Keen gardeners move their plants all the time. It may be because they have outgrown their space or don’t grow well in their usual spot. Perhaps they just don’t look quite right with their neighbours and you spot a far better place somewhere else.

In any case, plants have to be uprooted every so often. This way, they can take root on richer ground, bloom more, and bear greater fruit.

Leaving home and participating in this fall’s YSEALI Professional Fellows Program is, in many ways, a major uprooting. It didn’t come to me at first until the plane from Manila finally lifted off the ground. From above, you watch 3D houses turning to 2D boxes, 2D boxes turning to much smaller boxes, and everything about home becoming only dots before fading into the clouds.

It happens to everyone of us–movements and transitions, letting go. We let go of places, things, and even relationships with people. We let go of the usual and the known and expose our roots into the unknown. This is painful. And scary.

It is also necessary.

Like plants, we too must uproot ourselves every so often. This is especially when so much of what roots us in our personal and social lives, in our communities and cultures, gives us room to grow but also traps us in expectations, and boxes, and false ideas that limit who we are.

Or maybe we have entrenched our roots too deep with our rigid idealogies and frameworks, that we may have closed ourselves to the diversity and multitude that this world and its people has to offer.

When we have grown too comfortable and confident, the universe conspires to yank us out of comfort zone, into the daunting wilderness, to something wonderful and new.

I write this last paragraph finally on American soil. I feel its great energy and smell so much excitement!

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