• Sindile Mkhabela

The beginner’s guide to plant-fueled mindfulness

Having plants in and around our home is one of the many ways we can connect with nature and bring fresh energy into our space.

Over the past year, I have built up a collection of houseplants that bring a new kind of joy to my life. It has also helped me discover new mindful activities in my daily life. Spending time with my plants, I am reminded that the world is a place of unrelenting growth. No matter the circumstance, almost always you can find a new seedling growing.

Here are a few ways in which houseplants and gardening can help you develop a mindfulness practice.

1. Meditate with your plants:

Sit in your garden or by your plants in a comfortable upright position with your feet flat on the ground, or your legs crossed, resting your hands on your thighs or on a table. Allow your body to become still, becoming aware of the physical sensations.

Bring your attention to your breath, just following the natural rising and falling sensation. Then focus your gaze on the plants around you. Acknowledge their colors, shapes, and patterns, and the way the leaves connect to the stem, and the different bends and contours in the shape of each leaf.

You can do this for as long as you please, taking into account the beauty of growth and the importance of care. If you want to, you can reflect on how you can introduce such care and celebration of growth in your own life going forwards.

2. Reflect on how plants live

I mean, what is more, “in-the-moment” than a houseplant? Houseplants react calmly and beautifully to their immediate surroundings - the sunlight, air, water, temperature - which they use to their advantage, to thrive and grow.

In the words of Mindfulness expert Joan D. Stamm: “We simultaneously contemplate how flowers mirror our own unique and life-affirming essence and teach us the great lessons of patience, humility, and the beauty inherent in impermanence: cycles of beginning, maturing, ending, transforming.”

Set aside some time to appreciate your plants. Look at their growth habit and form of your plant. some plants grow up, others cascade down. Appreciate the texture, color, and shape of the leaves. Breathe in the scent of the soil.

3. Celebrate the new growth

What is more positive than seeing the physical manifestation of growth? New leaves sprout, flower shoots emerge, the plant gets taller and wider.

When you are mindful of your plant, you’ll discover little changes that let you know that things are going well, your plant is thriving! What an amazing feeling it is to nurture something and have it respond.

You can look for signs of new growth in your plants once a week; observe how your plant develops new leaves. Each plant has its own artful way of producing new growth. Similarly, as we change and become we also grow.

4. Plant with intention

When you’re busy in the garden, planting new plants, tending to old ones, or repotting small ones to bigger pots; be fully present in the act. Notice how the soil feels as you dig and take the seeds or plant in your hands.

State your intentions - for the plant and itself: May you grow, may you be healthy, and sprout into life.

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