapter in my life, which involves letting go of some old things, old habits, old ways of thinking. It is a physical reminder of the need to let go, to turn my focus and energy on what I can become. It is trimming and pruning, so that new growth can occur. It is not without pain at times. It can be disorienting and unsettling. But it is exciting.

What areas of your life need to be trimmed and pruned? Are you prepared to sacrifice what you are, for what (and who) you could become? How will you achieve that growth? I hope this month that you will consider some of these questions; I’m happy to explore them with you at any time.

Warm regards,
Sharon Keys Seal

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