Being the Shape We Are

I love amaryllises. Every year I order a new one. I watch as those from previous years bloom and rebloom. This year when my new one arrived, I got distracted and didn’t plant it right away. When I finally remembered and rescued it from the paper bag it had been in, it had started to grow but clearly had suffered from my neglect.

amaryllis1


The stem and bud were almost white. And as you can see the stem was bent almost over on itself. It had done everything it could to realize itself within the confines of the small paper bag. 

I felt terrible about what had happened and decided to see if it could recover. So I potted it in some nice fresh soil. And put it on my plant shelf where it would be blessed by the morning sun, hoping that the sun and the plant’s tendency to bend toward it would help it recover at least a bit.

In the days since I potted it, the sun has done its work, or as much as it could. The stem and bud became green and the stem straightened some. The bud began to swell. And then today —

amaryllis2



Patients typically seek a “cure” for their wounds, their anxiety, their obsessions and addictions. Jung denies that “perfection” – which may be thought of as a synonym for “cure” – is possible. My own experience, on both sides of the couch, suggests that even “healing” may be a problematic word. In some sense, a person is her wounds. A sapling, planted beside a supportive stake that the gardener neglects to remove, will grow around the stake. The stake’s presence will injure the growing tree; the tree will adapt by distorting its “natural” shape to accommodate the stake. But the mature tree will be the shape it has taken; it cannot be “cured” of the injury, the injury is an intrinsic aspect of its nature. — Barbara Stevens Sullivan


© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.