I’ve always loved having houseplants. Since I spend more time indoors than outdoors (something I’m working to shift as much as I can), bringing some of the outdoors in is a reasonable compromise.
Unfortunately, my love of green things hasn’t translated into a natural green thumb. In the past few years, I’ve had to return several plants from the pot back to the earth because they didn’t last in my house. I’ve had precious few plants last for years, more because they are naturally resilient, not necessarily because I am the best plant caregiver.
A few months ago, the kids and I went away for 2 weeks. In those 2 weeks, my plants were largely neglected, save for a random watering somewhere in the middle (thanks, mom!). When I returned, I immediately saw the fallout. Shriveled plants, dried leaves, and cracked soil. Most responded well to thorough water therapy and bounced back within 24hrs. 2 of my plants, however, seemed beyond repair.
I pulled all of the dried stems and leaves out, leaving nothing but small lumps with clusters of roots buried beneath the parched dirt. I was pretty sure that these 2 plants were goners, but just in case, I watered both plants and put them closer to the window with access to the sun.
For a few days, nothing appeared to be happening. I had just about given up when I saw a few small sprouts in one of the pots. The next day a few more. The day following, the new growth was even taller. Now, nearly a month later, the plant has completely rebounded and is healthier than ever.
I never cease to be amazed at nature’s capacity for resilience.
Give her a little love and mama earth will respond.
Most of us are like this, too.
When I neglect my most basic needs (healthy eating, sleep, daily movement, meditation, personal practices), I suffer. I shrivel up and dry out. I feel uprooted and weak. I feel disconnected and unhealthy. I retreat into habits that don’t support my thriving self and instead support my continued descent into depletion.
When I attend to my most basic needs, even if it’s been awhile, my body returns to a more stable, strong, and vibrant state of health.
Like my plant, this vibrancy might not show up immediately but it does return. I do bounce back.
We all do.
Resilience is encoded into our cells, just like the plants.
It doesn’t take much, really.
Lately I’ve been taking cat naps. Milly hasn’t been sleeping well – she’s been going to bed at the same time I do. She’s suddenly scared of monsters and has trouble falling asleep on her own.
Archer, too, has been in a rocky sleep pattern. I usually get to bed early but my sleep is sill frequently interrupted.
Even though I’ve been eating super healthy foods and adding in more self-care, I could feel myself on the edge of getting sick.
So I’ve been napping for 10-20 minutes in the middle of the day.
That small bit of nourishment has helped me stay grounded and calm in the middle of a super stressful time, while also keeping illness at bay.
Just like my plants, my health depends on whether or not I am paying attention to my most basic needs.
Just like plants, tend to your roots first. Do small things that make you feel stable and supported. These are the actions, no matter how small or basic, which help draw your energetic roots down into the earth of your every day life.
Even when it seems like there is no hope, you add a little water to fill in the cracks so your energy feels more supple instead of stagnant. You can even nudge yourself more in the direction of the sun to encourage yourself to shift in a healthier direction.
If you keep doing this every day, little by little, you will feel the warmth of your own sunshine radiating through your body. You will feel less depleted and more nourished.
I will thrive or suffer based on how I treat myself.
So will you.
Take a note from nature. She is wise and has been around longer. Her most essential quality is to heal. So is yours.
What small act of self-care can you do every day to bolster your own healing and renewal?
It doesn’t take much.
Choose your own small act of care and begin your process of regrowth today.