Feeling unsettled by change? 4 things plants can teach you.

Does your Big Vision for your work in the world need to change? Although most humans resist change, it’s a natural event. Rarely does a living thing stay the same, and that’s what your Big Vision is— an entity that has its own life cycle, just like a plant. As a newbie gardener, I’ve become increasingly aware of the lessons plants can teach us about how to be around change.

1. Release what you no longer need.

“Do you know anything about geraniums?” I asked my friend who is a more experienced gardener than me. “Mine have a lot of dead flowers on them. Thoughts?”

“Yes!” she wrote back. “Always get rid of dead flowers on any plant. The dead ones pull energy from the rest so it can’t thrive. That’s where the term deadhead comes from. Once the flower dies, the plant gets the message that its job is done. Always be deadheading so that the plant keeps producing.”

Low and behold, once I chopped off all the dead flowers, new ones began to bud and bloom.

2. Make space for growth.

For the first time this year, I bought a cherry tomato plant to grow outside. Unfortunately, the pot I planted it in was way smaller than what it needed, and the sticks I got to tie the vines to it were too short. I went back to the garden store to get help.

“Sounds like your plant is root-bound,” the store’s “tomato expert” told me. There isn’t enough room for it to grow. Tomato plants have deep roots, so they need tall pots.” He sold me a bigger container and sticks that were triple the length of what I’d been using.

A week or so after I re-potted the plant, the green tomatoes started to become red and ready to eat!

3. Be patient.

squash blossom

My zucchini and pumpkin seeds were much slower to flourish than the tomatoes, and frankly, weren’t looking so good. Their growth was so stunted that at one point I considered not watering them. Water is pretty precious here in California, so it seemed like a waste to keep watering something that wasn’t growing.

And then I went out of town for five days. While I was away, my neighbor, who didn’t share my disappointment in the zucchini and pumpkins’ progress, watered them every day. When I returned, one of the plants had a beautiful blossom on it. Whether or not the zucchini or pumpkin plants will develop into vegetables remains to be seen, but if my neighbor hadn’t kept watering them, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to flower.

4. Have faith in your resilience.

succulent plant

I have a lovely little glass globe filled with succulents hanging in the window above our kitchen sink. They’re doing so well that their little plant faces are starting to smoosh up against the glass. I’d never taken care of succulents before, and was worried that pulling them out of their snug and cozy home would hurt them. I asked the friend who gave the globe to me how to transplant them.

“They are very forgiving,” she said. “You can pull them out piece by piece and put them in a new pot. They will root themselves.”

I haven’t found a new home to transplant them to yet, but I have faith now that they will survive and thrive after their move ( :

Do you feel a big change coming?

Whether you need to let something go, make space for rapid expansion, foster patience for slow progress, or tap into your inner resilience, ask for guidance from other Big Vision “gardeners.” If I hadn’t gotten help from my friends, neighbor, and the “tomato expert” at the garden store, my plants wouldn’t be doing as well today.

To get started, here are some reflection questions to journal about, or to talk through with a friend.

  • What parts of my Big Vision do I need to let go of so something new can grow?
  • How can I create more space in my life so that my Big Vision can grow?
  • Where do I feel impatience around my Big Vision? What is a more realistic timeline?
  • How can I foster faith in my resilience rather than fear change?

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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