Black fingers. That was the nickname I gave myself, mainly because even the hardiest plants perished under my care.
Hence, I was sceptical when my friend gave me a small pot of succulents for Christmas.
“I am a plant murderer, mind you,” I had said, unappreciatively.
But she insisted that I gave the succulents a try, claiming that it would change my view of plants.
Admittedly, she was right.
My experience with succulents had changed my life.
Reminder to Pause
Having a succulent plant in my work environment prompted me to pause. Whenever I notice the succulent, I took a breather and admire its exquisite beauty. This put me a calm frame of mind to proceed in my work.
According to psychologists, having a plant in your personal space brings a lot of health benefits.
Lower blood pressure (systolic)
Improve reaction times
Improve attendance (at work and school)
Raise productivity (at work)
Improve perceptions of the space
Lower levels of anxiety during recovery from surgery
Raise job satisfaction
Keeping the benefits of plants at the back of my mind, I felt a new-found sense of tranquility and calmness in my work/personal space.
Having the succulent in my surrounding also gave me perspective as I tackled different challenges in my profession. Caring for the succulent, I learnt to slow down and practise exercising tiny acts of compassion as I dusted the succulent gently and dipped its roots in water. Doing this procedure daily, I gained a gradual sense of tenderness towards myself and towards all living beings.
Being a regular mindfulness meditator, I realised that caring for houseplants could also be an act of mindfulness. Daily, I practised mindfulness as I observed and noticed the shapes, shades, minute changes in the succulent. I noticed when my thoughts wandered and gently lead it back to the plant. Having the succulent plant had given me an extra opportunity to practise mindfulness in my daily life.
Last week, I met K, my friend again.
“So, how was your experience with the succulents? Dead yet?” K asked.
“Oh my goodness. It survived because it was so low-maintenance and easy to care for. Totally suitable for a lazy-bug like me,” I had quipped sheepishly.
Thinking back, I was thankful for the unique experience I had with succulents.