The sun is shining, the trees and shrubs are beginning to bud, the Magnolia Tulip and Flower Plum trees are in bloom – signs that spring is on its way. But uh-oh! You might notice that some of your potted plants are dropping leaves even though they were properly watered and have had proper sun time. If you pick up the plant and turn it over, you might notice some tiny white roots are poking though the drainage holes in a frantic effort to escape. This is a sure sign the plant is pot bound! Did you know that plants need to be repotted at least every two years? Even if the roots don’t need more room, the old soil becomes depleted of nutrients and has little to offer. Or, if regularly fertilized, the soil can build up salts that are harmful. The plant is living in a wasteland! It needs to be repotted.
We humans also become pot-bound. Periodically we reach that interior desert-like condition when we need repotting in order to grow. Maybe you already recognize the signs. We tend to wilt even before the day for repotting arrives. It begins when we can’t seem to dream, or to visualize our desires or goals. When life becomes so barren or intense we almost forget how to laugh. When we look ahead to the next day, or week or month, and realize there is very little to look forward to. When this happens week after week, then this is when we are pot-bound. We need to loosen the soil around the “shoulds” in our life and find something that “sparks our imagination, quickens our pulse, and brings a smile or a giddy lilt to our conversations.”
Repotting doesn’t necessarily mean that drastic steps have to be taken like moving, leaving a marriage or quitting a job. It may mean you just need something new, something to look forward to. Maybe it’s time to finally take those singing or art lessons. Or plan that trip to Egypt, or Turkey or the South of France. Or maybe it’s time to dye your hair red, or take up painting, or belly dancing, or try out for a play. It’s never too late to go back to college, to join a new club, or become involved in civic activities. You may just need some fresh new soil and some breathing room!
When repotting a plant, the new pot should be just slightly larger than the old. It’s important to avoid overwhelming the plant, just like it’s important to avoid overwhelming ourselves, or others. It is essential to support and encourage, but not to overpower with expectations or to-do lists that are too daunting.
Once a new pot is selected, it’s time to add rich new soil, along with water, and then place the plant in a shady spot for a few days to give it a chance to adjust to its new environment. Just as with a plant, it’s important to nurture ourselves and protect our new passions while we are adjusting to new activities and behavioral changes. When we are gentle with ourselves, then we can more successfully transplant into a larger pot that feels more expansive and nurturing for the new person that is blossoming.
A personal confession is that I have been feeling pot-bound. So I’m taking an art class and am planning a trip to Egypt in September. I needed something new and different in my life to recharge and feel re-energized. If I can do it, then so can you.
How will you re-energize your life? I would love to know. Please post your answers on my Facebook page so we all can be inspired by your ideas.
If you feel pot-bound and need help in finding a nurturing environment in which to blossom, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a 30-minute complementary consultation to see if transformational coaching can help you live a more expansive life.
Joy Reichard is a transformational coach, hypnotherapist and spiritual counselor. She helps her clients awaken their passion, own their true value and live more joyful and fulfilling lives.
Adapted from “Repotting: Giving Roots and Yourself Room to Grow”, Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, by Sarah Ban Breathnach.