lessons learned: root bound
lessons learned: root bound

lessons learned: root bound

When the world seems to bind us in ways that restrict, impede or obstruct our freedom and growth, I return to these words from six years ago. -cameron

“You are root bound,” she said.  “Your prayer might be, ‘God, give me a bigger pot.'”

That’s what my counselor said to me Tuesday, and it has resonated with my spirit ever since.  Given how I love to blog about creation and spirituality, I have fallen in love with this metaphor and its connection to my life.  I had contacted her several weeks ago because I was feeling a sense of something I couldn’t quite name.  For someone who loves language, I could not label this mixed bag of feelings, and I wanted help.

“You are root bound,” she said.  “Your prayer might be, ‘God, give me a bigger pot.'”

She was right.  The Creator has gifted each of us with the inherent desire to grow, but sometimes, circumstances limit that potential.  When we are trapped and have little room to flourish, we become like the plant in a pot that is too small–frustrated, weary, and spiritually or emotionally malnourished.

If you’ve never seen a potted plant that is root bound, it looks like a web of roots has enveloped the dirt around it.  The roots continue growing but are so confined to the smallness of the container, that they weave around each other creating a dense mass that can be hard to separate.  Two critical issues then impact the plant:

  • it doesn’t get enough nutrition–there’s not enough soil or it has already lived off of what was available
  • it will eventually stop reaching out to look for more dirt and simply wind its way back on itself

As a result, the plant that is seemingly healthy at the surface will slowly wither, perhaps give up,  and possibly die.

“You are root bound,” she said.  “Your prayer might be, ‘God, give me a bigger pot.'”

So how do we take care of ourselves when life’s situations create a “root bound effect?”  I’ve been meditating on that as well as some of the suggestions my counselor shared:

  • Pray for a bigger pot.
  • Grow in ways you can.
  • Nurture the life and body you do have.
  • Breathe.
  • Pursue balance – with darkness there is also light. Seek those sources that nurture you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Surrender the struggle that traps you.  Perhaps it’s time to “just be” until more favorable growing conditions come along.
  • Hope, have faith.  Even the most root bound plant will thrive when offered the space to grow.
  • And, remember, this is a season – not the whole journey.


  1. Pingback: From another blog…interesting reflection | random thoughts from a non-warped mind

  2. now that’s an interesting lesson and I’ve posted this to my own blog…particularly that I’ve been going through 2020 with “what should I do” … one of the things that I have done is add in a daily walk – not for training or even for extreme exercise, although I have gotten fitter – but originally to clear my jumbled head space. Now I enjoy I seeing the gardens, the oddball things I come across – and when I come back home, I feel empowered…Catherine in New Zealand.

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