Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Freedom to be. Beautiful

I love flowers. Which is a really really incomplete and simplistic statement of the deep satisfaction I get from having flowers around me - from cultivating & nurturing them, as well as from looking at and photographing them. And sometimes even from attempting to paint them.

People have asked me in the past what my favourite flower is, and I find it as hard to choose as I do for a favourite book or a favourite word. There is such a variety of colours, shapes, textures, scents - how could one ever be better than the other?

Since moving into my almost-empty nest I've been studying a design/lifestyle book called Apartment Therapy. While the book was written for people who are tired and stagnant in their home spaces, I thought I would be pro-active and follow the steps as I settle in and design my space around my new life. I can't say that I've perfectly followed the eight week schedule, largely because I haven't had the money to do take on some of the design and decor issues I've identified, but it has been a great resource for settling in, planning, and generating ideas for how my space will be in about a year.

One thing I have made sure to do though is follow the suggestion to buy myself fresh flowers every week. Each Friday, no matter what else I have going on, I make sure to replenish the bouquet on my table. Most weeks I've tossed out the old, but some of the flowers have been long lasting and ended up blending with whatever came next. Right now I have a stunning batch of bright orange lilies mingling with sweet-faced white spotted alstromeria.

I look at them - the brightness. The vibrancy. The simple joy of them. And I am reminded every time that the flowers don't have to do or be anything to bring joy and beauty to the world. They are simply and fully themselves. There is nothing wrong as they begin to wither. As they are recut, dead-headed, trimmed and re-arranged. They have simply done what they can do - what they were created to do - and moved on. As Matthew pointed out, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

It seems I am not the only person who sees deeper lessons in the gift of flowers. A friend sent me a link today to this online project, which immediately spoke to my heart. The Lily Movement uses the simple elegance of the lily to honour, connect, and encourage people. Pamela's vision is

... to create a virtual global flower garden, both in the form of lily paintings and in the form of people….recognizing that each of us is a flower, so to speak, in this garden we call Life…on Earth. And to see how far across the world this “garden” can spread.
I'm moved by the kindred-spiritness of what Pamela is creating. It's simple and lovely, much like flowers themselves. Pamela also donates 20% of her proceeds to worthy causes, and that's something I can always get behind.

Go bloom. Be your own unfurling blossom. And I think I'll continue on that journey myself.


  1. I love this. I recently went through a very deep and profound depression. One of the things that helped get me through was fresh plants and flowers. Simple store-bought flowers, but I needed them. It was winter, snowy and cold outside. Having something alive and vibrant in my house was a gift.

  2. Funny, as soon as I saw that title, I was going to add that bible verse in comment. Glad you beat me to it.

  3. If a FLOWER can have that much cathartic affect, how much more can a person purposefully blooming affect those around him or herself?

    Powerful metaphor, Shan, thanks.


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