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8 Things I Learned From the Plant I Did Not Buy

Updated on March 26, 2021
Nalini Marquez profile image

Nalini is on the journey to a healthier and happier life, and writes articles with elements of the mind-body-heart-spirit connection.


About a month ago I made the decision to incorporate plants into my indoor life. Nature makes me happy and gives me peace, and since my present commitments and life do not let me go into nature as much as I would like, I thought that I would bring nature to me. Nature is therapy and renewal which is what I needed. So, it was time for plants!

I went to the store to purchase my first official therapy plant and once in the plant section, there was a hanging plant that immediately caught my eye. It was green, had pretty leaves and volume, and was a healthy plant. It called to me. I did not want to buy the first plant that caught my eye without looking at the other ones, so I left the hanging plant hanging and looked at the other plants. None of the other plants spoke to me and so I was going to go back to the first plant I saw when I came across this other hanging plant that was hanging on the side. I felt such a strong pull to this plant and immediately knew that this plant wanted to come home with me. It was a pretty plant and I liked its appearance more than the first plant that caught my eye but there was a problem—the second hanging plant was not as healthy as the first one. While it had areas that were doing ok, it had several areas that were really struggling scattered throughout the plant. I wanted this plant more than the first one and the plant called to me more than the first plant, but the fact that it was already struggling and that it might not survive if I took it home made me hesitant to buy the plant—even if I felt a stronger pull to that plant than to the healthier one.

I considered buying both of them and that felt like the perfect solution as they were both calling to me relatively strongly, with one calling to me more strongly than the other, but it was too much money for me at the time to spend on plants—especially given the fact that one of them might not survive.

I asked the struggling plant if it would grow for me if I bought it. It seemed to tell me yes. But I had my doubts. What could I offer to the plant that it was not already getting in the store that would make it survive and thrive for me? All I was going to do was add water and give it a home. Not exactly the most attentive care for a struggling plant.

I placed them side by side trying to decide. When they were side by side I felt that I should buy them both. When I separated them and looked at them as individual plants, I felt a strong pull to each of them but the strongest pull to the beautiful but struggling and not completely healthy plant. I felt that if I could only buy one, I should have bought the second one but that was the one that might not survive. That was the one that if it did not make it, I would have wasted my money, when money was already a limited resource to be spending on plants.

I did not decide yet. I put them both in my shopping cart and finished getting what I needed to get. I thought that perhaps if I could get enough of a discount on the struggling plant, then I could justify getting it. That way, if it did in fact die, I would have lowered my losses.

I went to customer service and they were able to offer me a 10% discount. That discount amounted to $1.24. It did not seem like enough of a discount for the risk I was taking and yet I wanted the plant so badly and it wanted to come home with me.

I was sad but I left the plant at the customer service counter.

The healthy plant was the one I purchased and was the plant that was welcomed into my home.

As I look to the healthy plant in my home, I am content that the plant I purchased is doing so well. It does not require much and it thrives. I water it once a week, or sometimes once in over a week and it thrives. It is a confident plant and it does not really need me. It has fulfilled my expectations in surviving and thriving while requiring only a home and some water from me. It contributes to the overall plant therapy that plants provide and I did not waste my money.

But sometimes I look at the plant and wish that I had brought both plants home or if I could not bring both home, I wish I had brought the other plant instead. I think that they were meant to come home with me together. Who knows? Perhaps the confidence and health of the other plant would have passed on to the struggling plant. But the struggling plant wanted to come home with me so much more than the healthy plant.

The confident, voluminous, healthy plant that I brought home would have survived and thrived anywhere. While it wanted to come home with me and while it met my expectations, it would have done just fine anywhere and with anyone; whereas the other plant was unlikely to have the same fate anywhere or with anyone.

I should have brought home the beautiful but struggling plant but I didn’t. And there is nothing I can do about it now.

Except for sharing the lesson.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

— Audrey Hepburn

8 Things I Learned From the Plant I Did Not Buy

1. Listen and pay close attention to the things that call to you. They are calling to you for a reason.

2. Do not be afraid to answer the call, to consider answering the call, and/or to take the risks involved in answering the call if it is related to something that holds more meaning from you and/or if it is something that you have, or can have a role in.

3. Learn how to listen to and trust your intuition.

4. Learn the difference between people, places, things, ideas, quests, etc. that genuinely call to you versus things that "call" to you because you want them or because you have a personal interest in them.

5. Recognize that sometimes people, things, ideas, quests, etc. call to us and that we may invest of ourselves and/or of our resources in these, and that these may or may not survive, thrive, bear fruit, etc.even if we invest in them but we still may be meant to do it for some reason or another or that doing it may be involved in some other aspect of our path or personal development.

6. Recognize the worth and the importance of people, places, things, ideas, quests, etc. that are "beautiful but struggling," that are "[insert positive human quality/adjective/mission/change etc.] but struggling," and that/or that "might not make it," and consider being part of the solution and not part of the problem in ways that are healthy and positive.

7. Recognize that meeting our expectations is not always enough and that having expectations met that require minimal effort/sacrifice/investment/time/resources from ourselves may leave us with the feeling that something is "missing" or not enough. Sometimes things that may be good for us or others may require more from ourselves than we are initially willing to give.

8. Recognize the way in which we are connected to each other and to the universe and recognize the lessons we can learn in the little things. Plants are like people. And "to plant a garden, is to believe in tomorrow."

I think about this because it relates to how we are with each other. We “lower our losses” everyday and especially with each other. We do not like to lose our resources, especially when they are limited. We do not like to give more of ourselves than we have to. We do not like to give of ourselves and invest of ourselves especially when what we are putting of ourselves-our hopes, energies, commitments, resources, etc.-- may not bear fruit and especially when it may not survive.

We may choose the path in our lives or the people in our lives that require the least sacrifice and the least effort, and that have the greatest probability of making it. And in this process, we miss out on completely worthwhile people, relationships, experiences, etc. that are “beautiful but struggling,” or that require more from us but then could potentially give more back to us and to others.

Most of us on this planet are “[insert positive human quality/adjective] but struggling,” and most of us run the risk of “not making it” at some point or in some way in this lifetime and in this world until someone(s) takes a risk and makes an investment in us. Humans are like plants. They require things (water, sun, nutrients, an environment in which they can grow, etc.). They can grow successfully or unsuccessfully; they can live or they can die; they can struggle, survive, and thrive. They can surprise you. They can make the world better.

I did not invest in the plant that needed me but it did teach me a lesson and I do hope that when we go out in the world, we not only invest in those among us who are healthy, visibly well, and that require minimal risk, but that we also invest in those among us who call to us and who need us in order to grow and to contribute to the world as well. No person is an island and we create the change we want to see.

And no, I am not crazy. Plants have energy like everything else. And energy communicates. We should listen!


© 2014 Nalini Marquez


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