“Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?” – Alice Walker
“For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.” – D. H. Lawrence
No special occasion. No waiting on someone else. On the weekly grocery list. I buy flowers for myself like I buy lettuce. Nutrition for the soul to savor the fragrant brilliance found only in a party of fresh blooms. Each one unique, brimming with beauty. Showing off as they should. Unapologetic.
A florist once advised me that to make the flowers last longer, freshen the water daily. Solid advice for living too. Dump out the stale, clouded water and begin each day a new. Fresh water, fresh blooms.
“Living the focused life is not about trying to feel happy all the time…rather, it’s about treating your mind as you would a private garden and being as careful as possible about what you introduce and allow to grow there.”― Winifred Gallagher
With rapt attention, the bee moves into the center to fulfill her purpose. Pick your flower and dig in.
“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few.” – Emily Dickinson
Care for and guard your garden. Clarity comes in slowness, unfolding in gentle solitude of an open heart. Wonder, possibility and awe follow.
Never stop asking or answering Mary Oliver’s question “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
The focused, wild and precious life. One attention-rich day at a time.
“The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.” – Edvard Munch
“The artist discards all theories, both his own and those of others. He forgets everything when he is in front of his canvas.” –Georges Rouault
Rather than merely seeing an old wall on an industrial building, someone saw a blank canvas and painted a beautiful flower. When we look at the same old things in new ways, the same becomes new, our vision expands and understanding deepens.
Look at each day, each moment with new eyes, with your imagination. Where can you paint a beautiful flower, plant a seed in a heart?
Imagination and creativity are in all of us, no exceptions. Blank canvas, colors in your imagination, flowers in bloom all around. Start painting!
“Your inner knowing is your only true compass.” – Joy Page
“Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.” – Elie Wiesel
Even flowers know to lean into the light. Light warms the heart, exposes color and hue, cultivates gratitude, builds resilience and pulls us from the depths of indifference. Lean to the light and let it do its work on you.
“Pay attention to the beauty surrounding you.” – Anne Lamott
“Everyone is flailing through this life without an owner’s manual, with whatever modicum of grace and good humor we can manage.” – Anne Lamott
There’s a depth and complexity to life that walks in tandem with simplicity and beauty. A mix of mystery, joy, light, loss and abundance.
Remain in each moment, fully immersed. It is part of the fabric, the story and the journey that we are all on and share. No manuals, no 10 quick steps to instant success. Starts and stops. Left and right. Up and down.
Pay attention. Beauty and light. Grace and humor.
“The key to nature’s therapy is feeling like a tiny part of it, not a master over it. There’s amazing pride in seeing a bee land on a flower you planted – but that’s not your act of creation, it’s your act of joining in.” – Victoria Coren Mitchell
Each day, hide in plain sight, under the radar;
Tune out the noise;
Reflect, rejoice and renew;
Take a deep breath and tap into the sweet nectar of ordinary days;
Listen for and to your own song;
Re-enter the world anew;
Join in and find your place.
“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.
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
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