I am repotted. Correction: unpotted. Routed out of my old pot and planted in the ground this time. In many ways I’ve missed my old pot up until now; it was roomy and deep, and my roots took on the shape of the container. I could feel the perimeters of my pot, and if it was a bit boring, it was also comfortable.
Whenever I reached the capacity of an old pot, I was eventually inspired—no—driven into a new and bigger one. The driven feeling always fell somewhere on the spectrum between exciting and utterly terrifying, depending on the size of the new pot. There was always new growth as my nervous system rewired to new soil, my roots stretching out and new leaves unfurling.
Each time, the bigger pot has been a new job, new city, another degree program, certification, skill, relationship etc. The new pot was always a new thing or activity or skill.
And then, unexpectedly, no more pots. Or rather, all the new pots were simply different colors of the same size pot I already occupied.
There was, eventually, nothing new I actually wanted to DO anymore.
Not teach another class, learn a new skill or even go bigger with what I was already doing. Everything, whether I’d done it or not myself, appeared the same: just another pot in a succession of all the other pots of the same size. But instead of the grounded joy of I’m here, I felt stuck, bored, confused—like I’d simply be repeating my pattern of jumping pots, no matter what I chose from then on.
And then, unwittingly, it happened: the unpotting.
In a series of benign-appearing events, everything I knew was uprooted, one at a time. Everything I’d counted on to feel secure fell away. As I was lifted out of my final pot and planted in the ground, the earth felt unfamiliar and cold. Where were the smooth sides of my pot?
First went my hard-won, dependable way of eating.
Then the cornerstone (I thought) of my life: fantastic sleep.
Next went familiar activities and people
Then my exercise routine, my routine in general and finally, my drive to have routine, to search, to organize or to “get back” to any of it.
I felt deeply unfamiliar to my old self.
This was a falling apart of the deepest kind.
In this new soil, unbounded by any pot, my leaves dropped, one by one. Instead of new growth on old stalks, I endured massive die-off of entire limbs. Finally all that remained from the large, well-established, mature plant was only the tiniest new shoot—a leafless sprout barely rising above the dirt.
I could continue to look back, stunned, and wonder and lament what had happened, waiting for the regrowth of the old plant, or I could recognize this for what it was: a new start.
In my dreams, I began leaving backpacks and suitcases on planes and trains and wondered, in those dreams, at the possibility of not caring. What if I simply moved on? It was possible.
Just as we rounded the corner into actual Spring this year, those dreams were the first inklings of this unexpected new Spring in my life.
Looking back became impossible. “What do you want? Applause for how you USED to be?” my personal trainer mocked, as my story of how I used to work out died on my lips as it was uttered.
To not strain toward the next incarnation, to not go, driven in a direction—not backwards, not forwards, sideways, up or down—to simply be and unfold into the moment as naturally and beautifully as any plant does each day—here is the rest of my life: to grow, unfettered by gardener, fence or pot, wild.
Image credit: outtherecolorado.com