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How my plants are saving me during my lockdown

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Chiriqui, Panama, December 2019

Being on your own, and managing your, and only your, company for an extended period of time does wired things to you. I, too, am becoming a victim of turning into COVID-19 lockdown oddities…

I am not bored. In fact, the situation that we found ourselves in, keeps me very busy professionally. After all, my job is all about emergencies, and frankly, one could not think of the more challenging and interesting crisis environment that we are experiencing now. Essentially, the whole world appears to be on fire, in ways that some of us struggle comprehending. The crisis that we are experiencing seems to have reached entire societies, countries, continents, but also individuals that we know and love. It affects our health, sanitation, social structures… This emergency is melting out economies down, create unrest, violence… and makes many of us anxious in one or another way. A nearly perfect storm, I would say!

Yet the situation, despite being rather stressful, is also widely calm. Yes, I get this… it is an artificial calmness, but this is really how it feels to me today, and although, I largely hate being placed under this house arrest, for being stripped from many of my liberties, which I take for granted; I also admit, I enjoy some extra time to be left with your own thoughts.

Being able to do it, in the situation where the world you know, seems to be disappearing around you, makes a rather unique experience in more than one way, I think. In my case, one of the unexpected manifestation of this uniqueness is that I commenced conversing with my own plants!

Also, I have quickly come to learn that my conversations (I underline: conversations, not monologues) with the plants are both useful, and therapeutic. Plans prove to be patient listeners, and, I found, are able to teach you how to relax and take things easy on yourself.

My ferns and palm trees, for example, are capable of being able to hold discussions on a variety of topics. Although, through my arrogance, it is always me choosing the issues to be contemplated, they do not seem to mind! I noticed that it is particularly my ferns that display the most patience. We talk about everything really… politics, family, economy, climate change, happiness, disappointments, love, sex, desires, poverty, inequality, people whom I miss.You name it! Life experiences seem to provide you endless thoughts.

While frequently, we end up laughing at ourselves; having a great time remembering pleasant situations, kind people, crazy passions or amazing adventures; sometimes, I am unfair to my plants and dump on them my fears and worries, too. Really, I can be quite rough, and challenge my listeners with questions that do not have easy answers to: why wars, why inequality, why fear, why they don't like me the way I want them to, why do we need to confront finity of people and situations that we wish never ceased existing, why being weak, why not being able to stand up for things that I believe in, why not being respectful enough, why not doing enough, why being being lazy… These considerations do make me upset, and at times, leave me with feelings of helplessness… Yet my ferns and palms are very patient, and at the end always have all the winning arguments! I am suspecting that their strategy is to make me tired and exhausted. They just let me speak and vent… and when I reach the point when I can't anymore, they just slowly start asking me to look at them, and admire their beauty. They tell me to look at their growing stems and leaves, and appreciate the mystery of life that is able to regenerate. So they teach me that it is okay not to have a grip on everything, just the same way they do not have a control over their dying leaves. But, they also tell me that things do get better again, they same way, when things stabilise as new branches grow, leaves get greener and flowers blossom.

They keep on teaching me that it is great to have fun, but it is okay to be scared and feel helpless, too. The lesson that I like the most though, is that no matter what… whether you have got control over things, or not… eventually, things stabilise and find a right place in your existence, so that they are beneficial to you. Life goes on regardless… and will give us plenty of opportunities to find peace within us.

Ah… one more thing! My new handsome and tall yuccas tells me that they appreciate my friendship. They like when I water them and look after them. They tell me that when I care for them, they thrive and it is easier for them solve their own vulnerabilities. Yes… you have gotten it right… Stop reading it, get up and show someone that you care for them and love them! Who knows, they may grant you some amazing conversations too!