My houseplants help me to keep perspective. Just like everybody else, sometimes the little things turn into big things and we feel like the sky might fall. The “what ifs?” get bigger and louder. When I am struggling to keep things in perspective, I find that considering our ancient history can be helpful. Quite a leap there, you think? Well, this houseplant in particular aids my thinking:

This is my Christmas cactus who I affectionately have named Steve. He is about 200 years old and belonged to my great, great, grandma. He’s a beauty right?

Steve’s living history and connection to my heritage reminds me that I am the product today of the strength and awesomeness of many people before me. All with their own struggles, losses of perspective and proverbial mountains to climb. Having plants alive in my home office today, which originally came from members of my family whom I never met is amazing to me. It leads me to think that those people who cared for this plant, also influenced, and shaped the relatives I do know, and consequently they shaped me too.

My Scottish family have this saying that “you are the result of thousands of years of your ancestors love” which I often forget, but on really tough days I like to spend a little time hanging out with Steve in the sunshine reflecting on our collective footprint in time.

I have been reading Blood of the Isles, by Brian Sykes who says that the DNA of all modern humans can be traced back to seven women. This idea blows my mind. More than that, this is where the perspective comes in. In trying to keep this in mind, I realise that my female ancestors have survived through all ages of human history. That means all the good and bad parts. Through wars, industrialisation, climate change, revolutions, enlightenments, migrations, everything. Their lives and survival mean that I am alive here today, and being the product of so many awesome people makes me think that I can survive anything. Just like you can.

This is not to say that thinking of my plants in this way fixes all my perspective and troubles. Some days its harder than others. Some days all I can do is just stare at my plants. However, building up tools to use and focusing on our awesomeness when we are feeling like things are too much, can definitely help.

What is the oldest plant in your house? I would love to hear about it.


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