BEIN’ GREEN

Kermit the Frog sang, “It’s not easy being green…” But boy, if there ever were a time to be green. It’s now. We’ve been waiting for “green” for so long, we almost forgot what it looked like.”Gray” owned every single day. (It’s easy bein’ gray…) But those days are done..

And speaking of green, I’m really into plants. (Okay, not as much as I’m into dogs, but still…) And. believe it or not, you can learn a lot from plants…about people.

I’ve got a greenhouse (nothing elaborate, just a lot of plants that I love…) so I’ve learned a bit about how to take care of them. It’s not that hard. It’s kind of like taking care of people…

Here are the basics:

- Periodically re-pot them. Plants love a fresh container with new dirt underneath their roots. But don’t put them into a pot too much bigger than their old one. They’ll feel lost and can become exhausted by the effort to grow roots to fill the space. On the other hand, don’t pack the dirt around them too tightly. They like to feel snug but want room to expand and breathe.

Does that remind you of people you know who have been “repotted” in their company? Or yours? (Maybe you’re even one of them…) People want to be continually challenged and have room to grow but a constant “sink or swim” mentality can be a major de-motivator for even the most dedicated people. In fact, it can even be a deal breaker.

- Keep positive energy around your plants. I know it sounds crazy but plants (like dogs) can feel the energy in the air. They (again, like dogs…) get depressed if the humans around them are continually “worked up.” Negative vibes – tension, anger, ongoing angst – can curb their enthusiasm to risk putting out new growth.

- Okay, you can’t be perky all the time but plants give you one more reason to accentuate the positive. And boy, does that work with the people around you. Emphasize the good stuff: what’s working – and what you can learn from the stuff that isn’t. There’s not a person in the world who doesn’t respond well to positive reinforcement. Or a plant, for that matter…

A hibiscus tree of ours had been languishing for weeks. Suddenly it perked up its leaves and shot out a lovely red blossom. “Way to go, you rascal!” I said. “I knew you still had it in you. You look gorgeous!” She shot out two more blossoms.

“Who’re you talking to?” our daughter Abigail, called from the next room. “Oh, just ol’ hot stuff here,” I said, “don’t worry.” (She shot out three more blossoms that day.)

- Play music! I’m serious. It’s been well documented that music causes plants to grow faster and shoot out more leaves and flowers. It makes perfect sense when you think about it.

After all, no band of brothers or sisters, no sports team, no group of people little or big, ever went for the brass ring, the title, or put a stake (or flag) in the ground, without the horns, the pipes, the fifes and drums, the raised voices going first. It’s true for all flora and fauna.

Willa starts thumping her tail and jumping up on me when I play – and belt out – Bob Dylan singing “Mr. Tambourine Man.” We have a wonderful time.

- Prune! When plants are pruned, when their dead leaves are removed, they’re inspired to shoot out new leaves and flowers.

“Letting go” (two of my favorite words) of what no longer serves us – our own human version of “dead leaves:” fears, regrets, grudges, “mistakes” – can be absolutely reinvigorating.

Every time you pluck a dead leaf from one of your plants, “pluck away” some old fear or regret you’ve been hanging onto, okay? And imagine a brand new, vigorous version of yourself emerging – like strong, green sprigs – with every “pluck.”

Actually, it’s not all that hard bein’ green, when you think about it. Plus it feels really good.

And green is…the color of spring.

Sing it, Kermit…

They don’t call it a “greenhouse” for nothin’…

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