The Power of Consistent Attention

I’ve spent my entire adult life thinking of myself as a plant terminator. I have killed off more house plants than I can bear to think of. Even plants that are impossible to kill have withered and wasted away under my care.

I absolutely love plants, and adore the trend of having lots of indoor plants of different shapes and sizes. The last time I bought indoor plants, they started dying quite rapidly but got revived as soon as I moved them outdoors. For a time, I gave up on the idea of indoor plants. Just before the lockdown I decided to give it another try and bought four indoor plants. A visit to grocery store resulted in three pots of herbs. A neighbor dropped off a pot of holy basil. Suddenly I had eight plant beings in my care. And I was determined that they would survive.

I dug out my grandfather’s book on Indoor Plants, found a website dedicated to growing plants in the tropics, read about good watering practices, and watched videos on repotting. I ordered potting soil, compost soil, and new pots. Once a challenge is accepted, then its all hands on, full steam ahead. I even added “Water and tend to plants” to the habit tracker app I’ve been using lately.

My plants are doing great. They haven’t died. In fact they are sprouting leaves and shoots. And I’m beyond thrilled. Today I repotted my herbs as they had outgrown the original little pots. I felt trepidation; did I put enough soil, what do I do about roots, will my plant survive this? So far the mint and the basil are alive and looking fantastic.

Attention is expensive. It takes time, effort, and emotional energy. It is a risk. My plants might still fail. Isn’t this true of most things in life? Our health, career, relationships, finances all need careful tending. How often have I just let things go? Let them wither and waste away because I had “too many things on my plate”, “too many balls in the air”, “too many pots on the stove”, you pick the phrase. I guess careful, habitual attention is possible when you have simplified your life to include only what truly matters to you. And that is the gift of this interminable lockdown.

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