KARISHMA DESAI shares her journey from plant-killer to having green friends. Through childlike wonder and simply taking a moment to hug and connect with trees, she experiences the healing energy of nature, as well as enhancing the connection to her inner nature through the heart.
I am embarrassed to confess that I have been a plant-killer in the past. On the odd occasion that friends would gift me a plant, I would fail to keep it alive for long. Not knowing how to care for them, they would invariably perish. Most of my friends and colleagues were intrigued by how someone who loves animals could be so naïve and ignorant about taking care of something as simple as a plant. The truth is I never took interest or paid much attention to them.
A few years ago, when my little girl started school, some of the parents in our estate decided to form a walking school bus. Two rostered parent volunteers would walk a group of ten to twelve young kids to school and back each day. This was a great experience, as on the 15-minute walk to school we witnessed their beautiful innocent and playful banter. As they became more familiar, it was not uncommon for them to prefer to be only with their close friends and argue with the others. Often, they would be too loud and disturb the otherwise quiet neighborhood we walked through.
One morning, I noticed a few adamant kids wanting to have it their own way, so I decided to divert their attention. I asked them to observe the surroundings, and to reflect on how to appreciate the beauty of nature. Pointing to one of the trees, I explained that they are full of life just like us, and they react to love and care. The children looked amused, so to overcome their hesitation I suggested we name the trees on the way to school. I’m not sure how I came up with this suggestion, but my daughter and her friends giggled as they named each tree and started to greet them with love.
My eyes closed naturally as I hugged the tree.
Generally, I do this when I pray or
meditate or hug my loved ones.
It is an instinct that connects me deeper
to the core of my existence – the heart.
I was intrigued that hugging the tree
had the same effect on me.
Every time the kids were noisy on these walks, I would remind them to tune into the beauty of nature around us, and they would say hello to the trees. Some of the kids were uncomfortable with the idea and did not participate, but I could see it lit a spark in others. I remember one morning when a child asked me if she could touch a tree to feel it. I must have had a strong shot of coffee that morning, as I went overboard and suggested to the kids, “Forget about touching, try hugging them like this!” The giggles never stopped, and the look of my fellow parent volunteer made me feel a bit guilty about teaching the kids something a little unusual.
I must admit that something changed in me after that casual hug. My eyes closed naturally as I hugged the tree. Generally, I do this when I pray or meditate or hug my loved ones. It is an instinct that connects me deeper to the core of my existence – the heart. I was intrigued that hugging the tree had the same effect on me. I realized the magnificence of these beautiful tall trees; I felt their calming essence on my heart and soul. Hesitantly, I allowed myself to explore this new experience and helplessly found my connection getting deeper and deeper. I had found my first green friend.
Our dear Mother Earth has healing energies. Trees are rooted deep within her, so it is not a wonder that, when we touch them, they may pass on this energy to help us heal. Spending just a little time in their company is therapeutic for me. As a breathing coach, I have noticed how easy it is for me to breathe when I sit close to a tree. If I spend just a few mindful minutes in their presence it restores my natural breathing pattern, so I feel as fresh as a flower.
Nowadays, when I sit under a tree sipping my mug of coffee, I remember to express my gratitude for its generosity to many forms of life. I observe how it never judges who comes to it – birds, insects, animals, wind, humans are all equal recipients of its magnanimity. I am inspired by how it consumes far less than it contributes. I observe how it is just a witness to the entire process of life around it. These tall trees are in touch with the Earth as much as they are peering up to the high skies. We too can touch the skies by remaining deeply connected and grounded in our inner Nature.
I feel that when we approach and interact with nature with an open heart like that of a child, we can seamlessly allow ourselves to connect not just with our external nature but also with our true inner Nature. My many green friends have certainly helped me experience this magic.
As for houseplants, I now have many, and all of them are thriving with the food, water sunshine, love and care that I shower on them.
So what are you waiting for? Find your new green friend!
Article by KARISHMA DESAI
Illustrations by ARATI SHEDDE
June 01, 2021
June 01, 2021
June 01, 2021