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Growing plants

Previously I wrote about Sayo’s experience growing plants.

That was Sayo's story of losing her self-confidence when her busy life lost

her focus and her plant died.

It’s also about how reorganizing her occupations to enable her once again

to successfully grow plants has supported her recovery of self-confidence.

I found that she has developed her own meaning for growing plants,

developing across her childhood play, her interest in living things and

her experiences of growing plants in her daily life.

Today I will share with you a view of growing plants as an occupation

from these angles:

              the form of growing plants as an occupation,

              the function of the occupation,

and the meaning of the occupation.

To look at growing plants in a big occupational picture, let’s imagine Sayo's experiences growing her plants.

Growing plants


Sayo is a full-time occupational therapist who lives with her husband.

She has been growing plants on her veranda and inside her house

for six years.

Form of the occupation:

In childhood, Sayo used to play, running in grassy fields and climbing trees.

She remembers that she felt comfortable and fresh in nature.

As she grew, she was interested in the idea of life as a continuous cycle and

in later she studied agricultural science.

After she graduated she became very busy with her job, and her plant pachira

(Guiana Chestnut) died.

Sayo lost confidence in herself and in her ability to take care of her plants.

Several years later, Sayo got some cuttings of a plant called devil ivy, from her friend,

and she started to try to grow it, but the ivies rarely grew well.

When she got even busier after she married and lived far from her work, her ivies withered badly.

But she paid more attention to them, took special care of the cuttings

for rooting and planted them carefully in soil and they recovered.

For several years since, her plants have been growing well.

She is happy that they have increased more and more.

Sayo considers her plants to be a part of her family.

Every morning, she checks her plants, talks to them, and takes care of them

as needed.

If they look healthy, she is also happy.  

She calls them “my kids.” 

Function of the occupation:

Sayo had meaningful experiences in playing in the mountain fields

in her childhood and remembers that very vividly and positively.

Later she was interested in the idea of the continuous cycle of life.

For Sayo the idea that every living thing creates a continuous cycle meant that

each of us are connected to each other as parts of the ecological cycle.

However, when her plants died because she was very busy with her job,

Sayo lost confidence in her ability to take care of her plants.

Then she lost her self-confidence.

Sayo lost her balance in life and wellbeing.

She felt that she couldn’t adapt to her life changes, with marriage, distant

commute and a demanding job.

Sayo thought that her plants died or got sick badly because she didn’t

have time and attention to take care of them.

So, to Sayo, saving her dying plants means saving a life which

is connected to her.

Growing her plants means taking care of an interconnected life which is

part of her, her family.      

When they get sick, she loses confidence and if they recover, she also

recovers her confidence and wellbeing.

Growing plants is quite an ecological occupation for her.

Meaning of the occupation:

Growing plants has been constructed as an ecological concept for her.

She started developing this concept since her childhood.

Sayo and her plants are parts of an interconnected continuous cycle of life,

so growing plants is meaningful to her.

Growing plants and taking care of them is the same as taking care of her family.

That is not only responsibility but joy of taking care of a family.

So, if her plants grow and increase, she is happy and satisfied.


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