It’s been almost two years since I discovered my love for orchids. Ever since, through trial and error, I have learned that orchids can be simple, yet fickle, even sensitive indoor plants to grow. For in everything in life we can glean similar lessons from nature, if only we truly pay attention to the subtle way it speaks to us.
In June, I wrote about my initial experience with repotting orchids. I learned that when you don’t repot an orchid in a proper pot, the chances of the flower surviving long-term is slim. And just like in real life, if we don’t decide to spread our wings we become stunted. We can’t grow by confining our roots. Back in June, two out of my three orchids died mainly because I didn’t repot them in time. I replaced them and assumed I knew the “orchid trick” to keep them living a long time. Upon getting two more orchids to replace the deceased ones I immediately learned my lesson and bought orchid pots.
But I didn’t buy orchid soil because I thought I had a bag at home. Upon returning home, I found that I had actually run out. But, at the time the new orchids were so healthy, new and lively. They didn’t need to be repotted right away. In fact, it’s best to first wait until all of the flowers fall off. So, while shopping one day I ran across some really high quality indoor plant soil. I mean, the soil was top of the line; I think it was even more expensive than orchid soil. It wasn’t specifically for orchids, but it was one of the best soils around. I shrugged and bought it and, as soon as I got the chance, I transferred the new orchids into fresh plush soil using orchid pots.
Much to my chagrin, these orchids later, too, did die.
You see, orchid pots have holes in order for the water to drain after each weekly watering. So, I figured as long as you use an orchid pot all the water will drain from the holes. I also assumed that it doesn’t necessarily matter what type of soil you use as long as you’ve got the right pot. The kind of pot that lets orchids spread their roots, drain the water so that doesn’t cause molding and otherwise drown an orchid. But use the wrong soil and the roots don’t take hold and the flower wilts from lack of food.
Seeking self-improvement is like transplanting yourself from a small pot into a nice large one. You can spread your roots and seemingly start growing in fresh new soil. But, what if the pot is nice and big enough for you to grow in but the soil, no matter how expensive, isn’t right for you? The soil provides valuable nutrition and allows plants to flourish. For some fickle indoor plants such as orchids, the wrong soil no matter how nutritious will suffocate the roots. This definitely reflects the unaddressed issues that begin at your foundation, and they can have profound effects on your personal or professional life. If you don’t address faulty communication issues, for example, then all of your interactions with others can be tainted and you’ll likely struggle with clarity. It might be hard for others to understand your needs, while you might equally find it challenging to communicate your expectations.
This is especially true in professional environments. If at the foundation there is lack of structure, unclear objectives and poor management then the company will likely have difficulty keeping employee morale up. There might even be a high turn over rate as a result of mismanagement, unrealistic expectations and toxic work politics. All such things start at the foundation of a company and at the foundation of a home or any personal relationship where human contact is necessary.
The Bottom Line:
Life leaves us clues, if we choose to pay attention to them. I found that my oldest living orchid that is now 1.5 years old, it survived not only because of the proper pot but the right soil. You might get by with one and not the other, but it’s likely to not end in your favor if you’re not in the right “pot” that’s large enough for personal and professional growth. Even then, if you are planted in the right “pot” but the foundation is rocky or not the appropriate blend, then your roots will likely rot and nearly every area of your life will suffer as a result. Which goes back to my previous article, that life really is all about balance. You can’t grow healthy, long-living orchids without the proper pot and the proper soil. It takes both. Even then, you have to know when to water them and how much sunlight they need, because too much direct sunlight and too much water can be fatal.
Sometimes people think that there are short cuts; unfortunately, most short cuts only end up in disappointment and disaster. It takes hard work and enough introspection to recognize when it’s time to change in order to better yourself and improve your life by allowing yourself to grow. You can only grow by recognizing when you need to plant yourself in healthier soil and or a pot large enough to allow you to expand. Nature is quite simple, and so is life. At least it can be. The less we complicate things, the more fruitful our lives can become.