What I Learned About Growth from an Orchid

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

the beginning of December I happened to notice something surprising in my dormant orchid. It was growing a stem.

I grabbed the potted plant and excitedly ran to show my roommate, shrieking about it. I was beyond excited. I never thought I would rebloom an orchid. I always thought I was too impatient. I always wanted results right now.

Over the past two years I’ve become familiar with Phalaenopsis orchids in my marketing job for a greenhouse. I answer a lot of customer questions and blog comments asking for care tips and troubleshooting help — because sometimes people don’t know that orchids only bloom for a few months at a time before entering a period of rest.

People need periods of rest too.

But just because your orchid isn’t in bloom doesn’t mean it’s not growing. Quite the opposite, actually. When orchids are resting they are growing new leaves and roots. They’re growing ways to add energy and nourishment to their lives.

And then, when they have some healthy, green leaves and roots, they will grow a new stem and new flowers.

You can’t do everything at once

Just like flowers don’t have the energy to grow new roots, leaves, stems, and blooms all at once, neither do we as human beings have the energy to do it all at the same time.

We need time to rest and recover. We need to focus on building habits that serve our dreams. We need to make lasting connections in communities we feel we belong in.

We need to remember that growing our roots is a necessary precursor to blooming.

Growth happens when you’re not looking

Healing from emotional trauma is like waiting for new growth. If you keep looking for every little sign of change, you may not see it. But if you stop looking so hard, you can see new habits, new emotions, new strength, and new growth starting to take hold.

And one day, when nothing special in particular has happened at all, you may be completely surprised to find that things are going exactly according to plan, and your spirit is still intact, beautiful, and able to grow again.

Prone to sudden bursts of encouragement. They/them. Queer, autistic author of bit.ly/GaslightingMillennials

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