What we can learn from plants

Broome, WA

“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.”  Doug Larson

Plants are incredible living things…they’ve been around for millions of years and adapted in miraculous ways. Plant burrs provided the inspiration for velcro, some seeds can “fly,” and a couple can even catch bugs. Different coloured, shaped, and scented flowers allow for fertilization by attracting different creatures, including humans with their beauty. They can even fix relationship problems, improve the health of the sick, or just make someone’s day!

Painful, yet beautiful.

Yesterday, I was spending some time with the hanging baskets outside my current home. And by spending time I don’t mean talking to them, singing to them, stroking them lovingly, or even simply watering them. I was shaking them roughly and ripping them apart. I swear they were all cheering and calling out “me next, me next!” while I did it, too. Really. I could hear them.

When part of a plant withers, a flower finishes blooming, or a leaf simply dies, that part of the plant will eventually fall off, be broken off by a passing animal or the wind, or, if lucky like mine, have a caring owner rip it off. Yep, RIP. Gone, forever. As smart – yes, I say smart – as plants are at surviving in an often harsh world, they aren’t perfect. Until the dead part of the plant has been removed, the energy and food and water that the living leaves, stems, and roots have been working hard to gather still gets sent down to the dead parts. That finished flower, withered stem, or dead leaf will NOT be revived no matter HOW much energy the plant provides it. A sad, sad, little growth may appear PAST the dead part, but it sure isn’t as healthy or happy or successful as the rest of the plant. But, for the most part, all that happens is that there is less energy to go to the living parts to produce more leaves, new flowers, and extend fresh stems. I had a plant for YEARS that appeared to be very healthy – new leaves, stems, kept getting bigger and bigger. I’d occassionally break off a long gangly stem to  help it fill in, but nothing special. After it suffered a bout of neglect I had to cut nearly all of it off. As it grew back, a marvelous event occured – tiny flowers appeared everywhere! I had never seen that happen before! This wonderfully green plant suddenly had dainty white flowers that it had never had the push, fresh start, or energy to produce before the shock of being chopped off!

We can learn a lot from these magical beings we call plants and flowers that add colour, oxygen, and happiness to our lives – we need to “deadhead” ourselves regularly to grow new blooms and extend our branches into new territory. If there is a “dead” relationship, job, pair of pants, hair colour, friend, storage room, or whatEVER in your life…rip it off! If it really is dead, no matter how much personal love, energy, time you force upon it it will not bloom again. Let it go and put that energy and love back into yourself, into those that love and energize you back, the pants that fit and help you feel good, the cleaning of that storage room, the search for a new job. Generally, the more ‘dead’ you liberate from a plant, the more life you will witness very shortly after. A baby green leaf uncurling or a tight bud tip is like a great big THANK YOU from your plant to you.

Thank you!

Don’t you deserve to thank yourself for allowing the energy in your life to flow to the living, thriving, and wonderful parts of YOUR growth?

Thank you!

The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.”  Leo F. Buscaglia

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