Life lesson from a cacti

Plants give life, we’re familiar with that truth, but I learnt a valuable life lesson from my cacti plant. No, not about resilience or patience like you may be already guessing. This isn’t one of the popular listicle that pops up when you Google “Life Lessons From A Cactus,” I promise. This story is about my cacti and me.

I love cactus and despite people trying to dissuade me with their well meaning advice about how cactus thorns bring negative energy if placed in the wrong corner of the house and can also bring doom to family and finances, I see cacti, want cacti! That’s basically me, and over the years I’ve collected some pretty prickly plants that I very proudly display around my house.

But unlike my cactus that have happily taken root in my balcony, I’ve been frequently uprooted and have changed half-a-dozen homes. Whenever I go house hunting, I do something most people on the lookout for a new home do, I carry a compass. Except, for me, the four cardinal directions don’t pertain to whether it’s a south facing bedroom or the house layout. I look for a house where the morning sunshine streams through the balcony and will make my cactus happy.

Whenever we move house, transporting my cactus collection proves tricky. I wrap some of my very delicate cactus in newspaper and carry them in my lap to prevent damage to their stems and branches. Others, I place in boxes and carry them in my hand. So when the tip of one of my beloved cacti accidentally broke after a heavy wet towel fell on it, I was distraught.

Cactus take ages to grow and this particular cacti had only one tall tower, and now the tip of that fateful tower was damaged. To get my mind off the mishap, I quickly planted the severed potion with a gardener's conviction that it will grow and something good would come out of the bad event. But for a moment, I worried about the implications of a broken cactus head, and prayed that didn’t mean something disastrous on my family. To ensure I didn’t further wallow in guilt for not being able to protect my treasure, I avoided looking at the parent plant for days.

After around two weeks, I noticed that five tiny new leaves had appeared atop the severed parent plant. I was relieved that it had absorbed the shock and perhaps forgiven me. New leaves meant a new beginning, and I promised myself to be more careful. Soon, I realised this wasn’t just a new beginning. Within a few months there were five new healthy towers where the leaves had been.

Something more profound was at play. Sometimes in life we don’t know why things happen. So often we worry about things that are beyond our control, and try and change them. We forget that we might not be the best judge. At times like these, a little faith can go a long way.

Since that day, I no more worry about my cactus or situations that I have no control over, and my cactus and I are doing just fine. This particular cacti has had many more mishaps, or should I say gone through life crisis and overcome them. Today, it’s one of my most prized possessions and sits smack in my living room. Besides being a beauty to behold, whenever I look at the cacti I feel reassure that everything will be alright, even if today things don’t appear positive, eventually they will work out in the best way for me.

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