The bud stands for all things, even for those things that don't flower, for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing; though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness — from the poem "Saint Francis and the Sow" by Galway Kinnell
I adore flowers — in all their shapes and permutations. It is rare that there aren't fresh flowers — usually three or four vases' full— scattered around my house.
There is something about flowers that speaks to me of true beauty, the "rightness" of the universe and the magical, wondrous nature of life itself.
Because I'm committed to my own growth and development as much as I am committed to supporting this in others, I am participating in the Future Thinking program from the Center for Authentic Leadership in Atlanta, led by the amazingly gifted coach/teacher Jan Smith. (Working with her is changing my life in so many profound ways.)
The website states that part of the purpose of the program is "creating a life rich in achievement, fulfillment and enduring contribution from one's unique gift, purpose and legacy."
With Jan's coaching, I've come to see that part of my gift is "to appreciatively and sensuously touch into the unique thumbprint" of myself, others and the world around me. As way to "see" this concept more fully, Jan has me working with flowers as a metaphor for appreciating and touching into the beautiful flowers others are — and that I am myself.
I now look at flowers in a whole new way — as offering me not only their inherent beauty, but also as teaching me how I might bloom, grow, and shine in the world more fully.
I seek out books on flowers. Visit botanical gardens and garden centers. I have several wonderful pieces of flower-themed jewelry. I take pictures of flowers. Hang artwork of flowers in my office. I study flowers up close. And, yes, I stop and smell the flowers more often.
This is my (long-winded!) way of introducing a regular feature of this blog …
Each week, I will study a flower and look at the flower in a way that might open up some insight for me into the beauty and nature of life — and into a deeper understanding of myself and what I am blooming into.
I am doing this for myself, but perhaps you will find an insight that opens something up for you, too.
For the inaugural Flowering Friday, let's take a closer look at the gerber daisy…
According Wikipedia's entry on the flower: "Gerbera species bear a large capitulum with striking, two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink or red colors. The capitulum, which has the appearance of a single flower, is actually composed of hundreds of individual flowers." (And I thought I bought only three flowers yesterday.) From this insight, I wonder…
What depths are there out there that I'm not seeing because my lens is limited? What are all hundreds of flowers within myself that create this beautiful bloom I am?
I love this phrase: "two-lipped ray florets." There is something about gerbers that makes them more, well flowery, in their blanket of petals. And two-lipped sounds to me like a way of speaking. (What is the gerber saying? "Bloom big," I hear. "Color your world brightly. The petals catch your attention, but the center is where the heart is.") And rays — a way of radiating out and connecting.
Part of what attracts me to flowers is the way the petals draw the eye into the center, which for me is the most interesting part of the flower. (I see the center as holding the sacred essence and mystery of the flower.) It's like the sun — we feel the rays reaching out to touch us and connecting us back to the source.
What rays do I put out to draw people into experiencing my sacred center? How do I reach out in a way that connects and pulls in (rather than push away)?
I notice that I'm more drawn to these kinds of exuberant flowers. (I also love sunflowers, which is in the same family as
gerber daisies). And part of what I'm working on in my own development
is how to be open and vulnerable with the fullness of myself.
I see the gerber as bold and celebratory (so richly colorful...so many petals...standing so singularly proud on its stalk).
And yet vulnerable, too. Its stalk can sometimes wilt. The flowers I bought yesterday have clear plastic "straws" that the gerbers stand in — a strengthening sheath of support.
How can I share my exuberant beauty and stand tall in that? When I feel vulnerable, what will hold me upright?
I especially love this final picture because of the black center, looking like a peephole into the infinite. Even in real life, there is tremendous depth to the center of this flower — as if I could put my finger into it and never reach a stopping point. For me, I see the smallness of the flower and the vastness of the universe, united.
Where in my center am I connected to the larger forces of the universe? How can go deep inside to find the beautiful truth that is inside me — and everyone?Good questions for me to ponder as I head into the weekend…
Now, tell me, what do you see in this flower? How would you answer these questions?
You can ponder in your heart, or share a comment below.