How Absorbing Our Environment Will Help Us Grow
How can looking at the life of a plant help us grow? Shannon shares how it reminds us where to anchor ourselves during the turbulence of illness.
When visiting a nursery in the Spring, I noticed a type of plant I had never worked with before–Tillandsia, more commonly known as ‘Air Plant’. They were very unusual looking to my eye and I loved their colorful blooms. Some were bright pink and purple, others vivid orange and yellow, and some were in shades of blue. I couldn’t resist buying a couple to experiment with in my garden.
In the following months I focused entirely on my regular crop of plants: dahlias, tomatoes, squash, carnivorous plants, coleus, etc. and left the little air plants waiting for my attention. At last, this past weekend, I decided it was time to create a tableau to feature their unique beauty. I didn’t know much about air plants, so I read up on them and it made me think about. . . us!
Air plants are members of the Bromeliad family. Unlike other plants, they do not feed themselves through their roots while sitting in soil. Their roots are merely for anchoring them to a surface, such as a tree or rock. They absorb all their water and nutrients through specialized leaves.
Here is my new tableau: two Air Plants, the tallest with purple blooms, settled in an Abalone shell with a couple of spiral shells as a background accent.
As I worked on my project, I began to compare how air plants live to what would be the optimum environment for us living with chronic pain and illness.
How can looking at the life of this plant, help us grow?
We don’t have physical roots, but instead we can choose where to anchor ourselves: into a certain community, with people whom we feel connected to, in a living space which provides for our specific comfort.
We also need an environment that feeds us, not physically, but emotionally and spiritually to help us grow. The key is to surround ourselves with things that support and nurture us.
This could means ridding our lives of negative people who bring us down, doubt us, or drain away our limited energy. It means setting up for success instead of failure, by pacing and not over-extending. Most of all it means embracing who we are, accepting our chronic pain/illness, and acknowledging our limitations–but never allowing them to block us from experiencing life’s joy.
We also need to ensure we set up an atmosphere of motivation which encourages us to continue to grow. We should search for ideas and items which make us aspire to be more than we are. Instead of sitting idly, we should reach beyond ourselves and seek out things to inspire us creatively, and push us to greater achievements than we might ever have dared to dream.
Absorb your environment, like the air plant. Drink it in. Revel in the treasures that surround you, especially those who love and support you through the difficult times, like a rock which the air plant clings to for survival. Breathe in through every pore that which feeds your soul and helps you to grow, develop, and blossom!
Shannon has a painful genetic connective tissue disorder believed to be Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type. Her struggle with pain led her to start a blog called “Nip Pain in the Bud & Let Your Soul Blossom.” Using her love of gardening as a focus, she writes about being educated on your pain condition, becoming a smart patient, and finding creative ways to experience life to your fullest ability. On Tuesdays she posts articles about pain issues and conditions in the news.
She loves her husband, her cats, and her garden–especially her dahlias! She says, “Finding ways to nurture my plants feeds my soul and gives me hope. I want help others avoid the same traps I fell into and help them find the same joy.”
What do you think helps us grow? When you look at things around you in nature, do you ever think of applying them to your life?
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