“I take a simple view of life: keep your eyes open and get on with it.” – Laurence Olivier
On a long run last night, this flower stopped me in my tracks.
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” – Alice Walker
This beauty was followed by dozens of flitting and playful monarch butterflies swimming through flower patches on the path, floating about in joy and delight. Flowers, butterflies, a sunset pull us out of our spinning thoughts and worries, reminding us of the amazing miracle of life.
God is a creative creator, sustainer and redeemer. He shows us this in nature, in people and in soft whispers in our heart. We are swimming in signs and wonders in seemingly daily “little” things.
Like a flower and butterfly, we go from seed to bloom, from cocoon to butterfly. And in the middle of transformation, we get distracted, confused and discouraged. Keep going. And while you’re on the journey, stop in your tracks and see the depth and brilliance in a purple flower.
Wake up and notice the simple miraculous beauty abound today, tomorrow and the next.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson
We pass through happiness, but we are succumbed by joy. Happiness comes in waves, in achievements, celebrations and milestones. Joy is a state of being, unmoved by circumstances and anchored in each day. Both are good. If I had to choose, I choose joy. It’s deeper, a steady loyal friend.
May you pursue and find joy that lives in a flower, a glance, a laugh, a memory and inside you. And in your pursuit and discovery of joy find a lasting happiness and well of gratitude.
“We can help create happiness, but we are seized by joy. We are pleased by happiness, but we are transformed by joy. When we experience joy we often feel we have glimpsed into a deeper and truer layer of reality.” – David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life
There are days when “rough road” is an understatement.
“Am I blessed? That would be an understatement.” – Amruta Khanvilkar
The rough patches serve their purpose of building patience, resilience, fortitude and trust that God’s got this so we can let go our expectations, ideas, assumptions and rules of what should be. And it can’t be overstated that there are more days that are filled with beauty and peace on the road less traveled.
“Cross the meadow and the stream and listen as the peaceful water brings peace upon your soul.” – Maximillian Degenerez
Go off road. Embrace and succumb to the extraordinary in the ordinary which really is the understatement. Gratitude, grace and joy are gifts that await opening again and again. Breathe in the fragrance of the day and enter fully into now.
“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
“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.