Life has a certain rhythm that we who live in concrete jungles have lost touch with. We’re in so much of a hurry that we need to slow down. One of the easiest ways to restore our sense of time is to literally watch a plant grow.
How to watch a plant grow
1. Adopt a plant
Find a plant somewhere along your route to work, or outside a neighbour’s house. When I say adopt I don’t mean take it home and make it yours. Just adopt it in your heart as something important to you for the next few months. You are going to watch this baby everyday and learn a lot from it. You are perfectly welcome to buy a plant and grow it yourself, of course.
2. Look at your plant for a minute everyday
People may think you look weird if you stop in the middle of a busy pathway just looking at a little plant. So try to find somewhere with more privacy. Look hard enough to notice the shape of the leaves, the number of flowers if any, if new shoots are visible. Note any changes from day to day. When you can observe the changes in a plant, you’ll find observing human behaviour a piece of cake.
3. Make mental notes
Those who have observed the bamboo plant know that you can spend years watering it. Nothing happens for 5 to 6 years, then suddenly it shoots up 6 feet high. Some people are like that too. They bloom late in life, or take a long time to become proficient at a skill. But once they do, they soar to the top of their class.
You and I are most likely not going to spend years on this exercise. I like to observe the money plant because this is fast-growing and the changes are easy to see from day to day. It also takes very little care. I can forget to water this for a week and it will continue growing happily. I’ve learnt from this plant to be low maintenance myself, and make no demands on others.
4. Start to compare
Once you’ve learnt something about your plant, look out for people you meet who are like that plant. This sounds a little corny, but it’s actually quite useful. You’ll realise that some people are like the bamboo, others like the money plant. And some like the cactus – prickly and often unpleasant to be near but who are hardy survivors and good to have around in a crisis.
Some people will be like the orchid – beautiful in bloom but requiring lots of fertilizer and sunlight, who can only function well when they get lots of praise and attention. Still others will be like ivy – slow to grow and without flowers so they aren’t very noticeable, but they are strong and provide shade and shelter when needed.
Watch a plant grow to grow yourself
Did you think this post about plants? It’s about you, of course. Watching a plant grow is a way to hone your skill in observation, so that you can apply it first on yourself, then on others. We are so busy that we forget to stop and observe how we grow best:
- What environment works for you
- How often you need positive input
- How long you take to bloom in any given career
- Whether you can grow on your own or need support
So let’s get back to nature. And don’t just stop to smell the flowers. Stop long enough to watch how they grow, and you’ll find out things about life and about yourself that you never knew.