#longlivebernard - Choosing Empowerment

Updated: April 30, 2024 7:00:00 AM

"Hey, Bernard!" I say to my 2-year-old beautiful bamboo plant. He is so incredibly handsome. Speaking to him daily had finally become a habit and part of my daily life. Bernard was a gift sent to me by mail, unsolicited by way of my Bonus Mom. I would NEVER EVER ask for a plant, buy a plant, or get too close to a plant, as I have been known to have a black thumb (for all the gen Z folks, that means I killed every plant that I touched).

When I was about 25, my mother gave me an Ivy plant. "This should be easy for you," she said. "This is one of the easiest plants to care for.", she said. "You can’t kill this plant," Momma said!! Oh, but she was wrong, so very wrong. That plant could be killed, and I was just the one who would do it. I cannot remember what I did or did not do with this plant, but it surely died!!

So when my bonus mom sent me this bamboo, I was worried that the poor thing wouldn’t survive me. Well, I did my homework and researched how to care for it. It lived in water for a while and did well. I transferred it to a larger pot as it grew and  I learned that it could live in the dirt as well. I named it Bernard. I talked to it, and let it hang out on the patio when it was sunny, and it has grown really well. It was more than not dead, it was thriving. Then, I forgot the temperatures would drop and I forgot that Bernard was outside alongside Beatrice, my newly gained, (almost murdered a few months prior) money tree. I was able to save them both with some TLC and a lot of nurturing and talking to them. Well, I noticed that Bernard’s leaves were still turning brown. I was afraid that my thumb, indeed, was at least brown, if not black but definitely not green, and I had finally killed him. I had just started to settle into mourning the loss. Then, suddenly, I  realized that it had been my thinking that yielded my inability to keep my plants alive. I had called myself a plant murderer. I was the one who said that I had a black thumb. It was ME! I can very well keep things alive…look at my children (lol), they certainly are not dead!!

I thought back to the moment that I unpacked Bernard and stated to him, “I will not let you die.” I made a conscious choice to make sure that Bernard stayed alive. Once this revelation hit me, I took my shears and I started to trim away all that was dead or dying on Bernard, as I spoke positive words to him. I told him that I loved him and that he would be just fine. I told him that I would continue to take care of him and that he would continue to grow big and strong. I told him that I appreciated the life that his leaves brought to me and that I needed him to continue to do that. The very next day, I saw a few new sprouting leaves, as if Bernard spoke back to me to say he was in this with me.

I do not and have never had a black thumb.  I just had black thumb thinking. In retrospect, I developed that belief because I was not willing to take the full responsibility to learn and do all that would be needed to care for and nurture the plant. "you mean, I need to talk to the plant too?" I killed that Ivy back in the day because of that negative belief that I had about myself, which manifested by way of the dead plant. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t keep my goldfish alive either (several of them perished). It was all the thoughts and beliefs I had about myself. If I had believed differently, it would have presented differently.

What are some old beliefs you are holding on to that do not tell the truth about you? Is there a narrative that you are holding on to from childhood? Is there something that society (then or now) has impressed upon you that you have taken ownership of? Did someone or is someone presently telling you things about yourself that you know in your heart are not true?

Let it go. Change the narrative. Do not own that which does not belong to you. Know and live your truth! The moment that I realized that I have been limited by my thinking and that I could and did keep plants alive (as well as my children), I felt more alive than I have ever been. There is so much power in your thoughts and beliefs. Choose to direct them in a way that allows you to grow and be your best you!


  • Shawnnell Batiste
  • April 30, 2024 4:56:28 AM
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