Make like a Plant: On Choosing Joy

Plants always choose the light.

Houseplants are wonderful. They clean the air, purify the energy of a room, and brighten up the space they occupy. My grandma has three big, beautiful jasmine plants in her living room that fill the space with lush greenery and—a few times a year—the sweet aroma of jasmine flowers. She must have one of the greenest thumbs in the world; sometimes, I’m actually convinced she’s goddess of abundance incarnate. It’s incredible. She’s the reason that, about nine months ago, I decided to start nurturing some plants of my own. She really inspired me.

Over the months, my collection of plants has grown and shrunk, but I’d like to say I’ve loved and taken care of them through and through. Unfortunately, I have recently had to move many of them to a room that doesn’t get much sunlight, and a few of them have not been able to survive. However, I’m really grateful that most of them have still been able to thrive in the darker environment.

Today, as I was sitting, eating breakfast, thinking about what on Earth I could write about, I gazed out the window that looks out to the woods behind my building. Then, I brought my focus to the actual window—in particular, the windowsill, which has a few succulents sitting on it. I noticed how, over time, they have all bent, leaned, and shifted toward the light, which, in this case, comes from the sun, and as a result, they are thriving.

It made me think of something.

There will be times in our lives in which we find ourselves in dark places. There will be chapters of suffering, anxiety, depression, loss, grief, agony, and all kinds of unbearable pain. Some days, it will take all the strength we can muster to even get out of bed in the morning. Suffering is simply part of the human experience, and it will happen to everyone. When you first move a plant to an environment with less light, it will probably suffer a little. Some of its leaves might turn yellow and fall off, and it might look really sad for a while. But, in many cases, eventually, it will adjust. It will look for the light in its new environment, and it will turn toward it. Plants always choose the light.

Maybe we can learn something from this.

Pain will come, and “negative” feelings will hold us in their grasp many times throughout our lives. This is perfectly okay, and we need to be able to honor whatever we might be feeling at any given moment. It’s important that we move through our pain rather than away from it and that we allow ourselves to hurt when we need to. But after we have felt the feelings, and our thoughts seem to be the only thing holding us in a low-energy place, we can choose to turn toward the light. We can align our thoughts with life-giving energy and practice gratitude for the many wonderful things in our lives. We can begin to celebrate each small moment of life again, and we can enjoy the warmth of divine light as it encompasses our entire being. We can choose to affirm the light of our spirits with positive thoughts, and we can say, “Although there may be darkness in the world, I will always gravitate toward the light.” We can choose joy.

Choosing joy might sound a little difficult at first, especially when we have gone through such a great deal of suffering, and it will require us to surrender our struggles to the Universe (which you can read more about here). But it’s very doable.

Here are just a few things you can do right now to make like a plant and turn toward the light:

Make a list! Of things you’re thankful for, of the good things that happened to you today, of things you love, of all the things you’ve overcome (to show growth and progress)… or take a look at these three lists, which can help you to center yourself in order to cultivate joy and abundance.

Take some time to balance your chakras. When you balance all the energy centers in your body, you prepare yourself to live your most fulfilling life. I’ve written pretty extensively about chakras on this blog, and I highly recommend you check out my Chakra Series, starting with The Root Chakra: Signs of Blockage and How to Heal.

Meditate. Take time every day to connect with the universal energy through silence and stillness. Through meditation, we are also able to surrender our troubles to the Universe, which also helps us experience the joy of uncertainty.

Practice self-love. Do something each day that you love and that makes you come alive, and remember to be kind to yourself. Your journey is unique to you, so honor yourself wherever you may be right now.

Get creative. Everyone is creative in some way, including you. Taking some time to create something—maybe in the form of cooking, writing, making music, dancing, building something, or whatever it might be—is a wonderful way to awaken the joyful energy within you.

Spend time with friends and family. You don’t have to suffer alone. Surround yourself with people who care about you, and the love and laughter you experience should make it a little easier to choose joy.

Trust time. This goes along with surrender, but really, it feels pretty freeing to know that everything will heal in time. You might be hurting right now, but just think—a year from now (maybe even six months from now), there’s a pretty good chance that things will make sense in some capacity. Time heals all. As someone recently said to me, “It will get you there exactly when you need to be there, exactly how you need to be there.” Surrender to this. Through surrender, joy will come.

These are just a few ideas for choosing joy, but you can check out this article, 13 Secrets to Living a Happy Life, which has some more ideas.

Just like my plants, we will sometimes find ourselves in dark places, and we might suffer and wilt for it. However, like the plants, we can turn ourselves toward the light, choose joy, and continue to thrive.

With love,


3 thoughts on “Make like a Plant: On Choosing Joy”

    1. Yeah, they can! My grandma has had hers for years. They’re more like big bushes now. They just need to be in an environment with bright light, and they will thrive. Glad you enjoyed the article!


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