Does Your Life Need Dead-Heading?

We need deep cleansing of our thoughts on and often so that we can recharge our energy for our own health, happiness and purpose― Kishore Bansal

My mother always had at least one pot of petunias every summer I can remember growing up. This I imagine, isn’t all that unusual, as probably every mom has some petunias in summer. What was peculiar about my mom faithfully purchasing and planting petunias each year is that she and the little plants consistently maintained a love-hate relationship that lasted all summer long.

With the predictability of the sunrise and sunset you could count on her stooping over the pot each time she passed to do what she called, “dead-heading.” This is the process of picking off the spent flowers that still cling to the plant. She would often say to me, “If you will get the spent flowers off of the plant, then you will get more blooms, sooner.”

While she was faithful to perform this task, with an almost religious fervor, there were times when her “dead-heading” practice was not sufficient. At times like these, when the plant had been overcome with dead flowers, and had few fresh ones, she would simply get out the clippers and give the whole plant what she called, “a haircut.” The poor thing would look butchered for a few days, but sure enough, just as she promised, it came back bushier and better than ever; full of blooms.

I have not lived with my mother for over 25 years. I have never purchased petunias until this year. I’ve probably been subconsciously avoiding them all this time for fear of the time “dead-heading” would consume. The funny thing is, I now find myself unable to walk past this pot without performing the traditional task. Yes, mother, I am apparently deeply scarred.

Being me, I find it impossible not to think there is some deep lesson in this ritualistic, borderline insane practice handed down from one generation to the next. It hit me today. When you ask? Well, of course while “dead-heading” my pot.

Here it is: so many of us go through life carrying around a lot of dead weight. Maybe it’s some terrible trauma or betrayal deep in our past. Maybe it’s a bad relationship or a stressful job. Rather, it could be that we are forever stuck thinking about the “glory days” gone by.

Either way the past is weighting us down and our ability to create new splendor in life is inhibited. It can be hard to realize when it’s time for the dead flowers to be plucked but it must be done before new ones can be created and thrive. For some of us, we have neglected this task for so long that our lives need, “a haircut” before they can bush and bloom again. If only I could be so diligent about “dead-heading” my life as I am this pot of flowers. Who knew a pot of petunias could teach me so much? Go out and get yourself some. Not only are they beautiful, but they will remind you to “dead-head” your life regularly.

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  • Janice Hensley

    I too bought my first pot of “petunia like” flowers that I dead head everyday before going in the house after work. I too think of mother every time! So yes, I am also scarred by her “words of wisdom” haha! We do have different memories of petunias though. I remember many more than just a single pot on the farm….. 😉

  • Patti

    Ah, I do so agree. Moving on is what we need to do, and Moms know that sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures whether it’s with petunias or ponytails. Have you noticed that all of young Hollywood have gone for the short bob? Probably not so much because it’s hip as because they needed it to strengthen their over-processed hair. And, it’ll grow out healthier and stronger – until the next time.