Last weekend we didn’t really need to be anywhere, so we decided to catch up with the gardening. While the two little ones harvested strawberries and raspberries, waved bamboo canes around and dug holes in the soil I weeded, pruned and then thinned the carrots. This task – the thinning of the carrots — is a job I’ve done nearly every year for the past 10 years.

It’s one of those jobs that I don’t particularly like (and actually, I like most gardening jobs – especially weeding!) but as I was doing it I experienced a moment of clarity as I was struck by the thought that this task is a useful analogy for one of the major things going on in my life at the moment.

In case you’re not aware of what happens in the thinning of the carrots, it’s this: a row of small carrots (growing very densely) is thinned out by plucking out the majority of the carrots, leaving only a handful of carrots in the row. These carrots now have enough space around them to grow and thrive. I’m left with a mighty handful of small carrots which will die a death (of sorts) on the compost heap.

Carrot thinnings, photo by Marija Smits
Carrot thinnings, photo by Marija Smits

I have a lot going on in my life at the moment, and I’m aware that I’m becoming overwhelmed by the sheer number of things I have to (or want to) do. It’s bittersweet – this realization that you can’t do everything, or see everything, or be involved in everything that you want to be. If you try to do everything it’s inevitable that many of the tasks you try to do won’t be done to the high standard you wanted them done. Or some tasks won’t get done at all. If all the carrots were left to grow I’d probably harvest a goodly amount of small carrots – not enough to make a substantial meal from, but good enough for a nibble. However, in all honesty, I want the big carrots (and no matter what funny shape they are!). I want to make a proper meal out of them.

However, I do find it difficult to pull out all those little carrots – they’re so full of life and potential – and yet if I don’t I’m not being fair on the others since they don’t get a chance to really thrive and grow and become something BIG. And then I worry; but how do I know that I’m getting this right? How do I know that I’ve plucked out the ones that should be plucked out? Maybe they’re the ones that would go on to do really well?

There’s no scientific experiment that can come to my aid. I simply trust to my intuition and go with what feels right. My eyes focus on one particular carrot and I just kinda know that it’s going to do well, and so I keep it in. Of course, when it comes to deciding on what to keep in or out of my life I spend much more time reflecting on the decisions I have to make, but ultimately, I still rely on my intuition. It’s hard to decide what you’re not going to do anymore. It’s hard to pluck those things out of your life. But ultimately, making those difficult choices brings clarity, and light, and space, and air to breathe and thrive and grow.


Thanks again to Amanda at WriteAlm for the writing prompts – they are much appreciated 🙂


7 thoughts on “Clarity”

    1. Thank you Jane for your kind comment; I’m glad my words resonated with you 🙂 I find it an almost daily struggle to ensure my life is full of only the things I actually want in my life, but I *think* I’m getting there (albeit slowly!).

  1. Oh, I love this! Great analogy, beautifully expressed.
    Every year I have at least one spectacular thinning fail where I lose a whole crop of something because I couldn’t force myself to remove any of them. I’ve never managed to make myself square up to the question of how much I do this in real life rather than just gardening…

    1. Thank you Helen for your kind words 🙂

      Interesting to know that you lost a whole crop of something because you didn’t do ‘the thinning’. As for not managing to make yourself square up to the question of how this relates to your life… well, that’s something for you to ponder on!

  2. i feel like i’m constantly clearing things out, new ideas move in. it’s such a juggling act and one that requires constant fine tuning, might just be easier to engineer more hours in my day 😉

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