"Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way back to God, to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it or hold it and let it be without imposing a word or mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you." (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, 2005, p. 26)
It's funny: Up until not too long ago, I didn't really understand the purpose of growing flowers. Vegetables and fruit, yes - but not flowers. They are nice to look at, but I wondered: What purpose do they serve other than to be beautiful? Since childhood, I watched my mom labor in her flower garden and knew that she loved her flowers - but I just didn't get it.
But now I do.
|Crocuses in my mother's garden|
I experienced my first awakening one summer evening several years ago when a floral fragrance from a neighbor's garden drifted in through an open window. It occurred to me that I was benefiting from someone's act of kindness, for flower gardeners grace their surroundings with intoxicating scents that can travel on a wind, catch us unaware, and uplift our spirits. I felt grateful to whoever it was that took the time to plant and care for the flowers I was smelling - the fragrance of a neighbor's joy and love.
A couple summers ago, I was feeling a little down while walking a labyrinth in a local park. All of a sudden I stopped in my tracks because I noticed - really noticed - an orange flower near the edge of the labyrinth that called to me and transported me instantly into a state of intense awareness of beauty and unity - at-one-ment. That was the day of my great awakening to the energy of flowers.
|The cosmos that awakened me|
Flowers are my current photography obsession. Something about the way they dare to bloom speaks to me and inspires me deeply at this time. And I am really feeling their energy.
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -Anais Nin
With grace, each of us blooms in our own time, when the conditions are right.
And flowers can help us along the way, as portals of awareness.
After a particularly harrowing day this week, I left work with such an adrenaline rush and couldn't get on the river quickly enough. I paddled until the adrenaline had run its course and I returned to my senses, able to hear the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore, feel the warm sunshine on my face, and notice the beauty of the budding trees. The river (which, as if mirroring my energy, was not particularly calm) removed my mask of anger, revealing the great sadness beneath it. And then I felt compelled to be around flowers.
I retreated to the labyrinth, now surrounded by thousands of daffodils of different colors and sizes and hyacinths still closed tight in purple buds.
As I walked the labyrinth, I felt calmed and uplifted by the silent energy and delicate beauty of the flowers. It was as if the flowers were my witnesses, emitting healing energy and - along with the birdsong all around - realigning me with a higher truth. Perhaps the flowers were mirrors reflecting my own innermost essence that is not disturbed by the dramas of the world. Surrounded by this gentle, supportive energy, my footsteps slowed as I continued deeper into the labyrinth, until I was immersed fully in walking meditation and peace. By the time I exited the labyrinth, I felt taller and stronger - much like a flower growing toward the sun. That was no small miracle given my physical and mental state prior to the river and labyrinth experiences.
Flowers are among the best teachers and healers I have known.
I resonate completely with what Eckhart Tolle has written about flowers:
"Flowers can become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting and ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerge, are like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only have a scent that is delicate and pleasing, but also bring a fragrance from the realm of spirit." (Eckhart Tolle, Oneness with All Life, 2008)The more disharmony and insanity I feel in my environment, the more passionate I am about finding beauty and goodness. And it is always present, if you take time to notice. I often go outdoors before or after work in search of my daily dose of beauty and inspiration. I walk slowly and contemplatively, connecting deeply with the flowers, birds, or whatever else captures my attention. When I am guided toward a life form that appears to be serving as a conduit for the "formless" realm to come through, I focus my camera with reverence, hoping to preserve the manifestation so it can be shared with others. I photograph moments when I sense a spiritual message or energy coming through the natural world.
This daffodil shoot pushed up through a leaf:
I live for moments like this when all of a sudden the sun shines through an opening in the clouds at just the right angle, illuminating the flowers like stained glass. And I truly believe that flowers live for such moments, too, and somehow benefit from being noticed and appreciated - loved - by humans.
Moments of clarity, transparency, and wholeness. Of accepting the present moment as it is and reaffirming the "yes" that propels us through life and keeps us growing toward the light.
And of course, we can't do it all on our own.
I am so grateful for everything and everyone that helps our world to awaken and bloom!
And - as an aside - naturally I named this month's full moon...
Note: The images in this post are now available through my Etsy shop as a set of note cards or as individual prints.
© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.