This week, I noticed the green darts of daffodils and tulips poking through the (finally) snow-free soil in our yard. Groups of them have bravely sprouted up and are now several inches high.
I wonder how the flowers know the ideal conditions they need to bloom.
You don't see any daisies or irises out this time of year.
Oh no, they are still snuggled safely under their winter blankets, quite content to allow their bold, early-blooming friends be braze the finicky winds of March.
But the tulips and daffodils, well, this is their season. I imagine them peeking out in the brisk Wisconsin air, and bellowing, "Man, this weather rocks."
I think part of what makes flowers so beautiful is that they know their ideal conditions and honor them.
The columbines bloom best in moist soil, under the dappled shade of trees.
The poppies, prima donnas they are, love to be in full sun.
Lilacs are pretty flexible in any soil, but they need regular pruning to bloom their best.
Knowing their ideal condition is what helps these flowers grow and bloom fully.
I'm giving two presentations tomorrow at the Fox Valley Power of the Pen Writer's Conference — one called The Magic of Your Muse: Creative Flow and the other on Social Media for Writers.
The background for both is around identifying your ideal conditions — how do you like to work? what kind of environments do you flourish in? what support do you need to really thrive?
When I talk with writers, I'm never one to advocate a one-size-fits-all approach.
Instead I see myself as a seed giver of possibilities, asking some questions and sharing some ideas so that the writer can then identify what will work best for them.
Like all the flowers that exist, there are myriad ways to be a writer. Each unique. Each needed. And each perfect that person.
Some writers are early birds. Some need a deadline. Some love coffee shops. Some need a writing buddy.
There is no right or wrong way. Only the way that works best for that writer, based on natural inclinations and preferences.
What's interesting is that sometimes writer (and you and me) get the misguided belief that our preferences are wrong. That somehow our innate desires are wrong.
But imagine what would happen if the tulip waited to bloom until August when it's so hot and dry.
It would wilt over in a heartbeat.
Sure, it sometimes take creativity to find ways to meet our ideal conditions.
I'd love a little studio in Paris with large windows that look out on market and a park about now.
(And I truly believe if I really, really, really wanted it I could make it happen. But Wisconsin is our chosen home for now.)
So instead I'm meeting the part of my ideal condition that needs lots of light and outdoor beauty by putting my desk in the sunroom, surrounded by windows and looking out at the woods and the river that flows belows.
What's important here is that we honor our inner-knowing of our ideal conditions as part of our unique essence, and then get creative and committed about about making space for them in our lives.
I am enrolled in a really powerful six-week teleseminar class with a wonderful and very talented coach, Laurie Gay, called Guerilla Weight Loss.
I was drawn to her class because I was tired of hating my body and obsessing about what I could and couldn't eat. I missed truly savoring food, and noticed (some 18 pounds later) how much I used food to comfort me as I grieved everything that has happened over the past six months (this, of course, isn't a recent pattern, just one that I turned to in my moment of pain).
I am learning a ton about feeling my feelings, really noticing my hunger and fullness and discovering how to feast on life instead.
This week some of our homework was around identifying the conditions that are ideal for "thinness."
For me, I identified a close circle of friends, time for play, purposeful work, sunlight and outside time, self-love and exploring as thin-producing.
Staying inside, working until 2 a.m. when my body wants sleep, self-loathing and making no time for reading as downright oppressive.
I so believe we each have a customized "sweet spot" of conditions — the right soil, amount of sunlight and water and environment — in which to thrive.
Whatever it is you want to "bloom" in your life, think about the ideal conditions you might allow yourself to nurture your dream most fully.
Tell me, what are some of your ideal conditions in which you thrive?
Image: Tulips my sweet husband brought me last week, March 2010
Flowering Fridays is a weekly look at flowers through the lens of what they might teach us about flowering fully in our life. Past editions are here.