Today, mommy received a bouquet. It was a surprise. The bouquet contained a dozen red roses tucked alongside delicate sprigs of snowy baby’s breath.
Mommy was delighted by this gift. She gently arranged the flowers in a glass vase and tied a sheer red ribbon around it. She looked at the floral arrangement from different angles to admire its beauty. She even captured their exquisiteness in her camera.
At one point, I felt neglected when mommy failed to pay attention to my meows. She was preoccupied sending images of the flowers to her friends instead.
She described the “deep ruby red tone of the long stem roses” and the “tender allure of the baby’s breath” to others over the phone. As she fussed over the bouquet, not once did she use lyrical language to describe my “soft velvety fur” and “deep hypnotic eyes”. Hard to believe that flowers were able to distract her from my beauty!
What is it about flowers that captivate people? Why do they send people into a frenzy of inspiration? Just think of the countless poems, songs, paintings and writings (including this one) devoted to flowers.
Flowers with their ethereal beauty are mesmerizing. They seem to have spellbinding effects that transport the minds of even the biggest cynic into a world of splendour, even if momentarily.
With flowers, we cannot help but notice the magic and beauty that surround us, even in the midst of suffering and pain.
They are symbolic, just like the lotus flower in Buddhism. The lotus blooms from the most unlikely of places – muddy swamps. No matter how delicate they may seem, they are able to blossom under the harshest of circumstances.
Real & metaphorical flowers
Flowers represent beauty in its most spectacular form, reminding us of the vast potential in this universe, including infinite possibilities within ourselves, no matter what our circumstances. Just think of the times when “flowers” in your life bloomed in the midst of difficulties and even hopelessness.
These “flowers” could be in the form of people who entered into your life when you least expected. Their presence, whether long- or short-term, brought forth grace, beauty, joy and inspiration, changing the course of your life for the better.
In mommy’s case, it must have been when I came into her life.
Or these “flowers” could be creative projects or lifelong goals you held, which manifested against all odds, while others noticed in awe.
You could even notice the daily “flowers” that emerge into your awareness to bring you joy and beauty, for the sake of bringing you joy and beauty. It could be a beautiful smile from a stranger, a delicious cupcake, or a pleasant breeze brushing against your skin.
I could of course go on about countless ways flowers inspire us. And I can continue to list the many “metaphorical flowers” we come across every day. In fact, I would encourage you to take notice of the “real flowers” and the “metaphorical flowers” in your life. This will take you to a place of instant gratitude. This will also stop you in your tracks to shine a light on the multitude of magical moments in your life.
Transiency of the moment
Mommy was clearly entranced and lost in a sea of admiration for these flowers. But, what struck me the most was when I heard her sigh as she expressed that “it’s too bad that they will soon wither away”.
At that point, I realized that she tried to crystallize the magic of the moment through photographs. This was her way of immortalizing the flowers.
I also realized that when people are awed by great beauty, they can also dread its transiency. They become hyper-aware of the loss and mortality that will inevitably ensue. Whether people are conscious of this hyper-awareness or not, flowers at their full bloom are a full-on reminder of the fleeting nature of everything, including what we cherish the most.
If flowers were permanently in bloom, would they evoke the same reactions in people as they do now? Why don’t they blossom forever? What messages are they sending us? And what can we learn from their brief presence?
The messages and lessons are of course as countless and boundless as the multitude of flowers that come into our awareness.
The most clear messages and lessons I can think of are that we are surrounded by beauty, grace, inspiration and joy, no matter who we are or where we are in our lives.
Additionally, they teach us the powerful lesson of letting go, especially what we want to hold on to the most. To let go of circumstances, people, conditions and ultimately our lives as we know it in this ephemeral physical reality.
They don’t blossom forever because the human mind in its unconscious form does not notice what is constant. Flowers in bloom can jolt the unconscious mind into waking up and taking notice, even for a brief moment.
They don’t last forever because the magic of the moment would be gone if they did, and their power to stop the unconscious mind in its tracks would diminish if they were permanent. Their impermanence gets people’s attention, and can instantly put many into a state of appreciation and even gratitude.
But most importantly, they are not permanent, so that mommy can finally stop being distracted by them and pay attention to me instead!
What’s growing in your muddy swamp?
As difficult as it may be at times to accept impermanence in what we love, flowers whisper to us that beauty can flourish and will flourish again and again in many forms, including in places we least expect.
They are treasures that may be out of view at times, but they are quietly growing, even in undesirable places. Often, it is the undesirable places and conditions that foster qualities such as drive, innovation, resourcefulness and resiliency, serving as fertilizers for the “flowers” in people’s lives to grow.
Just like the muddy swamps that are needed for the lotus to emerge, the difficulties and challenges in your life create the conditions for your potential to sprout. These are potentials that you may never otherwise have cultivated, enabling the hidden flowers in your life to surface in ways that surpassed what you thought were possible.
You may not know what is transpiring beneath the muddy swamps in your life at times, but these hidden treasures will grow in spectacular ways when the time is ripe.
For now, as the phrase goes, “don’t forget to stop and smell the roses” that you encounter, no matter what your circumstances.
Mommy finally came to her senses to notice the real flower in her life. She just placed me onto her lap and lovingly whispered “you’re my most precious little furry flower”.
With loving purrrs,
P.S. This is dedicated to a little cub.