What an Orchid Can Teach Us About Blooming

September 29, 2017

I’ve been thinking about growing conditions lately.

Orchids started this train of thought. Mine have always seemed to do fine on our covered lanai without much fuss. However, even though all the plants look healthy, only one or two of them ever actually bloomed. I’d love to have more flowers, so I decided to research each orchid variety I have to see what constituted that plant’s ideal growing conditions. Based on what I learned, I moved several to different positions, providing both more sun and more water than they’d been getting.

Lo and behold, two that hadn’t bloomed since I bought them produced flowers and two more sent up flower spikes that should bloom in the next couple of months.


A simple tweak in growing conditions nudged them from just getting by to thriving.

Shortly thereafter I stumbled on this passage:

“When a tree is tender and young, first making its roots, a gardener knows to fence it from deer, fertilize it with nutrients, pay loving attention as it gets started. The gardener doesn’t grow the tree; she provides the conditions in which it can thrive. We need to do the same with our souls, hearts, spirits, bodies. We need to provide the conditions in which we can thrive, and those conditions involve other people. We need to put ourselves in circumstances in which we can be seen, heard, and loved for who we are and want to become.

“We are so used to battering ourselves around. To toughing it out. To taking care of everyone else and not looking after ourselves. We are used to throwing the seeds of our lives in soil and not paying them one more minute of attention. In fact, we do the opposite. We stamp on our hearts. We attack and punish ourselves. We don’t trust our fundamental desire to move toward the light….” (Geneen Roth in When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair.)

Roth is specifically writing about how we treat ourselves in relation to food and dieting, but her words apply to everything we do (or don’t do) to nurture ourselves.

Most of us are too used to toughing it out, and to seeing our needs as weaknesses. What would happen if instead of trying to get by on a minimum of sleep, nutrition, downtime, and enjoyment, we tried giving ourselves optimal amounts of the things we need to feel great? Things like healthful, delicious food; sleep; movement that feels good rather than punishing; time to do something just for fun? Are we too busy for that? Does that sound like weakness instead of strength?

How much more beautiful and profuse might our own blooming be if we gave ourselves optimal growing conditions? As I learned from moving orchids around, it might not take much to help us thrive.

Taking steps to nurture ourselves doesn’t mean becoming hothouse flowers that wither in every cold draft or scorching heat wave. When we learn our own ideal growing conditions and make efforts to provide them, we grow stronger and healthier. A strong plant can more easily withstand hardships when they come.

Do you want to do more than survive? To bloom abundantly rather than just put out a few leaves? What are your ideal growing conditions? In the comments below, share some things you can do to bloom more often!

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  1. Dear Kathy what a great post. Such wonderful thoughts about growing and blooming abundantly. I am ready for sure. Bet you are too. So well written friend. Hugs!