Try as I might, some of my plants don’t thrive in my care.
I recently went to a garden store to buy some new organic potting soil, hopeful that this would help a few fledgling plants perk up.
Dave, the cashier, asked me about my purchase. I told him that I have a few houseplants not doing so well and I wanted to repot them and freshen up their soil. Really, I was trying to spark a will to thrive with the most expensive mix I could find. Only the best for my dying plants.
Rather than leaving it at that, Dave asked me how often I talk to my plants. Feeling a little embarrassed by his question but realizing he was serious, I said, “I’ve heard about naming plants,” and then confessed “but I always forget what I name them. I haven’t heard about talking to my plants. We are a talkative household. I mean, I talk A LOT. Does that count?”
“Your plants are living beings that want to thrive. You wouldn’t put one of your children in the corner and ignore them. Would you?”
I resisted the urge to make a joke about parenting teenagers, noticing again that Dave was serious.
As other people stepped out of the checkout line to one that did not include a woo-woo discussion about plants and parenting, Dave went on to tell me there is research on if plants “prefer” (grow after listening to) male voices, female voices or music. He conceded that there are different opinions on the topic, but if I was going to go to the trouble of repotting and buying new soil, he thinks I should start intentionally talking to my plants, too. They are listening.
So, basically, my new friend Dave reminded me of one of my most essential truths: listening leads to growth.
Because listening DOES lead to growth. I see it every day in my coaching practice.
Whether it is the act of being deeply listened to, as we do in a coaching conversation, or the act of pausing, turning inward and listening to ourselves, listening leads to growth. It isn’t the only ingredient, but it is one of the essential ones.
Slowing down and listening to myself is one of my essential practices as I close out one year and look towards the next. I do this practice every year to help me welcome the new year.
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My newly-named and freshly-repotted plants, Figgy, Josephine and Dave are getting more of my intentional love. Let’s hope they are listening. They already seem to be perking up!
Listening and sharing with love,
Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force.
The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward.
When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.Karl A. Meddiger, psychiatrist