dahlia in my garden: Rio Fuego in Coleus leaves

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Absorb Your Environment

When visiting a nursery in the Spring, I noticed a type of plant I had never worked with before – Tillandsia, more commonly known as ‘Air Plant’. They were very unusual looking to my eye and I loved their colorful blooms. Some were bright pink and purple, others vivid orange and yellow, and some were in shades of blue. I couldn’t resist buying a couple to experiment with in my garden.

In the following months I focused entirely on my regular crop of plants: dahlias, tomatoes, squash, carnivorous plants, coleus, etc. and left the little air plants waiting for my attention. At last, this past weekend, I decided it was time to create a tableau to feature their unique beauty. I didn’t know much about air plants, so I read up on them and it made me think about … us!

Air plants are members of the Bromeliad family. Unlike other plants, they do not feed themselves through their roots while sitting in soil. Their roots are merely for anchoring them to a surface, such as a tree or rock. They absorb all their water and nutrients through specialized leaves.


Here is my new tableau: two Air Plants, the tallest with purple blooms,
settled in an Abalone shell with a couple of spiral shells as a background accent.

As I worked on my project, I began to compare how air plants live to what would be the optimum environment for us living with chronic pain/illness. We don’t have physical roots but instead we can choose where to anchor ourselves: into a certain community, with people whom we feel connected to, in a living space which provides for our specific comfort.

We also need an environment that feeds us, not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. The key is to surround ourselves with things that support and nurture us. This could means ridding our lives of negative people who bring us down, doubt us, or drain away our limited energy. It means setting up for success instead of failure, by pacing and not over-extending. Most of all it means embracing who we are, accepting our chronic pain/illness, and acknowledging our limitations - but never allowing them to block us from experiencing life’s joy.

We also need to ensure we set up an atmosphere of motivation which encourages us to continue to grow. We should search for ideas and items which make us aspire to be more than we are. Instead of sitting idly, we should reach beyond ourselves and seek out things to inspire us creatively, and push us to greater achievements than we might ever have dared to dream.

Absorb your environment, like the air plant. Drink it in. Revel in the treasures that surround you, especially those who love and support you through the difficult times, like a rock which the air plant clings to for survival. Breathe in through every pore that which feeds your soul and helps you to grow, develop, and blossom!

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