It's easy to take the landscape of the world around us for granted day-to-day. When we find a moment to be truly captivated by nature, we can admire the colorful palette of the leaves, the pattern of the tree bark, and other wonders of plant life. As May and Mental Health Awareness Month close, we want to invite our community to reflect on the lessons of love + acceptance through plants.
Plants naturally evolve over time - be it through cosmetic changes, adaptations, or daily behaviors. With more than 300,000 known species, they are symbols and interpretations of both individuality and encouragement. Plants simply know what to do when the time comes. As people, we might cringe at the first sign of change or crave its arrival. Likewise, each of us struggles differently when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.
At Grounded, we see nature as a passageway to a healthy mental and emotional life. Through studying the ancient behaviors and timeless symbolism of plants, we're given lessons on health and self-love from nature itself.
GROUNDING LESSONS FROM NATURE
SUNFLOWERS FOLLOW THE SUN
For a good portion of a sunflower's life cycle, they face toward and follow the sun - nature's very own life source. As the sun makes its daily appearance in the east and heads west, these joyful flowers will follow suit. Eventually, they will stay facing east as a biological adaptation to attract pollinators and reproduce.
These beauties are a reminder to persist and thrive along with the powerful force of each day's welcome. Humans can adopt this perspective by surrendering to the ebb-and-flow of life. Living with depression, anxiety, and other disorders promises days of ease and peace, just like it promises days of pain and fatigue. Like sunflowers, we honor change and open ourselves up to the full experience of life.
Prayer Plants like Marantas are another family of plants that respond to light. Opening up in the daylight, they maximize the amount of light and moisture captured for strength + growth. Likewise, they fold themselves shut during darkness or stress to conserve energy and minimize exposure.
THE SENSITIVE PLANT FIERCELY PROTECTS ITSELF
Mimosa pudica, also known as the sensitive plant, offers plant enthusiasts unique curiosities. Its name comes from the leaves' ability to suddenly withdraw and droop after being touched or stimulated by wind and vibration. Thought of as a defense mechanism, this delicate plant has learned to protect itself so well that it is considered a widespread weed in many tropical habitats, proving how well it has survived and grown.
Often stigmatized as a weakness or unfavorable characteristic, this plant shows us that there is actually strength and wisdom in sensitivity. Everyone's response to internal and external experiences varies based on their own programming. The longevity of this tropical powerhouse is a reminder that sensitivity is both a resource and a strength, an armor of sorts. Embrace your own with respect and compassion.
THE BROMELIAD SPENDS ITS WHOLE LIFE PREPARING TO BLOOM
Bromeliads come in a range of colorful varieties that share the same life pattern. They spend years building the energy and strength to produce a single flower head (called a bract). The flower lives for a few months and requires so much energy from the plant that once the flower dies, the plant slowly begins to decay.
However, nature always has a plan in place. During its period of decline, the plant still knows how to survive. It grows offshoots, AKA baby plants, that start the life cycle anew once more. Even more fascinating, these resourceful species survives on very little. In its nature climate, it attaches itself to trees and other plants where it feeds off of the humidity in the air and nutrients on the host plant.
Known as a symbol of renewal and protection, there are a number of lessons and questions to take from the marvel of the Bromeliad. What does a life full lived look like, for you? Do you need life’s permission or a sign to renew yourself? Are you ready to bloom?
Fueled by Nature's quiet messages, here are a few affirmations to carry with you as you take care of yourself.
- I commit to myself with unapologetic acceptance
- I speak and think kindly about myself
- Living an authentic life improves my happiness
- In exchange for letting go, I can receive something new and good for me
- I seek out what I need to live a fulfilled life