Saturday, March 31, 2018

Turning my ship (mood) around

Monstera  Deliciosa (See below)
What I thought was an ugly vine, bloomed for the first time today. It took me awhile to recognize its beauty ... a clue that something was off.
I didn’t recognize this as “one of those days” when I first woke up. The morning was peaceful, quiet, birds singing, sun shining … in other words, a normal day here in Ajijic. It wasn’t until I was sitting with my journal, making a “to do” list for the day that I thought there might be an issue. I couldn’t decide what to put on the list … what I wanted to do with my lovely, open day. I always have stuff I want to do, but this morning nothing was grabbing me, so I drifted into Facebook. Probably not a good choice … endless steps down a dark … and addictive … trail. (We all need to go back to cute cats.)

Finally, I pulled myself out the door for what was to be a long walk. Which direction? Long walks branch off in several directions. But, I turned in the one direction that involved a short walk to the coffee shop, trying to figure out if I wanted hot or cold coffee. Even that decision seemed out of reach.

In spite of a beautifully presented latte, and whining on Facebook, I still felt blah, so I started through my Rolodex of helpful tools … 
  • AWARE … Ask why, allow reflection, exhale. Wrote a bit in my journal, but words weren’t helping.
  • H.A.L.T. … Hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Not enough sleep, so probably touching on all of these. Thought the Facebook thing might help, and it did a bit.
All of this reminded me of a recent conversation with a friend who has experience with depression. She mentioned that she monitored her mood when she was going through a particularly troubled time, and when she showed her chart to her doctor, he proscribed medication which had turned out to be very helpful. During the conversation, she mentioned that, even now, a good day was a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. 

That startled me because she’s a very upbeat and positive person. It reminded me that my husband, who battled depression, once mentioned that a good day for him was also a 7. Having never had more than fleeting feelings of depression, I became curious about how I would rate my own mood. This, of course, meant developing my own scale, since I didn’t like any of the ones I found online … although I borrowed from them liberally.  Here’s the mood chart I now use:

Mood Chart
 For a few weeks, I tracked my mood and found that I almost always wake up at 6 or 7 and have moments of 8 and 9 most days. Level 10 seems to require focus and intention. I quit tracking after awhile because it was always the same.

This morning, sitting in the coffee shop, trying to figure out what was wrong, I checked the chart and realized I was at 4. What a shock! However, I was also a bit relieved because it made me think the issue was lack of sleep as much as anything. The major hit of caffeine meant I probably wasn’t going to take a nap anytime soon, so either this was going to be a wasted day or I needed to try one or more of the mood lifters on the list I had created with the mood chart. My list includes:
    — Remember: this, too, shall pass
    — Write gratitudes
    — Brainstorm an idea
    — Dance to hi-energy music … 3-song dance
    — Walk (plus hi-energy music … or in nature)
    — Make art, take photos, organize photos
    — Make collages or work in journals
    — Connect with someone

The challenge with this approach is energy. All of them require energy and a willingness to take responsibility for my mood. I really just wanted to whine and have an excuse to be a sloth. 
Finally, I opted for the 3-song dance and turned on Jeremy Buck’s, “Turn My Ship Around.” For many years now, I’ve found myself obsessing on a particular song, playing it over and over. “Turn My Ship Around” is my current obsession but I have a whole playlist of songs that have called to me. 
This one is a “must-dance” song so I repeated it three times, generating almost a thousand steps in those few minutes and starting an energy flow that allowed me to make a healthy and colorful breakfast … and start to examine the whole mood process in this post.

Bottomline: Moods fluctuate. However, there is a point where energy falls below the level needed to lift the mood. That’s a danger zone and having your own mood chart and strategies can help. Feel free to use the ones I’ve shared … however, it’s probably even better to create your own. What I recognize now is that while I’m writing it to clarify my own process, I’m hoping it might help anyone reading it. Since this is an attempt at generosity … mood level 9 … it is therefore raising my own mood, creating a beneficial cycle.

Thanks to all of you. We’re all connected on this journey, even though we frequently forget our connection. I now feel safe, trusting, hopeful (a solid 6) … well enough to give myself permission to have a quiet, low-energy day, nap included!
And, here's my mood lifter, in case you'd like to listen and watch:
Click here to listen: Turn My Ship Around

Monstera deliciosa - Windowleaf, Ceriman, Swiss-cheese plant, Breadfruit vine, Hurricane plant, Mexican breadfruit, Fruit-salad plant, Window plant, Split leaf Philodendron, and Cut leaf Philodendron.

One of about 30 species of monster, Monstera delicosa is the most well known indoor plant of its type in the world. A native of Mexico it has been cultivated as a house plant in cooler countries and in tropical and sub tropical countries it is often grown as a garden plant because of its unusual foliage and edible fruit. The name Monstera is suggested to have been derived from the large curiously perforated leaves which might mean a monstrosity.

This plant has so many common names which shows how popular it is. Windowleaf, Ceriman, Swiss-cheese plant, Breadfruit vine, Hurricane plant, Mexican breadfruit, Fruit-salad plant, Window plant, Split leaf Philodendron, and Cut leaf Philodendron. There may be more local common names as well.  This is a good example of why people need to use the correct botanical name because using the common name/s means many people will not know what pant is being talked or written about.

In nature it climbs up trees and may reach about 10 metres in length while in cultivation it may climb trees or a variety of other structures.

The shining green leaves which are also thick and leathery grow to about 40cm x 60cm and are perforated with neat curving holes making a nice even pattern not at all like a monstrosity. Sold as an indoor plant it is marketed for its foliage and its ability to grow well in a variety of indoor situations.

It is somewhat unusual to see the flowers as it needs, like all plants, similar conditions/climate to its native habitat. In large tropical greenhouses or tropical or subtropical gardens where it can grow freely flowers will occur. First we see the large spathe, a single greenish creamy white boat shaped structure up to 35cm long. Inside is the upright spadex or flower stalk (which looks similar to a corn cob)   which is a dense many flowered structure which remains green and solid long after the spathe has  finished. The fruit, when ripe is succulent and edible with a pineapple flavour. To eat the fruit pick it and place in a paper bag until the individual kernels pop off and show the edible flesh underneath. Just cut this away from the core and eat.

Usually it is propagated by cuttings from the adult section of the plant which means we rarely see the juvenile growth when the leaves are smaller and not perforated. With modern propagation techniques like meristem culture plants grown this way will go through the juvenile state to adult state. Purchasing small new plants will enable you to observe the proper growing cycle of this plant.

As it grows large, fat, light brown aerial roots will appear from the main stem and hang down. They absorb moisture from the air and in the wild will take root when they hit the ground.

Monstera deliciosa is a very popular attractive indoor plant which is very easy to grow and always looks good. It will catch a lot of dust on the leaves but a quick wipe with a damp cloth and diluted all seasons spraying oil brings it back to its bright green state. 
Older plants in cultivation may have grown quite leggy and look somewhat straggly. It can be rejuvenated by pruning off part of the long stem just above a green leaf. A new shoot will grow from this point. The piece that has been removed can be used as a cutting (or several cuttings) to grow plants to give away to friends and neighbours.


No comments:

Post a Comment