Lessons from the Botanical World

daffodilsI remember attending a workshop at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center a few years back. It’s one of Austin’s natural treasures, and one of my favorite places to go to clear and focus my mind. (And to decide which tree to plant next …)

I’ve had an especially busy few months, and I’m scrambling to catch up, but I didn’t think twice about committing to this full-day workshop. I purposefully took the time-out, because these overwhelming moments are exactly when you can’t afford not to reflect and rejuvenate.

I’ve been gardening for more than a decade now, and I’ve learned many life lessons from my happy hours in the dirt. In fact, I first turned to the garden as a way to regain some perspective and balance at a time of massive personal upheaval.

At the Wildflower Center I made a few new connections between the botanical world and our human one. These connections might help you, too, as you consider where you are and where you want to go.

First, sustainability begins with your first choice: where do you plant yourself? Every plant — and every person — has a natural habitat in which the conditions are optimal for a full life cycle. Have you chosen the right habitat for yourself?

Second, “distance is relative when you’re hungry.” That’s the reply I received from horticulturalist when I asked him about the teeny-tiny ants that were scurrying around a plant bed at the very top of a tall tower. When you’re hungry, you’re capable of going the distance to satisfy that hunger. Your desire is your driving force. Do you know what you’re really hungry for?

Third, plants have clever strategies for keeping healthy and happy. On one plant we felt the furry leaves that conserve its water. On another we observed how the leaves closed up when we touched it — a protection again predators. What are your strategies for maintaining your energy, for example, or for warding off distractions and interruptions?

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