What do you need to get rid of?


Take a look at this plant…it’s a Christmas Cactus. I got it several years ago and it had big, beautiful, red blooms. Then, as cacti do, it went dormant. Now, it looks like this photo. 

I’ve had this plant, nurtured this plant, and taken care of it for FIVE years. After the first winter, the cactus never bloomed until about 2 years ago – wow! A bright, beautiful, red bloom. Then, disappointment and dormancy for another 2 years. I suffer from a mix of excitement and disappointment for this little plant. Intermittent reinforcement, the type that encourages us to be hopeful, is the most powerful type. Think lottery tickets or pulling on the lever of a machine in a casino – every once and a while, it pays out and keeps us coming back for more! This cactus, despite my loving care, water, sunlight, and encouragement, has only bloomed twice in five years. 

Yesterday, it went into the yard debris bin. Some of you might think I’m heartless. Some may say I’m practical. Some may want to send me links to “how to care for a Christmas Cactus,” but please refrain. Let me tell you why. 

Some things need to be let go. When I looked at this sad little plant, desperate for its blooms as I decorated for the holidays, I thought to myself, “Now’s your time to shine little guy…a few blooms for Christmas would be great!” But it’s not going to happen. Or maybe it will. But, not with me. I’ve given enough of myself to this cactus. 

What are you ready to let go of as we end this year? Without guilt. Without fear of judgment. Only because it no longer nurtures and fulfills your soul. Maybe it’s a plant. Maybe it’s a piece of wobbly furniture or a blanket you’ve sewn together many times. Maybe it’s a friendship. Or a partner. Or a family tradition. Or a project. Or job. How often have you experienced joy with this person or thing? 

Believe me, in the season of BELIEVING, I’m not saying give up on a whim. I’m asking you to ask yourself, is this object, or person, or place bringing me the joy I deserve? Am I being fulfilled, not all of the time, but often? Do I look forward to it? To them? Does it bring balance and integration into my life? Or, do I need to consider goodbye?

I’m not replacing the cactus. Don’t offer me another plant or poinsettia. Don’t suggest a substitute or try to reassure me of my decision. Don’t shame me for giving up. I just need to grieve what I thought might be with this little plant.  

As we end this year, please know that changes and goodbyes are hard. I’m thinking of you and holding you in my heart as we navigate the big and small decisions of the holidays. 

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