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Have you ever been told that you need some kind of special talents to grow anything? I think every country has their own name/saying for it.
My mum would always say I had a ‘green thumb’, which is an English equivalent of having ‘hand for flowers’ in Polish, where ‘flowers’ is a broad description of plants in general. When speaking to others she would bring up the anecdote from my teenage years period, when I was into indoor plants and wanted to grow Passiflora (passion fruit) so badly, that I searched all the garden supply shops in the area to find the seeds, then planted them in a pot in our little apartment. I picked up a dry stick outdoors and put it in the pot as a support for my Passiflora seedling, but instead the stick started growing leaves! My mum sums up the anecdote by simply saying
Yes, you can look at it from my mum’s perspective, which will prove to you that I have ‘green thumb’ or other superpowers, or you can see it from my perspective. That is to give a subject your full attention, a little love and energy.
I can assure you that there were also times in my life when I wasn’t paying much attention to the plants. Gardens in most of my rented properties were hugely overgrown with some wild bushes and I didn’t own a lawnmower until a few year back. Many houseplants also perished in my ‘care’. Or should I say the lack of it? Where was my green thumb then?
Going back to my mum... She is really not that into plants. Her mum and my nan always had beautiful roses and plenty of veg and fruit in her garden. So how did I receive this ‘green thumb’ while it skipped my mum was always really weird to me. She always has a few plants growing around the house, but she either moans about them not growing well or repeats how she’s not good at caring for them.
Did you know that your brain listens to everything you say? I mean, the subconscious part of it. The 95% of your brain that actually runs your life for you. That part that does the breathing, digesting and distributing the food you eat across all the cells and gives you energy to get up from bed as well as the mental capacity to read this article in exchange. The part that runs this whole sophisticated, state of art mechanism you call your body.
Can you imagine trying to read this article while learning every letter as if you were seeing it for the first time? Well, you don’t have to, because your subconscious mind has your back. It learned all those letters through repetition when you were a child. You also learned the common groupings of those letters known as words, so you don’t need to check your dictionary whenever you see the word. Some take it further and learn speed reading the whole sentences and even pages at one glance! I admire them, because I never really invested enough time to be able to do it.
Intuitively I knew most of this well before reading ‘The power of your subconscious mind’ by Joseph Murphy. I suspect my grandfather might have had something to do with it. Shame he passed away so early. But books have been my second best teachers and reading this one as a teenager was one of the best things I did for myself back then. If you haven’t read it, now is your chance. You won’t regret the time spent reading it. I bet you can get it in audiobook form too these days.
You might think that suddenly I changed the topic, but stay with me, because it’s all connected. See, if you constantly repeat to yourself (and other people) how bad you are at something, it’s really bad news, because your mind listens and delivers. You don’t even give it a benefit of a doubt by asking a question if you’re good at it, you damn right bombard it with statements like:
I’m bad at growing anything.
I don’t have green thumb/fingers/hand/other variation.
Plants never grow well for me.
Everything I touch dies!
Can you see it? Just like the letters learned in your childhood, through repetition of these false statements, you’re teaching your mind that you’re not good at anything.
How about you tell your subby (subconscious mind) how good you are? I mean not a monotonous repeating ‘I am great at gardening’ in a robotic voice. Your mind isn’t not all that easy to trick. Come up with something genuine and enthusiastic like, calling your bestie to say ‘I had to call to tell you this, I have just found out that I am fantastic at growing my own veggies! How amazing is this’.
You get the idea... Make it yours, repeat it often and attach positive feelings to it and your mind will learn ‘the new normal’ quicker than you think. That’s is you want to be good at growing though.
If you’re anything like my mum, you most likely never picked up a book or a magazine about gardening, which takes me to the second point I want to make in this article.
I would like to say it’s Tony Robinson who said it first, but these days so many claim it, that I am not even sure. It’s not me who came up with it anyway, but I heard it and loved it.
I don’t know about you, but when I find something interesting I become a bit obsessive, not to say fanatic about it. There are at least 7 different ways people learn and for me it’s a combination of many. I read and listen to everything I can find on a given topic, until I reach a saturation point, after which I have to go and try it NOW! Bits and bobs stay in my head after reading and listening, but the way I really get to understand things is by trying it all out.
I used to feel some kind of inadequate about not knowing the names of famous people, like politicians, actors, singers. I could sing a song (with the artist), but I couldn’t tell you who sang it or the title of the song/movie etc. These days I understand it more and I feel content with my general knowledge. I don’t remember, because I don’t pay much attention to famous people. I remember Greta Thunberg without trying though.
I appreciate people’s creativity and the talent and I’m first to give credit when I see it, but I am not a follower of people. I am however a great fan and follower of nature and all its incredible creations. I take great pleasure in observing its miracles every day. I don’t try to remember the names of the flowers, I promise! I am also not showing off when I name many of them in a conversation. They just ‘stick’ to me, like the names of actors and politicians stick to other people.
To sum it up, I will repeat… There is not such a thing as a green thumb/finger/hand in my opinion. Green thumb is a thumb dirty from mixing the soil to make that perfect mixture you read your plant will love. Sometimes this doesn’t work, so you read some more or your neighbour will give you a good tip. If you want to be good at growing… get growing. Put your heart into it and I promise it will work.
All pictures in this article are my own. Do you like them and want to use them for any of your projects? Get in touch - I have plenty and I'm happy to share.