What can we learn from moss? It turns out, quite a bit. Like, did you know that mosses can lose up to 98 percent of their moisture and still survive to restore themselves when water is replenished? Wow, the stuff is nearly dead… it certainly appears to be dead… and yet, it can make a full recovery back to health. There is an important lesson we can learn from moss.

When moss dries out, it goes dormant.

When a significant portion of its water content is removed, moss may look like it’s dead, but it’s exactly this trait which enables it to survive droughts. This resilient plant can resist harsh conditions by going into shut-down mode.


If so, you may be experiencing your own drought and you’re certainly not alone. Everyone’s talking about The Great Resignation, something I wrote about in August here. Because we’re working under more stress, in new environments, and alongside others who are experiencing the same level of anxiety. And possibly to add to all that, we’ve suddenly realized that we don’t really love our job / boss / company / fill-in-the-blank.

TAKE HEART – and learn from moss 💚

You see, moss may have browned, but as soon as it senses hydration, it opens up to soak in the water. And only when it’s had enough to drink, do the leaves fold back in. So your leaves may be closed inward right now, but stay alert for what you need. And as soon as you sense it, open up and absorb all that you can. And rest assured that you will return to thriving. Check this out: one type of moss, Anoectangium compactum, can survive 19 years without water.

OK, here’s a separate fun fact… and another lesson we can learn from moss.

Mosses don’t have roots.

This is also why they absorb water directly through their bodies, because they lack the ability to transport food and water from roots (That said, they do have these things called ‘rhizoids‘, which help the plant grip the ground). Now here’s one of the benefits of not having roots: moss is quite easy to transplant.


Moss can be lifted from rock, tree or ground, and with relative ease, placed in a new place to thrive. Roots aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but what if we imagined ourselves as soft, spongy mosses… instead of deeply-rooted, hearty trees? Perhaps we’d see ourselves as more agile, and cling less tightly to places and things. Perhaps we’d loosen our grip.

All of this reminded me of this post last year, where I shared the Chinese version of “down to earth.” The Chinese phrase is beautiful: 接地气 (jiē dì qì), or “connected to the breath of earth.”  I love this concept of channeling the pulse of a living organism. It’s about being sensitive to, and plugging into a larger whole. Maybe that’s exactly what moss does.

P.S. In my moss research, I came across this cute site that sells moss ball pets. I’m going to buy one and remind myself of the lesson we can learn from moss.

References: Mosslovers.com, Gardenmyths.com, plantophiles.com. Photo credit: Wallpaperfx.com