LOVE IN LOCKDOWN (or lack thereof)
It’s easy to overlook perceived imperfection as quirky character traits and endearing eccentricity when the object of said imperfection is not under the microscope of lockdown.
Working from home? How many times do you hesitate before leaving the bathroom and have a long, perhaps unsatisfactory look in the mirror? If this were your workplace the look will probably not linger and you’ll be ousted by the entrance of a colleague.
And what of any partner currently in residence? An extended enforced period at home for work that upsets previous carefully calibrated boundaries, may make the air hard to breathe and atmosphere murky.
Investing in any relationship requires at least a little bit of faith just to begin. But for most of us that investment begins with ourselves and needs topping up regularly.
If you’re single and living alone whole conversations and thought processes are in danger of having no response or positive feedback loop. Human beings are gregarious creatures and most need the company of a Homo Sapien or two at least once per week. Someone that’s within the same room or at least at the safe-ish 1.5 – 2m distance fully masked.
Imagine if we applied lessons learnt from our plant relationships, especially during this particularly testing time when so much seems tenuous, and quietly tended, suspended judgement and forgave.
During these Covid times it’s become apparent that regardless of living arrangement, lockdown circumscribes the boundaries of our worlds with an ever narrowing and tightening band of Expectations.
I sometimes think that if we could model our human relationships on the ones we have with plants things might be easier and potentially more rewarding.
Private, almost secret conversations with plants that last minutes, hours, days, weeks, even years creating a landscape of thought brought to life through hands and light captured from the sun, engenders a symbiosis, that if it were known widely would be the envy of any human relationship.
Does a plant judge us? As we continue to learn more about cellular structure it’s difficult to say, but believing that no judgement will ever be brought down and that we are ‘liked’ tends to result in a willingness to please, to do all that’s possible (within reason) for the well-being of the other which results in a very observable and tangible reward of luscious leaves and fragrant flower.
Furthermore, there’s so much forgiveness that exists in an interaction between human and plant. Forgiveness for oneself and forgiveness for your green friend. Perhaps you’ve forgotten to water on an extremely hot day or you have lavished, after much research, every possible attention on the latest acquisition only to find that the demise is swift or at worst slow and painful.
So we try, try and try again. With both our humans and our plants, hoping we’ll have a breakthrough before we breakdown. But what can we do to become buoyant and stay afloat?
Let’s resist the temptation to linger longer in front of the mirror, redefine boundaries for a new unexpected era, find ways to bolster wellbeing without much human interaction and give credit to and learn from the silent foliaged spectator in much of our lives.
Certainly for most of us, ‘successful’ human interaction daily is the ultimate goal but imagine if we applied lessons learnt from our plant relationships, especially during this particularly testing time when so much seems tenuous, and quietly tended, suspended judgement and forgave. With the first recipient of these kindnesses, the common-denominator: Oneself.