Last summer, after a year of renovating her new home, my friend Carmen decided it was time to warm her place up with friends.

At the housewarming party, Carmen proudly took us through and around the house, and as the tour finished, our group ended up in the garden.

Carmen showed us where she’d spent hours ripping up the prolific weeds and ivy, in some places leaving the weeds she liked the look of.

The more knowledgable gardeners in the group remarked on this plant and that. Knowing next to nothing about gardening myself, I was interested in Jill’s comment that sedum “roots itself.”

Drop it anywhere, she explained, and it will burrow its way into the soil and not just survive, but thrive.

“There’s a metaphor there somewhere,” I said.

The party soon ended, but the image of the sedum had rooted itself (pun intended!) in my mind.

As I waited for the bus to take me back to the city, I thought about the sedum.

And I thought about my life.

I thought about the times I’d started over in a new city, in some instances knowing no one, at times doing a job that exhausted me to my core–and yet created a new life for myself.

And I thought about my clients.

I thought about a client who moved from sublet to sublet in the months after her sudden breakup, yet found the strength to find a new home for herself and go after the career of her dreams.

I thought of another woman whose parent’s death took away her greatest champion, but who still courageously took the steps to find work she’s passionate about.

I thought of yet another client, who left all of her friends and family and ended her relationship to start a new job in a new country.

By choice or against our wishes, all of us felt uprooted–and with determination, all of us “rooted ourselves” and learned to thrive in new circumstances.

When I got home I googled sedum. I found the following in an article online:

There are few plants more forgiving of sun and bad soil than sedum plants. Growing sedum is easy, so easy in fact that even the most novice gardener can excel at it. They will thrive in conditions that many other plants thrive in, but will do just as well in less hospitable areas.

What can we learn from the sedum (an unlikely role model, to be sure!)?

So many of us feel uprooted at various points in our lives.

Some of us are struggling to deal with some pretty inhospitable conditions.

But we have everything we need to thrive. Always. 

No matter how hurt you have been, no matter how many times you have started over, no matter how disconnected or uprooted you feel, you are perfect, just as you are, and you have everything you need to root yourself and find your way to your new normal.

Have you gotten too much sun, or not enough water? You, like the sedum, can and will thrive again.

You will plant new roots and find a new home—whether that’s a new relationship, career, city, hobby, or something else.

When I work with clients in career change or at “ground zero” after a breakup, again and again I see them start out feeling uprooted and drifting, and then do the work to reboot, re-root, and thrive.

What’s your “sedum” story? Share in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Sedum”

  1. In the types of situation you describe, I’ve often made things worse for myself by asking over and over (in my own head): WHY am I so miserable? What is WRONG with me? The answer to both questions, of course, being: Some times in life are very difficult; there’s no way to avoid misery and self-questioning entirely, and it can be a positive step to ask questions–but not THESE questions, which perpetuate self-blame and keep us firmly stuck. It’s especially thorny trying to extricate ourselves from this morass because we often aren’t even aware that we’re repeating, repeating, repeating the same self-destructive questions: the tapes are just looping in our head, almost at an unconscious level. This post–and the image of the lowly sedum–points the way to recognizing what the right questions are. Thanks.

    1. I love the metaphor of the looping tapes, Julesbeth! Yes, the language we use with ourselves (and our awareness of it) is so powerful, and the right questions can make all the difference.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. I echo Miriam: What a fabulous metaphor! We all have the resilience to re-root; we just fear that we don’t.

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