“Life is once, forever.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
This quote is on the top of my ongoing “to do” list to remind me of what is more important than checking off tasks.
With little desire to prove anything or climb “the” or any ladder, I find joy and delight in learning, growing and not making the same mistake over and over again. A few lessons that I remind myself of often include:
- Stop worrying about what others think;
- I can only change myself so stop trying to change others;
- Fear is a liar, do it afraid;
- Love is where it starts and finishes – inside and out;
- Assumptions and judgments are usually wrong so don’t bother, assume the best;
- Intentions matter, action on them matters more;
- Everyone is going through something, be kind;
- Work less, play more;
- Timing is everything, try it again – you may have tried too early;
- Seeds must be planted and cultivated to get a harvest;
- Kids, dogs and flowers bring heaven to earth;
- Faith, love, grace, patience, mercy, joy, kindness are the main ingredients of a good life;
- Water the grass you are standing on right now and watch what blooms.
“The grass is greener where you water it.” – Neil Barringham
I didn’t notice it until I pulled a drooping flower from the bouquet that I got on Mother’s Day from my niece Emily. There was a green plastic straw at the bottom of the daisy. When I slid it up, the flower popped up back in upright position. I looked it up and found that florists use stem straws with certain flowers that have soft stems to hold up the heads. What a brilliant idea.
As I think back on the past few weeks, I am grateful for those stem straws who have propped my head up as struggles have been winning the day. People who remain steady and who say the right thing at the right time and don’t even know it. Abby and Sasha never waiver and are my constant stem straws when circumstances and daily living become too heavy.
When we remain steady and keep going, transformative moments come in due time as we make our way through “dark nights of the soul” periods in our life. Growth comes with struggle and ends with joy. Be open up to new things, be ready to drop old things and trust the process of transitions and transformation. There is a real peace that passes all understanding for each one of us. We need to be open to accept that gift.
Whether we know it or not, we have several opportunities each day to be a stem straw. To prop up and draw another’s eyes up to see a broader perspective beyond the chaos and drama of intense moments. Be a stem straw that provides that extra support that can change someone’s day, change their perspective and offer hope that sustains us to the finish line of fruition.
A somber weekend
Silence and contemplation
Rest and restlessness
The third day arrives
Waiting finishes its course
Easter promise, fulfilled
Time for celebration
For the sun to invite the next season to begin
The gift of Spring
Open and savor
Drink it in
Summer stands by ready for its turn
Not too soon
Not too late
Always in due time
Rend thy chains
“It is the hour to rend thy chains, the blossom time of souls.” – Katharine Lee Bates
“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake
“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” – John Burroughs
While running a few errands this morning to pick up the “must-haves” that I forgot at the store run yesterday, I walked by the flowers and stopped for a moment. And then I thought “why not?” So along with the necessities, I frivolously bought an $8 bouquet of carnations for myself for no reason at all. Often no reason at all turns out to be a very good reason. Flowers are a simple and attainable way to be reminded of God’s brilliance bursting in bud of a flower. Now that’s a very good reason.
We so often look for our circumstances or someone else to give us what we need – flowers, affirmation, acceptance, happiness. We search wide and far, often trapped in the past, yearning for what was or what didn’t happen or caught up too far in the future in worry or waiting for the “perfect” time that is bound to come.
When we pause our busy, errand-running life for a moment, we discover that all that we need is within each of us. And it can be found in daily simple acts of buying flowers, lighting a candle and listening to music. In quiet moments, we find the silence that we need to hear our own voice and chart a path to our own daily contentment.
Go buy some flowers for yourself and enjoy today. Pretty simple.
“On your journey, don’t forget to smell the flowers. Take time out to notice that you’re alive. You can only live in one day.” – Ray Fearon
As we rush onto the next thing on our “to do” list, we race past those daily track-stopping moments. In our nonstop, do more and more with less and less working longer days to create mediocre work, we are losing our sensitivity meter to notice the simple track-stopping beauty that surrounds us right now.
Looking directly into another human’s eyes, an embrace, the sculpture forming in a pile of snow by the mail box, the edges of a flower shining in the sun at a conference hotel where you are working for six 16 hour days, a bouquet of balloons at the same hotel that look like big jewels, your best friend savoring a cookie-frosting first of course, your other best four-legged fluffy friends playing and resting after play. These are the things that stop me in my tracks and make me smile from inside. And they are what matter the most – the symphony in a noisy loud world.
The blessing of the cell phone is not the technology of being on our email 24/7 or on social media liking someone’s dinner choice – that’s the curse. The blessing is the camera that allows us to capture moments that stop us in our tracks, that make us see our blessings while we are in them, that remind us to be grateful, and that show us the stupidity of our never-ending pursuit to be busy and “productive.” Efficiency at the loss of meaning and depth – blah.
Wake up and be open to being stopped in your tracks today. And stop.
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” – Alice Walker
“Everyone was a rose but even more complex than a mere flower. Everyone was made up of infinitely layered petals. And everyone had something indescribably precious at the heart of their being.”― Mary Balogh, A Secret Affair
“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
We put things in a box to make them fit into our limited definition of the world, our history, our assumptions. When we are brave enough to let go of judgment, remove our filters and strip away what we’ve been taught, suddenly, the richness of layers, of hue, of beauty that exists in all beings and nature transform our perspective, challenging our rules and regulations of how things are.
Flowers are God’s way of reminding us of the complexity and depth of His work on earth. In the mystery of a simple flower, we start anew through awe. If a flower can be this brilliant, imagine what we can discover when we dive into the layers beyond the mere surface we skim upon each day. Open your eyes to the details of creation. Petals are unfolding before us in this very moment.
“Any form of complaining is the small self becoming lost in self-importance. So much energy needed for awakening is wasted on complaining. We many not be able to change our external reality, but we can transform the negative thoughts and feelings that are our reaction to that reality. We have a chance to awaken from the nightmare we create through our resistance to what is. Stopping all complaining is one of the first steps. When we cease to complain, we conserve life force for what really matters. A new world begins. Each event becomes a mysterious opportunity rather than an inconvenient vexation. A tremendous amount of life force, once bound up in feeling sorry for oneself, is released. Where there was frustration and self-pity, there is now space for appreciation to bloom. The misguided belief that life should be other than it is dissolves and in its place, acceptance flowers, joy awakens, patience blooms, and peace permeates.” – Ann Mortifee, In Love with the Mystery
It may be justified. It seems reasonable. It seems like it should help, but it makes it worse. Complaining is wasted energy that blocks gratitude. Rather than being a release, it traps us in our thoughts of scarcity, comparison and self-pity.
Last week summed up to be a bust. And I made it worse by letting external things get internal and define my entire week. And then three things happened to shift my limited view, to open up my senses again.
My sister sent me beautiful flowers. A friend texted me after our run yesterday letting me know she noticed I was quieter and that she was thinking about me. I told her I was trying to get my inner “Tigger” back and send “Eeyore” on his way. She told me she likes “Eeyore” too and it’s ok to not be “Tigger” sometimes. And then I walked by a book that I got from a friend years ago and opened it up to the page with the passage above.
These three encounters brought gratitude back into view and where it should remain, front and center. I can’t guarantee that I won’t trip and fall into the complaining trap again. But it’s worth trying to keep space open for the gifts of acceptance, joy, patience and peace.
I am grateful for those kind souls who took the time to notice and offer encouragement and support rather than answers, platitudes or solutions. We sometimes need to be merely seen. Remember, your light can bring someone else’s back. Cast light.
“If we know the divine art of concentration, if we know the divine art of meditation, if we know the divine art of contemplation, easily and consciously we can unite the inner world and the outer world.” – Sri Chinmoy
Out of nowhere, a butterfly appears, gliding by with ease and grace;
A brilliant angel awakening us to the holiness of a moment;
To the magic of mere being;
Bursting with color and curiosity;
Not lingering in the past, nor going too far into the future;
Celebrating the victory of breaking free from the cocoon;
Filled with gratitude and joy;
Showing us how to lighten up, to lay down the load that is not ours to carry;
Resting softly on a fragile pillow of petals.
“Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the Infinite.” – Francis Bacon
“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver
When we get caught up in things not in our control, we forego the simple beauty calling out to us in the details of a mere flower. The complexity in the simple. The delight in a moment. The joy in connection.
Overwhelmed? STOP. LOOK AROUND.
Really look. And the only words that you can possibly utter will be “thank you!”
We have so very much to be grateful for even in challenging times. A purpose for every season to be sure. Wherever you are at, remember that you are enough. You are worthy. You have what it takes.
Lighten up. Savor now. And drink in the color and beauty in simple details. In the miracle of a flower.
“And suddenly you just know…it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” -Meister Eckhart
“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
We have the capacity and calling to transform. To become new and be renewed. From cocoon to butterfly. From 40,000 miles on the road to colorful plant holders on the curb.
Never underestimate the potential in the dawn of each day, in a new beginnings. Magic and beauty. Delight and awe. Sheer wonder. We have many lives within our one life. It all ties together despite the our understanding in this moment. Trust is good. Faith is real.
Let it unfold and dive into uncertainty and discovery. Into the holy and sacred. It’s happening now. Your tires are being retreaded as you trod on.
More change, more mystery? Hell yeah – bring it on!