After a full month away from home in July while I house-sat for a friend, I guess it wasn’t entirely surprising that the little sage plant outside my front door finally decided to call it a day.
When I left, it had been greenly abundant, but when I returned it was little more than a few scant twigs poking up from the wooden box of soil in which it had eked out its existence.
With nobody to water it, there was little hope of it surviving.
Or so you might think.
You see, I decided to not give up on that little plant.
As you can tell by me leaving a plant to fend for itself in the hot California sun for a month, I’m really not much of a gardener.
However, my instincts told me that, just maybe, a rescue mission might be possible.
Bending the plant’s dry stalks, I snapped off those that appeared dried out beyond repair, clearing the box so its only inhabitant was the stumpy little sage plant.
I then started watering it every day.
Not too much, but daily, like clockwork.
As you might expect, for several days nothing happened at all, beyond the soil starting to take on a healthier dark colour, in contrast to its former pallid ash-like appearance.
But then, miracle of miracles, after a week of watering, the tiniest, weeniest green leaves started sprouting from what had looked like a completely dead stem.
Another few days later, those microscopic leaves had grown, and had been joined by others.
While bringing the sage plant back to life feels like a genuine small win, perhaps the greatest value of this little experience has been to remind me of four important steps that enable transformation of some kind to happen.
I’m pretty sure that this can apply to people like you and me, just as well as it does to sage plants.
First, there needed it to be hope.
If I’d believed I’d be wasting my time on the plant, I wouldn’t have begun its attempted rejuvenation.
Equally, if you want to experience a change of some kind in yourself, it seems important to believe that change is indeed possible.
The second step involved clearing away the dead growth.
Perhaps the parallel for us as humans is that we should do our level best to repress the negative thoughts that threaten to interfere with the change we desire.
Being aware of them is a good start. Saying no to them may be hard, but it’s not impossible.
Step three in Operation Sage involved consistently watering every day.
Human change demands much the same, I think.
Creating a new habit, for example, means doing something every day, showing determined persistence.
The final piece of the jigsaw with the sage bush was to be patient, not expecting to see immediate results.
I’m sure this is equally true when we want to experience some kind of change in our own lives.
Since it’s probably not going to happen overnight, it’s sensible to allow things to take their own due time.
What worked for the plant may also be a good approach for you and me, therefore:
1. Have hope.
2. Clear the way for change.
3. Be persistent.
4. Have patience.
Perhaps these four steps will prompt you to consider a transformation of your own?
Whatever happens, though, I’m happy to credit my plucky little plant for its, well, sage advice.