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Green wall Lessons: Enjoying the old and the new

by Rachel Kochany

What’s one way to encourage yourself in the midst of Covid 19, winter, and extended lockdown? How can I find inspiration, new hope and colour, in the midst of testing times?

Like many I’m finding the current season challenging. However one thing that has continued to encourage me is our green wall, now ten months old.

I’m enjoying how the wall has elements of continuity, amidst the changes which are inherent with any living thing. I love the way the perennial plants keep going through sun and rain, snow and wind. That they are rooted and watered enough to sustain life,  and grow just the right amount each season.

That those with long roots expand into the available space and soil,  and set themselves up for further growth over a longer period. Quietly and determinedly getting on with it. Whatever the weather is doing they are generally strong enough to reach out for the necessary nutrients to thrive.

These amazing plants know just what to do to in order to do well, rejuvenate. To rest when needed. So that they go on growing and giving pleasure into future seasons. It is in their very nature to do that. I find that amazing – in the same way that I am astonished how birds know where to migrate back to instinctively.

I like how plants you would expect to see in different habitats – such as ferns and heather – can adapt to new settings – such as our green wall. And settle there quite happily. Doing their bit to sustain life, and give enjoyment to us, our neighbours, and those passing by in need of an inward smile or happy thought.

And it reminded me of some things about life, work and being. So I’m sharing these here. I’d love to hear your thoughts too and to have a bigger conversation about this.

1.    The effort to plan in advance, put down roots, and draw on strength we need is worth it.

We’ve become quite used to an instant culture where we can get what we need when we need it. It can still be quite countercultural for me to plant bulbs way in advance of when I will enjoy their blooms. Or to pick out plants that may seem less exciting than the brights of spring or summer. It takes thought to imagine for the future, and make the investment now that will reap rewards later on. And some faith in a way that the effort now that will be worth it later.

It takes focus and patience with ourselves to dig deep when challenges come that threaten how we thought life would be, or how we would like it to be. And to revisit our root source, our inner resources again when we feel buffeted by the storms – both literally and metaphorically.

However, I’m seeing that the refocus and the effort is worth it. And I am nourished when I return again to what really matters to me, where I draw my strength and refreshment. Be that memories, faith, or readings that sustain and provide the bigger picture, the overall journey – and the bigger perspective in the midst of this current series of pinch-points.

It’s interesting to me that when I take time to look inward, upwards, and sometimes backwards – I am given renewed strength for now – and for moving forwards. And when I remind myself of my bigger and future purpose – of partnering with folk to release potential in people and organisations – then this spurs me to take action to move forward. Getting myself in the position to take that helicopter view again – I see new possibilities, appreciate the longer term picture, and feel refreshed so that I keep walking in the way I want to go.

In these pandemic times I’ve find it encouraging and occasionally surprising, just how much help, support and connection is out there if you just look. Sometimes it feels like the equivalent of the plant that expands out just 5 cm to the left or right.
2.  We are much more intuitive and connected than we think. We sometimes just need to do that new thing and see how it goes.

Just as a plant finds the space to expand into – I reckon that we find what’s needed when we are open to do that. And it might come from unexpected sources. I picture it a little like a treasure hunt for adults – it’s there if we just look and give it a try.

I heard recently that we as humans are hardwired to self protect, and to form habits that feel safe to us. That certainly seems sensible and serves an important purpose – perhaps it is a little like being taught as children not to touch things that are too hot. And yet this very protection can make us instinctively less open to change. Sometimes even change for the better.

And I do believe that we grow to know what works for us – what fits and doesn’t fit with our particular outlook, season, and set of needs. Those inner nudges that say – ‘this is the time’; ‘try this you’ll like it’ – or ‘this will show you a new perspective’ – are given to us for a reason.

I’m learning to know and trust that what suits me won’t necessarily suit others – and that’s fine. And to trust that more. I guess we all evolve to know ourselves more – and then are further enabled to take the new step and look round the next corner.

Or maybe to reach out and get the help we need so we have the courage to walk the extra mile and look around the next corner. Size up the possibilities – and give it a go.

My musings over, I’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, grow well.

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