EPISODE 151: [INTERVIEW] How Plants Can Teach Us All The Life Lessons We Need to Know w/ Maria Failla



Whether you are aware of it or not, you are so deeply connected to the natural world around you and can pull joy from it each and every day. In today’s new episode, I had the pleasure to sit down with Maria Failla, planty-podcaster and joyful living guide. She and I have an open conversation about how, when you root yourself in a hobby (no matter what hobby it might be) you can find so much joy from it! Insider tip: I fangirled SO HARD this whole time as I have been such a big fan of Maria’s for years and years now! 


Want more of Maria? Connect with her here!

Follow her on Instagram >> https://www.instagram.com/growingjoywithmaria/ 

Take her plant parent personality survey >> https://growingjoywithmaria.com/personality 

Purchase her book >> https://growingjoywithmaria.com/book 

Check out her website >> https://growingjoywithmaria.com/



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Maddy 0:01 Hey bestie and welcome to the living in sunshine podcast. I’m your host, Maddy Fy. And around here we are all about encouraging, inspiring, and giving you the tough love that you need to hear to get out there and live as your best self. Each and every Wednesday, you can expect to learn tangible tips to help you find your bigger purpose. be given simple action steps that you can take in order to make progress toward your biggest dreams and hear how you can purposely pursue joy on the daily. So sit down, grab your favorite drink, and let’s have a girl chat. This is the living in sunshine podcast. Good morning. Good morning, my dudes and welcome back to the living in sunshine podcast. I am so excited for today’s new episode because I have a very special guest on the show. I literally found girls so hard when this person told me yes to being on the show because I have actually been a huge fan and follower of hers for years. I used to listen to her podcast back when it my husband and I lived in New Jersey and having her on the show now it feels like a very full circle moment. I am so excited to have Maria from growing joint with Maria formerly known as bloomingood radio here on the show today to talk to us about how we can learn all of the life lessons that we need to know in our house plans in nature. And not only that, but she gives us such amazing insight and personal testimony about how you can follow a dream and that dream can literally change your life when you go all in. If you don’t know Maria, she is a plant killer turned happy plant lady making the world a kinder and greener place by helping everyone successfully care for houseplants while thriving alongside them. In today’s episode we touch on topics such as pivoting in your life dreams, finding joy and purpose in your hobbies and how we can intentionally care for our mental health by rooting our deeper purpose and other things in nature around us. I loved today’s talk with Maria and I hope that you love it as well. Be sure to share today’s episode on your Instagram Stories tag us both. You can find everything you need to know about Maria down in the show notes. And let’s go ahead and dive into my chat with Maria. All right, good morning, everyone. And welcome back to the living in sunshine Podcast. Today. I have a very very special guest I have Marie or Maria from the bloom and grow radio slash growing Joy podcast. I say bloomin girl radio because yeah, that was her OG podcast title and one that I actually listened to like way back in 2018. So having her on the show now it’s like such a full circle moment. Maria, welcome to the show.

Maria 2:38 Woah, thank you. I love that. Yes, you are an OG listener. I love my OG listeners. The ones who like know the old theme song and bloom and grow radio. But yes, we rebranded to growing dry with plants in the beginning of last year, but yeah, I still call it bloom and grow. Yeah, I still can’t my husband and I like still are always calling the business calling everything bloom and grow. So I appreciate that. And I love that I love the name of your podcast living in sunshine because yeah, one of my mantras is be the sunshine. Oh, like personally I don’t talk about it publicly. But you know to let yourself be sunshine so I just love that.

Maddy 3:15 I love that. Maria Can you please share with people really who you are and what you do because I think you have a really unique take and and kind of background when it comes to finding joy in the every day that I think a very specific part of my community is going to just love so so much so who are who are you? What do you do all those things?

Maria 3:36 It’s so funny whenever I give my intros. I’m like who am I?

Maddy 3:40 Why am I what am I doing?

Maria 3:43 Yeah, like wait, I’m a full time plantea podcaster what you know it’s just it’s amazing where life takes you when you when you go with the flow. Yeah, so I am like I said a full time plant lady podcaster author of you know the growing dry with Maria brand. But I never in a million years would have thought that this is what I was doing at this point. I’m so sorry. You might be hearing my little baby parakeet Frankie in the background.

Maddy 4:08 I love it.

Maria 4:09 I love it so much. It’s gonna add color and flavor. Conversation. He’s been super chatty today. If you want to talk about joy, get yourself peppered. He’s been the light of my life for the last year but yeah, so I never thought I would be a professional planty? podcaster that’s not even a real thing. I still I’m like, I still don’t know if it’s a real thing. Even though I do it every day. I wanted to be on Broadway for my whole life. So I came out of the womb singing my whole life wanted to be a performer went to school for opera always wanted to be on Broadway. I grew up in New York, I would always go to Broadway shows and I’m so lucky that I spent the first decade of my professional life living that dream. So I made it to Broadway and cats the musical I did the international tour of West Side Story. I did multiple national tours of Broadway shows. And I was I was doing the thing you know, I was really really lucky singing the high notes around around the world and And I was also a really epic plant killer. So because I was so transient with my job, I couldn’t keep a plant alive. If someone paid me, it was embarrassing. It was kind of a thing that I was known for. And I, you know, I really just stuck with cut flowers because or if I bought a plant, it was like, well, the plant would die slower than cut flowers would die so. And things changed when I moved in with my when I moved in with the boy, he’s my husband now. Yes, but shout out to Billy for dealing with me and my craziness. But we moved in together and I wanted to nest. So I thought okay, I’ll I’ll take one more, one more shot at plants. And this time, the difference is that I’m going to google my way to not being a plant killer anymore. And through Googling, I found amazing blogs and online resources with like how to care for plants. Because when I say plant killer, genuinely whoever’s listening, if you have any shame around weird stuff you’ve done to your plants, or like things, you know, plants you’ve killed. I did the weird, like, I thought you could only water your plants at night, I thought watering plants was by spritzing the leaves like I did everything wrong. When I was starting out, it was not intuitive for me. So I Googled my way through it. I like to say I came for the aesthetic, but I stayed for the wellness because I thought that you know, by bringing some house plants indoors and growing a few herbs on my balcony that it would just make my home look pretty like when you look at you know, CB two and anthropology and all these beautiful design magazines arc digest, you see plants in all the rooms. And so I was like I need plants to make my rooms look beautiful. But what I didn’t realize is that these plants ended up being my greatest, most affordable wellness tool that I had in my toolkit. I’m a self help junkie, I’ve struggled with clinical depression my entire adult life, I have done every yoga retreat every juice cleanse every wellness modality, like I’ll try it all you know, I’ve been no there. You know, I’ve been hypnotized. Yeah, all of it. And these just like little potted plants were the things that brought me the most intuitive natural joy. I not only just like felt so empowered, that I was able to go from killing them to caring for them successfully. So like when they grew new leaves and when they bloomed, it made me so happy to see and it made me feel so empowered. But I also started seeing my life reflected back in them. So you know, now I say I dare someone to find a scenario happening in life that I cannot find a plant life parallel to I think if you open your eyes to the wilds of nature, you can learn all your lessons in a couple of potted plants. And I certainly experienced that. And you know, none of my other friends were plant people and all I wanted to do was talk to them about my tomato plant and no one wanted to listen to me. Which was a bummer. I was on Broadway at the time and cats the musical and my my my contracted cats was closing so I was going to be unemployed. And I was an I loved listening to podcasts. So this was in 2017. So podcasts were a thing but they weren’t like crazy the way they are now. Yeah. And I was like, You know what? My job is ending. I’m going to be depressed. I’m going to be unemployed. I’m going to and I kept searching for house plant podcasts on the podcast players and I couldn’t find any Yeah, I could find like a house plan episode on a garden podcast, but I couldn’t couldn’t find something completely House plan focused. Yeah, it was like I’m gonna do a 10 episode podcast about house plants. I know this is crazy. I know my mom might be the only person to listen to it. But this is going to be the thing that helps me stay sane in my unemployment and like a gift of an act of service to other you know, urban millennials like myself who plant care isn’t intuitive for us anymore because we’re so disconnected to nature. And through you know, I can go into the crazy details or just say like through crazy, you know, path of twists and turns. Especially in the pandemic when I lost my performing job because all the theaters closed down. I was able to kind of follow where the energy flowed and turn this planty podcast into a full time job and got a book deal and you know, travel around the country speaking at conferences, and yeah, I can’t believe I do what I do now, but it’s so much fun. And if you want to talk about joy, you know, growing joy, the name of my brand, I’ve really found that reconnecting to nature is a really wonderful opportunity to reconnect with yourself and when you carve that plant based time out for yourself. You really do grow more joy in your life.

Maddy 9:43 Yeah. Oh my gosh, I love that so much. So can you share with us that transition from going from Broadway singing startup all of these things to like committing even just the littlest slight spit to something, in my opinion is show not in the same realm of space zone of genius at all Broadway plants, two totally different things. Like how did you? Is that like? Was it your background of being like, I cannot keep a plant longer than like 30 minutes I touch it and immediately dies? Was that the thing that like made you want to get into this? Or was there some other piece of it where you, you know, knew that you were going to be unemployed? You’re like, I need to refocus myself give myself something productive to do like, how did you make that transition to? From one to the other? I guess is my question.

Maria 10:31 Do you mean the podcast? Or do you mean the hobby of plants

Maddy 10:35 both like the whole making that transition?

Maria 10:37 Yeah, so the hobby of plants truly was nesting like I was nesting with my boyfriend. It was the first time I lived with a boy. It was the first time I really had a home because as a performer, you’re so transient. Like before I lived with my husband before I lived with my husband, I lived with five roommates. You know, we lived in a five bedroom apartment, my rent was like $800 a month because you know, we were all sharing one kitchen. Yeah, it was the first thing I really wanted to have like, a connection with. And I wanted to make our space like really cozy my husband and I also cook a lot. So the idea of having an herb garden and a tomato plant on our balcony was so exciting. And then you know, I’m an Aries. Enneagram three, Human Design six, two, are you

Maddy 11:22 oh my gosh. Well, I’m also an Aries. Enneagram. Three,

Maria 11:27 yeah, Enneagram three, wing four. And then the biggest personality test I’ve taken that’s like completely rocked my world is human designs, normal six, two projector. But anyway, every personality test I take, it’s like, yeah, you’re super intense. And so you know, I hyper fixate on hobbies. And when I do something, I really do it. So yeah, exactly. So that’s. So that was that like, so I literally went from zero plants to 60 plants in three months, I say zero to 60. literally, figuratively, I find that this is actually a very normal experience for a lot of plant collectors. Because you get so excited, like the joy level that gets unlocked in your heart, when you start successfully caring for plants is so intense that you just want to keep collecting more. And in my book, I actually have a chapter on the dark side of plant care, because a lot of people in their first year of caring for plants will get too many plants, and then they’ll get overwhelmed, and then kill all those plants. And then they write it off. But it’s really just that like, it’s like, you know, you taste the best french fries in the world. And then you eat so many French fries. But yeah, if you just ate a few less, maybe you’d feel better. Yeah. Um, and then it’s, it’s kind of the same story with the podcast. I mean, I literally Googled my way through the podcast, too. So I was babysitting on the side. And like, when the baby would go to bed, I would just watch YouTube videos about like, yeah, how to edit a podcast on GarageBand how to make a podcast? Yeah, just like, how to do it. I mean, now, there are so many courses on podcasting, but there wasn’t back then there were just like, a couple of YouTube videos on it. So, um, yeah, I’m just I don’t know, I just hyper fixated. And I’m intense. And when I get when I get an inclination to do something, it’s kind of like, I have to do it, or it’s gonna be physically uncomfortable. And it kind of was like that it was physically uncomfortable for me to not have this podcast until it was out. Yeah. And, you know, I thought it was only going to be 10 episodes, but because the downloads kept doubling, I just was like, and I didn’t book another Broadway show. So I thought I would book another Broadway show much faster than I actually did. So it was, you know, I had more time. So I think, but I actually think too, in the performing arts, we’re very sensitive people because we’re trained. I mean, it’s literally our life’s training to step into other people’s worlds to be empathetic to understand how other people think and feel because that’s who I am and characters. And I think to be a plant person, you’re also very sensitive because I like to say like, plants are green, like little pots of aliens. Looking at you. They can’t communicate with you. Yeah, can speak. They can’t tell you, Hey, I’m thirsty. Can you please water me they’re not a dog or a cat where they could bark or meow at you. You need to cultivate this like extra level of sensitivity with plants that a pet won’t do for you. You know, my bird can start squawking and I know that it wants to play with me or it needs more food or whatever, you know. Yeah. And plants aren’t going to do that. They’re just going to like, wilt and die when Yeah. So I think there’s a level of sensitivity that definitely definitely kind of correlates between the two. It’s interesting. I’ve seen a lot of performers like a lot of people in my performing sphere have gotten into plants. Yeah. And I like to think I’m part of that but also I think I get it I get that the plants as a hobby would make sense for performers. Mm hmm.

Maddy 14:46 Yeah. So I want to touch Are you okay, if we touch on You mentioned having clinical depression Do you mind if we chat about how you dance and having a joyful hobby, having a passion like this has helped you in that mental health is such a huge huge thing I am a clinically diagnosed human with anxiety, high levels of anxiety. I go to therapy every day I was medicated at one point for my anxiety. So mental health and the conversation of that is a huge piece living in sunshine space. So could you share with us as much as you want to, of course, how having this passion, this focus has really helped to serve and support your own mental health and what that’s kind of looked like over the last several years at this point, which is amazing. Since picking this up back in 2018 2019.

Maria 15:31 Yeah, I know. It’s crazy to think that like my last depressive episode was in 2021. And that was like three years ago. Um, yeah. Oh, my God. That’s crazy. Yeah, yeah. So I think it’s twofold. With wellness and plants. I think plants are amazing tools in so many different capacities. But like the two big ones that I see are their mirrors in two different ways. So something that I write about my book was my plans were actually what helped me realize that I was in another depressive episode, and I didn’t eat and I needed to get help. So I think that your garden or your house plant collection is a reflection of your mental state. So if you’re doing well, you’re probably caring for your plants. You’re probably tuned in, they’re thriving. I had a situation where I had a lot of rough. Things happen to me personally, I was also writing my book. It was a very stressful time. It was also mid pandemic, I just cancelled my wedding. They were just for COVID. I still got Yes, but I was like, it was a shitshow. And I looked around and all my plants were so miserable, they were so wilted. They were so unhappy. I mean, I’d killed a few of them. And at this point, I had been podcasting for five years, right. Like, I knew how to care for these plants. And yeah, I just neglected them, right? Yeah. And in this like, Aha moment that I had, I was like, oh my god, I’m these plants. Like, I’m wilted. I’m suffering. I’m, you know, kind of dying on the vine. Yeah. And it was seeing my entire plant collections struggling, that was truly the aha moment for me to be like, okay, got a call, my therapist gotta get back in therapy, gotta call my psychiatrist, gotta go back to the gym. You know, I was like, wow, I haven’t gotten to the gym in six months, I haven’t called any of my friends. I’ve totally isolated myself, I’d moved to the woods as well. So, you know, at once, so there are a mirror in that capacity. Like I think, you know, I had a friend who I gardened with, who got diagnosed with cancer in the middle of her gardening season. And I went to go see her garden when she was in chemo. And her garden was like, totally a wreck. And she just said, you know, I fell apart. And so my garden fell apart. But her garden was incredible when we were gardening together. Yeah. So I do think that plants are just a beautiful way to check in with yourself even on like a smaller scale. You know, when you water your plants, like asking yourself, have I watered myself today? Like, am I traded how I drink? But also, you know, am I watering those areas of my life? That’s really important to me? Did I go to therapy? Did I have a meaningful conversation with a friend on the phone? Did I do all of those things? It’s just this like, physical tact tactical way to interact with your with your thoughts. That doesn’t have to be like strict meditation, because I think for a lot of people, you know, meditation is like the best thing you can do for your mental health. But it’s really intimidating for a lot of people. A lot of people don’t want to sit on a pillow and chant Oh, but they’ll go around in there. They’ll water their plants. Yeah, no, yeah. So I think that’s one side of it. The other thing I think, is just being in the presence will Okay, actually, there’s three sides. So that one side of it. Now, the second side of it is, you know, I said, you know, you can really see a lot of your life lessons and a lot of your life parallels and plants if I say if you tune yourself to their frequency, yeah. And I think with depression and anxiety, a lot of it gets caught up in feeling stuck or ruminating about the future or, you know, ruminating about the past, I had a wonderful therapist once told me that thinking about the future is anxiety, thinking about the past is depression. Yep. And you want to try and stay in the present. And, you know, in the pandemic, I’d lost my job as a performer. I was living in New York City talk about traumatic like living in New York City, and the pandemic was the most traumatic thing ever, like when I think back on it. And I had to make a post about this green wall that I had in my apartment. And I was looking back for old photos of the green wall to show the growth. And I had no idea how much this thing had grown in front of our eyes. Yeah. But, you know, you don’t notice the growth when you’re looking at it every day. But when you look back at photos, you’re like, Oh my God, this thing is growing so much. Yes. And it was like right, although I feel stagnant in this moment as well when I’m trapped in my house in this pandemic. Like, I’m also still growing, right? Like when you see these plants blooming when you see them going dormant when you see them growing a new leaf, like it’s just this reminder that we’re part of something bigger. Which I think when you struggle with some sort of multiple mental health issue, yeah, you get so insular, like, so focused on your own shit. And you like, I don’t know, I call it spinning out like Yes. And out in your own worry. Yep. And sometimes it’s just nice to like, be reminded that the tree outside your, you know, apartment has been around long before you and will probably be around long after you. And that’s very proud.

Maddy 20:37 It’s very grounding. It’s very, very grounding. It’s like, this is a real thing, this plant this tree, this whatever, this is real. I focus on that I can ground myself in this thing that is real. I love that. Yeah.

Maria 20:47 And it takes you back to the simplicity of it all. And, you know, like, we humans with our, you know, everybody calls them like our monkey minds. Like we make it so complicated, but it’s pretty simple. Like, give yourself yeah, and then also for people struggling with mental health, something that might be interesting is this concept called Biophilia? So this so Biophilia? Is this this concept that’s been, you know, written about by lots of scientists that states that basically, as humans were intrinsically designed to recognize other life forms and also have nervous system regulation around other living things. nervous system regulation, such a hot topic right now. Yes. And, you know, plants are living things. And we have so many things in common with plants, we have the vascular system, we have DNA, you know, we grow, we’re living fit, right? Like we’re living things. And so there’s also something like completely beyond your mind that just being in the presence of plants, makes you happier, makes you relaxed, reduces cortisol. You know, there’s all sorts of studies that talk about all the amazing things for your body that happen when you’re in nature. But like, there’s a reason why everybody says My garden is my therapy. There’s a reason why, you know, people feel relaxed when they go camping, or when they go for a walk in the local park. It’s this intrinsic thing that is actually kind of hard to describe. But feels so good when you allow yourself that.

Maddy 22:14 Yeah, I love that. So I am curious. When you kind of jumped into the podcast, you learned how to do this, you started to post on social media and create this community. What did the people in your life who only ever knew you as a performer? Think? Because I feel like in my, in our community, that’s something essential in community, there are so many women who are so passionate about something, but they’re also so fearful about what other people will say, or do or act or feel, or whatever. So could you share with us like, what did the people in your life? What was the reaction when you’re like, I’m starting a podcast or I started a podcast, and this is what I’m doing now.

Maria 22:53 Maddy, congratulations to you. I’ve been on a million podcasts. And no one has asked me this question before.

Maddy 23:00 I love that my work here is done.

Maria 23:01 What a great question. Because I feel like I have so much to say about it. Yeah, I had such impostor syndrome when I launched the podcast. So Real. I didn’t tell my agent. When I launched the podcast when I got a book deal with one of the top five publishers in the country. Yeah, I didn’t tell my agent, my musical theater agent. Because I didn’t want him to think that I wasn’t interested in performing anymore. I now have stepped out of the performing world. But there were multiple years where I was kind of straddling both. Yeah. And I didn’t want my agent to know anything about it. I didn’t want people in the acting world to know, because I didn’t want them to think that I was taking anything else as seriously as I was taking performing. Wow. Even though I was having so much more fun doing podcasts than I was at auditions.

Maddy 23:50 Isn’t that how it’s so funny how that happens.

Maria 23:53 It was so weird. And I remember telling. I think when I got my idea, especially because there were no podcasts like it on the market. Now. I feel like now there are multiple houseplant podcasts. So it’s like, Okay, fine. Do that. Yeah, but I think when I told people originally, I think they were like, okay, that, I guess. Yeah, I remember a friend being like, that sounds interesting. I mean, I don’t know how many people will listen to a houseplant podcast. But let’s try it. Yeah, um, but I think more importantly, I just had this what I call an intuitive whisper that was just like, You must do this. I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t care how stupid this looks. So you, you must do this. You have to do this. And I’m so thankful that I listened to her because I do think there were definitely people in the acting community that were like, Why would you go waste your time on something that has nothing to do with acting? Why would you spend time doing that when you could spend time learning musicals or you could spend time I’m reading plays or you could spend time auditioning or network. Yeah. And it’s so funny because my life is so I had so many dreams as a performer that are now fulfilled as a podcaster. I just could have never like, seen it in the future. So I think you know, I wish you know, I spent my first four or five years like keeping keeping these two lives kind of separate. I had two Instagrams, I had a personal Instagram I have, you know, where I posted my acting stuff. And then I had my podcast Instagram, which is so funny, because my podcast Instagram had so many more followers. Yeah, personal Instagram. Um, so yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s really interesting. I definitely had a few people really question me. And maybe even some naysayers in the beginning. But that intuitive whisper was so strong. And I just listened to her. And I feel like all the good things that come out of my life come from her, like being like, No, and I don’t know if she’s my intuition, or if she’s, you know, whoever she is. I’m thankful to her. And for those in that position, I would say the funny part is now. Now I show up wholeheartedly on my on my podcast channel. I don’t even I don’t even look at my personal account anymore. Yeah. But it’s kind of like the coolest part about me. Like, it’s kind of, it’s fun that I’m this performer that now is a planty podcaster and all these facets to myself, and no one else in the world is like me, like there’s not one other person that has my story that has my, you know, windy road to what I do that has my relationship that has my skill set. And that’s like the what I lead with now, right? Yeah, something that I had so much shame around. And I’m very curious if I had healed that shame earlier, if maybe I would have seen more success earlier on, because I wasn’t like straddling these two worlds, where I was kind of inauthentic in both of them, because I wasn’t really fully in either of them. And it was exhausting. It was exhausting. Sure. I sleep much better now than I did before.

Maddy 27:10 So then that begs the question, How did you? What was that thing that got you to be like, I need to step into this identity, fully, unashamed, fully healed, not worrying about what other people think about me. How did you do that? Because I think it’s one of those things that that’s a big thing people struggle with is they struggled to get started. But then they get started, and they get to where they want to go. And then they’re like, I don’t know if I can commit to this all the way. How did you how did you break through that kind of straddling both sides?

Maria 27:41 Yeah. Oh, my God, another great question, Maddie. I think, you know, you say fully healed, I think the realization I’m coming to is that you’re never fully healed. Like, you’re always a work in progress. The minute you arrive anywhere is the minute the new idea comes in. Like, I’m already thinking about what the next chapter iteration of this brand is, I rebranded last year, and I’m already like, oh, but in five years, like, yeah, it’s gonna be even different, you know. And so I think what I’m trying to play with lately is, what if I never arrive? And what if I’m just always evolving? Because I think a lot of people say, I’m going to launch this podcast, and that’s going to be the thing that makes me feel good about myself makes me launch something. I felt like that about my book, I’m going to come out with my first book, and it’s going to be a best seller and I’m going to blow up and I’m going to be on the news and Yeah, amazing. I was on the news. And you know, I booked did come out and a lot of people have read it, but like, it did not save me it did not heal me like that, you know, all the positive feedback, I got that I got back from the book, like, until I worked on my own shit, it didn’t really matter. So I do feel like a lot of people look at these external milestones as the thing everything’s gonna be okay, if I make this much money, do this, get out of this job, go into this thing, have this many kids whatever it is. What I think really switched for me was doing the inner work being in the mental health space also working on my sister wound and like getting into like female spaces and finding women that I can really trust to be fully myself and lift up I have a lot of residual. If I’m fooling myself, I’m not going to be loved fears. Yeah, no. So I spent a lot of time like digging deep there like a lot of Inner Inner Child healing stuff. Yeah. And I think once I was able to focus on like, my own self worth my own self love, being able to even like for me, it’s such a win for me to even just say, I think what I said a couple of minutes ago was like, that’s kind of the coolest part about me is Yang’s. Yeah, I would have never said that two years ago, like I I would have never admitted that I think I’m cool or that I Think I’m a nice cool, you know? Yes. Yeah, we feel like as women we have to find and be like, No, it’s not really I’m not really that interesting. I’m not really that successful. I’m not really any of these things. Yeah. But like, fuck that. Yeah, literally, it’s really hard to get where I Yes,

Maddy 30:14 I all the time in this space I’m like, Please tell yourself I’m the coolest person I know all the time say to everyday I’m the coolest person I know coolest person I know say it out loud say to your friend.

Maria 30:23 Yes, my husband jokes. I mean, last year, I still do it now. But last year when I was really working on this, like, I was just like, I am so amazing. I’m so amazing. It’s great how amazing I am, you know, like, five times a day because I feel like I just had to. And I started saying it almost as a joke. Yeah. But I started believing it. And you know, I feel like sometimes you have to kind of say it as a joke to yourself, because you’re like, This is so cringy Yes. And then you start to believe it. And then it’s really fun. And then like, you know, I’ve gotten family members to start saying yes, and I’ve noticed you send them and but I really think you’re only going to get the amount of success that you believe you should have. And as someone who really suffered with from really low self esteem for a lot of my life, particularly as a performer where you’re just like told you’re just rejected every single time. I really had to build that self confidence back up. And now also, you know, just, we’re so much stronger than we think. And we’re so much I think we can achieve a lot more than we think so sometimes, you know, just like saying yes to the opportunities that come your way. Yeah. And faking it till you make it. Yeah, you know, I, when I started my podcast I made they weren’t fake. But I like made these business cards on Zillow, you know, whatever that website was, yeah, that said, like bloom and grow radio podcast and have like a fake logo on it. And I like brought them to plant swaps and just gave them out like I was a real thing. I haven’t even recorded a podcast yet. Sometimes you have to just like pretend Yeah, until it’s real. And then it’s real. And you’re like, Whoa, I did.

Maddy 32:05 I love that. Something that I want to just say here. I’ve talked about this on the podcast before but something I want you to start doing is to start a I’m the coolest person I know list if you already don’t already have this, like literally whenever you do something that you think is really cool. Or if you were to see someone on Instagram or your friend or your partner, whoever doing and you would say oh my god, that’s so cool. When you do those types of things in your own life, like literally write it down and keep a growing list. And then every thought that can go back and you can you can you can reference it. I’ve done it for two years now. And it’s with the self confidence and the self belief and doing things that I never thought I would be able to do. It’s so cool to kind of like your your greenwall it’s so cool to like, go back and be like, I love on all of these things. And I call it I’m so cool. Like I’m the coolest person I know list because it’s if your friend was going to do it, and you would tell your friend Oh my god, that’s so cool. Then you need that.

Maria 32:56 Yeah, you should celebrate it. Do you curse on this podcast? Oh, yeah, you can. Yeah, I’ve cursed because my coach in this woman’s circle that I’m a part of. Yeah, like sometimes you just have to remind yourself Who the fuck you are. Oh, amen. Like,

Maddy 33:08 I’m the coolest person. I know.

Maria 33:09 I’m the coolest person. Like I had a I had a moment a couple of weeks ago where I had I went I went spiraling oh my god, you’re such a failure. You suck. You don’t have a business. No one was. Yeah, of course. They never honestly, they never go away. Yeah. And then I was just like, I gotta remind myself Who the fuck I have. And I literally just like, Did you know your list? I love the idea of keeping it in my notes app, though. Yes. Yeah. Because it is. It’s like everyone is so interesting. And it’s not the fact that my podcast has 3 million downloads that makes me so cool. It’s that this morning, I made the greatest latte. I made the greatest coffee. Yeah, drink for myself this morning. made me so happy all day. And yeah, makes me the coolest person I know. You know?

Maddy 33:56 Yes. 100%. I love that. Okay, so something you’ve mentioned a few times that I would love to ask you a question about is being into being intuitive, being aware. And I see all the time. And this is a product of our society of that the hustle culture, that instant gratification. People struggle to be in tune and to listen to that inner voice and to hear it in the first place. So what have you done to be in tune both with yourself with your, your inner your, your inner voice that you mentioned and also with your plants? Right, because I feel like that’s a big thing. What have you done and how did you how did you get there? Because for so, so many people that’s really tough to do because we’re moving too fast. You know what I mean? Great question.

Maria 34:43 Oh, my gosh, another really good. Well, I’m gonna hypes in this in this interview, but yes, so to me, the answer was plants. Because before I went in my plant killer days, I got up with My phone in the morning and I had coffee with my phone. So I had coffee with Instagram or YouTube or Netflix or whatever, right? Yep, all of a sudden, when I started caring for plants, I’d leave my phone in my bedroom. And I’d come and have coffee with my plants in the morning and I’d sit on my little balcony and I’d watch dew drop from a basil leaf. And I’d smell my chives and I, you know, write a gratitude list for a few things I was thankful for. And sometimes I didn’t do anything right, sometimes just zoned out looking at the Do you know? Yeah. And sometimes I was silly. And I would like sing songs to my or whatever. But I just did whatever rose for me that day, some days, I would cry if I was like having a tough day. And I felt like Lance gave me space for the first time in my adult life. It is so easy for us to give our agency away the minute we wake up in the morning and not get it back before we go to sleep. Because we wake up with our phones. And then if you’re like me, you binge Netflix until you fall asleep. And then Netflix is playing as you sleep and then your husband has to come in and turn it off. So it’s so easy not to have a thought, you know, a lot of people talk about, you know, you used to get great ideas in the bathroom, like in the shower, we’re on the toilet. And now we don’t even shower or go to the bathroom without our phone. We take our phones in the bathroom with us. And yeah, it’s kind of gross that I say that. But it’s, it’s so indicative. It’s so intuitive of of the state of our society right now. Yeah. And when you’re with your plants, you don’t want to be on your phone, maybe you want to take a picture of one of your plants to put it on your Instagram, but you don’t want to be on your phone, maybe you play some music. But it’s this interactive, slow time that when you’re caring for your plants, you’re actually caring for yourself, you’re clearing your mind, you’re engaging with plants, you’re basically having a moving meditation. And in those moments, yeah, that’s where you’re going to kind of clear the field to even be able to connect with your own intuition. Right? Yeah. Because enabled to connect with your intuition, you have to find clear space. And once again, a lot of people don’t want to spend 20 minutes a day meditating, I hear you spend 10 minutes with your plants. And when you do that over an extended period of time, it’s like a muscle that you build. And I like to say it’s like, as I say, you look at a plant before you look at a screen in the morning. That’s like the first chapter of my book. It’s a practice that I preach. Yeah, you, you know, it’s like putting your armor on for the day. It’s like making some base for yourself to be with yourself. You know, you can ask, I used to write questions to my intuition all the time. So I would say, you know, why am I really struggling with this? And then I would just free free like, I would Yeah, why am I struggling with this? Or like, you know, why did this person trigger me? And then I would just kind of free? Right? Whatever the answer was, and that was my intuition coming through like answer, but you need to, you need to clear the field in order to even access that inner knowing. So I do think it’s something that can be cultivated, but it is a muscle that’s extremely weak for most people, and that needs to be developed. And for me, the least intimidating, most affordable way to do that is through you know, tending a small garden or attending a small collection of plants. And then, you know, I think in order to, so, clearing the field, and then also connecting with yourself, like little exercises, like, you know, writing those questions to your intuition. Yeah, writing a gratitude list. out asking yourself, like, what do I really want for breakfast today? What do I really want in my coffee drink today? Like not going, you know, identifying where you’re going through the motions in your life, and then really figuring out okay, how can I have some agency if you want to talk about joy? I’ll go back to this coffee today. But you know, I make my coffee the same way. And then I got this new fancy honey. And so I made my coffee special today. And it was like so fun. Yes, yes. Yeah. Happy all day. It’s so silly, but I could have just like gone through the motions and did my normal coffee this morning. But it’s like, how can I just How can I connect with myself a little bit more in any opportunity? And I think with plants connecting with plants, engaging your five senses, so you know, we’re big. Yeah, right. Like,

Maddy 39:27 we don’t do that often enough anymore. By the way, we don’t

Maria 39:33 you know, say you’re watering a house plant, you could just jam your finger into the soil, pull it out to see if the soil needs water and then water the plant and leave on your phone and walk away. Yeah, or you can gently stick your finger in the soil see what the temperature of the soil is cooler soil tends to be wetter than dry, then hot soil which is dry. Pull it out. Maybe you smell you know the soil. There’s all sorts of cool microbes in the soil that you know humans are programmed to to detect Yeah, maybe if you’re growing a scented plant you know you can smell that geranium or oil bloom or whatever. So that’s touch feel if you’re growing edible food you could you know, we used to grow chives that we put in our scrambled eggs in the morning. That was a really cool experience. Also, you know, nature sounds we’ve been blessed by listening to Frankie, my buddies, bird song for this entire session. Yeah, but bird song also like nature sounds like a play maybe nature sounds as you’re caring for your plants. Yeah, but how many of your senses? Can you? Can you indulge? Yeah. Because we shot ourselves off to a lot of them. We date. So yeah, that and then also like, what are all the little things in one pot that I could notice? What does the variation on this leave look like versus this leaf? What pattern? Do the leaves grow on the stem? Are they you know, opposite each other? Are they all on one side? Are they all on the other side? How many stems does the plant have? Like, you can go on and on. But it’s just that subtle. Noticing of things that you wouldn’t notice if you just kind of were going about your day? Yeah, that’s going to like cultivate that muscle? Yeah, yeah.

Maddy 41:17 100%. Okay, one last question for you, for all of our beginner plant mamas out there. Mm, 90 people? What would what would you say? What are three plants that anyone can start with? That aren’t super expensive, high, super high maintenance, anything like that? Easy Ways? Give them get? Let’s get let’s give them a gateway plant to get into this space? If this is something that they want him to do, but they’ve been really overwhelmed. Like, what would your top three start here plants be? Maria 41:48 Yeah, I love this question. I actually, intentionally don’t have an answer, but I’ll explain myself. I love that. So I don’t think there’s the rights. I don’t think there’s one blanket starter plant. I think there are right plants for different types of plant parent personalities. Yeah, so now I’ve spoken to like 1000s of members of my community, I’ve noticed these different archetypes of different plant parents classes, because I’ve taken every personality test. And I’m obsessed with them. So you know, if you’re someone so I’ll give you I’ll do this, I’ll give you three different plant parent personalities love and suggested plans for each one. And also, it’s there. This is a free test on my website, you can go to growing joy with maria.com. And take the test it takes two minutes. It’s so fun. And you’ll get a list of plants and podcasts and all sorts of stuff to nurture nurture you with. Okay, so if you’re someone who travels a lot, maybe you travel for work, maybe you’re a parent to young kids, maybe you like you’re busy like you like plants, you know that you want plants in your life, but you don’t have every minute of the day to be tending to them, then you’re what I like to call a low key plant parent, low maintenance plant parent. And so these are the plants that usually get, you know, quoted as like easy care, like can’t kill plants. But any you can kill any of those plants or I don’t like saying that. So usually plants that are drought tolerant, in case you leave for two weeks, and you got to come back and you don’t want to like higher plants that are so these are like Monstera is philodendron povos. If you like a bookshelf moment with like a plant tumbling down your bookshelf, like a povos is a great choice for that. Monstera great, you know, floor plant that look really structural and architectural and beautiful. Yep. Yeah. Then if you are someone who maybe is coming to plant care for a more mindfulness, mental health, you know, tool, and maybe you do want to engage with your plants on a daily basis, then I would say, you know, you will overwater that Monstera or that dendron or that pose, right? Like if you engaged with that Porthos every day that Porthos is going to turn yellow and rot in a heartbeat. Yeah. Because they don’t want to be watered and taken care of they’re, you know, they want to be on their own. Yeah, but mindful plant parents, you know, that’s the name of that. Personality would love orchids, or air plants and you can spritz every day or higher, you know, humidity of plants, like ferns or Calafia. Or I’m looking at my I’m looking at my plant alocasia are also great. But any type of plant that you can, you know, water more frequently that you can maybe do leaf maintenance or you know, pruning, like might be interesting. Yeah. And then so those are kind of opposites, right. So the low key plant parent would kill any of those starter plants or the mindful plant like they’d kill an orchid so fast. Yeah. And vice versa. And then I also think, you know, urban farmers a plant parent, I don’t talk about a lot but there are someone who wants to grow plants for food, like they want to grow plants for sustainability. Yeah, and that’s Where I would say like you can grow lettuce on your window so and lettuce grows so fast you plant it and you’re like eating it a couple weeks after you plant it, so it’s a really quick win. Yeah. Micro dwarf tomatoes. If you live in an apartment, they’re tiny tomato plants that grow maybe six, six inches. Yeah, adorable. I’ve grown some micro dwarf tomatoes that are the size of a penny. Like there’s so little and cute. You can pick a few just to put on your salad every day. You know, it’s really they’re really nice. You could grow hydroponically too, if you’re in an apartment. I have a huge hydroponic tower that grows all my lettuce and herbs for me in the winter. I live in upstate New York. So yeah, those are three, those are three different but I have other ones if you don’t feel seen and that I just broke down, take the quiz on my, on my website, I got something good.

Maddy 45:52 I love that. Okay, so this is the last question that we have for today. And this is a question I ask every single guest on my show. Sometimes people need to take a second to think about it. So if you need to take a second to think about it, that’s fine. Okay, if someone is listening right now, and they’re saying, oh my gosh, I love this girl, I want to be just like her. What would you tell them?

Maria 46:13 You can do it. I want to be I love this girl, I want to be just like her? Well, I would say you should probably get a few plants. Like me, you should probably start with getting a few plants for you. Um, you should probably get into self development. But I something that I’m playing with is I would say work on your self confidence and your self love because what I’m finding is I’m finding more and more joy in my life, the more and more I get comfortable with exactly who I am and really standing for who I am not wanting to change myself. If I get feedback from someone, you know, if I have a hater, or if I have feedback from someone saying, Oh, we didn’t like it when you did this, me being like, that’s fine. I loved it. I had so much fun doing that. I think there needs to be more women in the world that are joyful, lift each other up, connect with other women and over positivity instead of negativity. Right? Yes, that you keep turning towards the light that you act like a plant right and keeping further. But I think you know, really not being ashamed of your joy and trying to live a joyful life because I think as women, we’re I’m gonna go out on a ledge and assume that most of your listeners are well, yes, yep. Yeah. You know, we’re conditioned to stay small. We’re conditioned to not ask for too much. We’re conditioned to you know, not desire, like, too much. And I’m over that. Yeah. We’re done. Like how good can I get universe like show me how good can this get? How much fun Can I have? You know, while building a business how can I build this business? In a in a fun and flowy way? How can I have you know, female friendships that are super fulfilling and and you know, a marriage that’s that’s really fun. So I trying to send trying to send her that. That was kind of a rambley answer, but

Maddy 48:25 I loved it.

Maria 48:26 I hope that helps. Yeah,

Maddy 48:28 I love it so much.

Maria 48:29 But also plants.

Maddy 48:30 Yeah, all the plants. Maria, thank you so much for being on the show. I had the best time can you please share all the spaces where people can go and find you fall in love with you fall in love with plants? All of those things? Yes.

Maria 48:41 Come fall in love with plants. So I’m growing joy with Maria on all socials growing joy with maria.com that’s where my free quizzes and we have all sorts of free plant, you know, plant care resources. And also if you like plants, or if you like wellness and plants because I have a lot of episodes on how to use plants to live a happier life. You can come hang out with me at growing joy with plants. Right if you’re listening to this podcast, I have a feeling you’re gonna like my podcast too. So go over to your you know, podcast player and subscribe to the growing joy of plants podcast to because we have so many amazing episodes on both how to basically any plant you want to care for. I’m going to go ahead and guess we already have an episode devoted devoted to it. But also a lot of cool episodes on stress relief and house plants. You know horticultural therapy, like all sorts of really cool, cool conversations with really cool people.

Maddy 49:33 I love that. I love that. Maria, thank you so much for being here. I so appreciate you.

Maria 49:36 Thank you.

Maddy 49:38 Thank you so much, girlfriend. Thank you so much for listening to today’s new episode. If you loved it, please send it to a friend share it on Instagram and tag me so I can see and consider leaving the show a rating or a review. Ratings and reviews are kind of like sharing or liking a post on Instagram and they really help the show grow and reach new women just like you be sure to some drive to the podcast so you never miss a new episode and until next week I am sending you all the sunshine good vibes and I hope you make it a great day