Monday, May 10, 2010

Plant Me Where I can Bloom!

I once had a boss who told me to "bloom where I was planted" -- quite frankly, he was an ass - a control freak who was more than a little screwed in the head.  But I was young and naive and had no words to tell him all of that, and to top things off I was driven to please others, so I sucked it up and tried to do my best and assumed that the reason why I was miserably unhappy in my job was actually my own fault for not figuring out how to "bloom where I was planted."

Several months ago I wandered into a local florist shop and fell madly and instantly in love ..... with the orchid display!  I have never paid that much attention to orchids before but I was overwhelmed by the variety of colours and delicate petals that formed each orchid face!  Needless to say I couldn't resist purchasing one, but did so with some degree of trepidation as they just appear to be so delicate and high-maintenance, and I've never been one for high-maintenance relationships.

However, having been assured that this orchid would be very easy to take care of, I took it home and found what I thought would be the perfect spot - the bay window in our living room, which faces south but has dappled sunshine rather than direct light.  I was so pleased as the weeks went by and I didn't kill it!  In fact, it seemed to be quite happy in its new location, producing a lovely display of 5 blossoms that lasted and lasted.  Beautiful!

Recently, however, I cleaned out our small glassed-in verandah, ousted the dogs who have been taking over it, and turned it into a small sunroom.  Even though I have been enjoying the beautiful orchid when it greets me every morning in our living room, I thought perhaps I should move it to the sunroom so that all my plants would be in one location, all the better for me to remember to water them. 

Within a few days I could not believe the change that had taken place in my orchid!   Where 5 beautiful blooms had been, suddenly there were 8, then 10, then 13, and today I counted 16 blooms with two more buds about to pop open!   It's like the orchid is suddenly on steroids!

All of this made me think back to my boss's instructions to "bloom where I was planted" -- clearly the orchid is much happier in the new environment and able to bloom in a much more glorious manner because all of its needs are now being met.  Whereas it existed in one location, it is thriving in another!  And I think the same is true of people too.  I have worked for a variety of bosses over the years, in many different environments, and that one place was one of the very few jobs where I really struggled to bloom!  It wasn't for lack of trying, or for lack of dedication, or for lack of desire on my part.  I just couldn't bloom there, no matter what I did.  I survived, I had friends (wonderful friends!) as co-workers, and there were moments of great joy, but for the most part, I felt like I was taking two steps backward for every one where I gained ground.  It just wasn't working for me.  

I had a mini-flashback today to my first year Child and Youth Studies class and remembered Haslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  There are some things we need in order to succeed.  With plants, I guess it comes down to the right combination of sunshine, water, nutrients, and humidity in the air.  With people clearly it is a little more complicated, but still I think love, acceptance, and kindness go a long way to helping others around us to bloom.  This is a challenge to myself to work on providing that kind of safe "growing" environment to the people who are in my own sphere of influence.  If I can find a sense of reward and satisfaction in seeing my plant blossom so beautifully, imagine the joy in helping another soul to achieve their own heights of success!

And if you ever find yourself in a situation where you just can't bloom, no matter how hard you try, don't assume that you are the problem.  Maybe you need to be transplanted to a new environment where the right combination of sun, water and nutrients will turn you into a blossoming wonder!


  1. great insight, Ro. wow, what a gorgeous orchid! One day, I would like to join you on your sunporch for coffee. Invite me soon, kay? :)

  2. I like your plant-people analogy...Personally, I've managed to kill a cactus so no plants bloom in my house. Interesting you should mention Maslow though because according to his theory the self-actualised human being is one that has solved all his needs that indeed he can "bloom" regardless of environment but these people (and plants) are very very rare if not just a myth.

  3. Amy, definitely we will have coffee on my sunporch soon! Sounds lovely. :)

    Purple Cow, what I find interesting is that Maslow's pyramid suggests that in order for self-actualization to be possible, a person must first have their physiological, safety, love/belonging, and esteem needs met.

    I agree - it would be a very rare, rare person who can bloom regardless of what environment they are in ... I think even the hardiest of survivors are only able to "bloom" once they are able to remove themselves from an untenable situation.

    P.S. I have a very common philodendron that is just hanging on for dear life no matter what I do to it! Everyone I know tells me they are the easiest things in the world to grow, but somehow I just can't get it right with that plant. So don't feel too badly about the cactus. :)

  4. That is a beautiful orchid!!! And it made for a lovely story. Thanks, too for stopping by my blog for a visit and thanks for your "Mini" advice!! :) I appreciate it much. You have a lovely blog, which I will look forward to visiting often!

  5. WOW! Lucky you having the right place for an orchid!!

    i think i still may be looking for that place to bloom...

  6. Yes Grace, I thought of you when I wrote this and hope you are not beating yourself up if the environment you are in is not what you need to bloom. I wish for you the perfect "orchid environment" so you can bloom to your fullest potential! xo



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