Discover more from 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐞𝟐𝕄𝕦𝕤𝕖 - 𝒖𝒏𝑺𝒄𝒓𝒊𝒑𝒕𝒆𝒅
5 Lessons a Bonsai Tree Taught Me
This is how to survive and thrive in hostile environments
There are two main seasons in my country. None of these two, the rainy season (of plenitude) or dry season (of scarcity) matters much to this hardy breed.
I’ve crossed its path on several previous encounters. Back then, all I had to do was a short dash up the flight of stairs by the side of my office building, look down and there it was. Its foliage was either still or waving with the flow of the breeze. Each time, it was as if the stationary sentinel was whispering another “Hello there” my way.
One afternoon, I was upstairs again. As I reflected on the fate of this lonely maroon, it dawned on me that this moment will not last forever. Of course, no good moment ever lasts forever. Bad times don’t last forever either. You already know that.
The best we can hope for this side of mortality is to never run out of time so that we can outlast the hard times. Isn’t that our recurring prayer? I decided to capture an image of this plant for posterity. Here, see my Bonsai on a roof.
Ivies are known to flourish in the most unusual and most challenging of all terrains. What made this one so unusual is that it was growing directly on the top of a hot roof that is daily exposed to the unrelenting baking sun. Yet, it has survived several cycles of rainy and dry seasons. This was what arrested my attention upon which I stopped to ponder. On reflection, the ivy plant reminded me of the Japanese art of Bonsai.
Wikipedia described Bonsai as a Japanese art form that utilizes cultivation techniques to produce, small trees that mimic the shape and scale of full-size trees in portable containers. Using Bonsai art, full-sized trees are grown into scaled-down living replicas of the originals.
Bonsai plants are used as living decorative elements in homes and offices due to their aesthetic and beautifying ergonomic appeal. Also, like all green plants, they help to purify the air. They are reported to offer several therapeutic, psychological, and other health benefits. You don’t have to be a tree-hugger to appreciate the value of trees or how all green vegetation contributes towards preserving the survival of our planet.
I promptly christened it "Bonsai on a roof." I have since left the company where my Bonsai was located. Doubtless, the janitors would have lopped the then benign plant off the roof before it grew up into unmanageable damaging proportions. Bonsai trees are deliberately grown and carefully nurtured in indoor benign environments. But my Bonsai was forced to grow in a hostile environment.
Here are some lessons I learned from that ivy thriving on a sizzling hot metal roof for several years. Some or all of these lessons will undoubtedly come in handy for you as well.
1. Thrive no matter what.
Irrespective of how trying your environment may be, the will to survive is something you must never give up on. In his memoir Night, holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel explained how many prisoners died in concentration camps because they let go of the will to survive. The conditions in the death camps were horrendous beyond comprehension.
But there were many that perished who could have survived but the fact that they gave up hope right from the first moments, they fell into the hands of their captors. There is nothing salutary in unmerited suffering or hardships. The point here is always to find a way to make the best out of whatever life throws you. Never give up hope.
I believe in God–in spite of God! I believe in Mankind–in spite of Mankind! I believe in the Future–in spite of the Past!
There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win. ― Elie Wiesel
2. Be the best you can be in any environment
Your environment may hinder or threaten to obstruct you from rising to your full potential. What are you to do in such strait ends? Despair, give up hope, and refuse to try? No and never. Rather, always be the best that you can be no matter how buffeting your circumstances may be.
A resilient spirit will always outlast your hostile landscape. The stamina you developed in trying jobs or health conditions may serve you better in the future of new environments.
3. Patience and endurance one day at a time.
By all means, never settle or resign yourself to unpleasant circumstances. But we all need patience and endurance to weather the unexpected or protracted storms of life.
Always convince yourself that the constraints imposed by your environment are not reflections of whom you are, your capabilities, or your true worth. Hostile environments do provide opportunities for life-transforming introspective meditation in silence learning and growth.
Hence, you can turn any sinking circumstance into flourishing just as a submarine does below any raging waves of the sea above it. Tomorrow will come and the sun will certainly rise for you.
4. Engage in Positive Self Talk
Change your thought patterns through positive self-conversation. Engage your mind through healthy reading, music, meditation, and other worthwhile engagements. Your life has a purpose.
Changing your thought patterns does not imply resigning yourself to your circumstances. You must look for and exploit every opportunity for a change. But, while at it, always remember that the resilience and stamina you developed in foreboding times will help to carry you through when you come by the opportunity to escape into better environments.
There is a “Why” to your life. Do not stop or give up
until you find a way or the “How” to that Why?
5. Meditation and prayers
The Holy Bible tells the story of Joseph who thrived in the land of Egypt in spite of the trying environment in which he found himself. The final lesson for me is from the Holy Bible book of Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.
With the right attitude, fortitude and mindset, you can thrive in any environment.
Seven years have passed since I stop by to wave at that resilient ivy plant. Like my Bonsai of many years ago, tell yourself, “I will thrive no matter what life throws at me.”
Thank you for reading. This story was originally published here.
👉 If you love writing, join Substack with my referral link. You will be supporting my writings and also get access to other great writers.
Thanks for reading Muse 2 Muse - unScripted! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.