My first job was in a neighborhood beauty slash barber shop where the owner was an eccentric. He would mesmerize clients with his burning hair ritual. After taking a match or lighter and slowly running it over some poor clients’ afro and watching the blaze rise, he would pat it out. Sometimes, to really put a scare in the people he’d put his arms to the side as if he was going to allow the fire to rage. Then, just when you thought all was lost, like in a suspense movie, he’d pat that afro down and snuff the fire out.
Newer clients who had never been exposed to this side show, would ask questions in utter amazement. The simple term or explanation for this dramatic display is Velaterapia. It means to remove dead ends by burning. The facts are that after you attempt to remove dead ends by burning, they still require clipping to remove the burnt residue. ---Anyhow---
The metaphor behind the entire process is the necessity to remove dead stuff. If you want your hair to be healthy and shiny, you need to remove the dead ends. If you want your hands and feet to be smooth, you must remove the dead skin. I’m not a gardener, but I’ve learned over the years that when I want my Crepe Myrtle Tree to bloom fully, I have to cut off the limbs until it’s completely bare. I found the same to be true with my Philodendrons. They will continue to grow longer and longer, but If I want it to grow full, I’ve got to pinch off areas that weren’t just dead but some that were alive but not necessary helping my plant to thrive.
As we stand at the end of a very trying year and at the brink of a new beginning, I’d like to offer this time as an opportunity to reflect and remove. There is no doubt in my mind that many of us are dragging along dead or unnecessary people, thoughts, things, and behaviors that are paralyzing us, dismantling our faith, and causing us to re-access our purpose.
First, let’s take time to reflect over the financial, emotional, and spiritual, aspects of our lives. Are we dragging around jobs that can’t support us or don’t respect our talent? Are we hanging on to relationships that are leaving us emotionally and financially spent? Are we holding on to unresolved emotions due to some past traumatic event? Has the pandemic caused you to doubt your own belief system and expose the fact that it was basically built on clichés? Whatever the case may be, this is an excellent opportunity to reflect and remove in preparation to flourish.
After a time of reflection, it’s time to start the removal process. When you think about my Crepe Myrtle Tree, there are specific times of the year when it’s ideal to remove those limbs. This is the ideal season to remove the dead things and even some things that remain alive but are not thriving right now. It’s time to prepare to flourish.
This has been a year of exposure. We’ve learned the true nature and motivation behind some of our closet and dearest friends. We’ve seen and felt the imbalance in our relationships with passionate lovers, and we’ve experienced the pain of hypocrisy throughout our Christian nation. This is the time to reflect and remove. Remove those dead ends, that dead skin, and those unwanted limbs. Surround yourself with people that don’t necessarily make you feel comfortable but that inspire and motivate you to grow and advance. By pruning and removing the dead weights of those people, thoughts, and behaviors you once believed worked in your best interest, but through the reflection process learned that they are stifling your growth, you prepare yourself to flourish in the days to come. By cutting off thoughts and behaviors that have paralyzed you in the past and kept you cycling through a wave of emotions, you’re preparing yourself for forward movement.
This isn’t the easiest task you’ll ever embark upon in this lifetime. To do it alone may be too painful to imagine but know that there are those of us out here that would love the opportunity to assist you in this and any other endeavor you may encounter. As a licensed clinician, I make a daily commitment to help clients advance and flourish throughout their lives. So, please don’t delay, let’s start the process. It’s the season for pruning.