There is a certain beauty in wildflowers that is a little hard to put into words. I first became fascinated with Cosmos (Mexican Aster) when I was in graduate school in New Mexico. The feathery greens, bright punches of color and ability to thrive even under gross neglect seemed so symbolic, and in many ways speaks to stretches of my life experience.
The Cosmos flowers can stand from one to five feet tall and never require support, despite having a relatively thin stem. Cosmos are pest-resistant, and when fertilized, tend to grow more green than flowers. Even after days without water in triple digit summer heat, the flowers remain beautiful, and the green lush.
You may be wondering how in the world I am drawing a connection from neglect-loving, thin stemmed flowers to living an exquisite life. It is simple, and on this lovely Earth Day, it seems fitting to draw some connections from nature.
- Appearances can be deceiving. People often appear one way on the outside, yet what is inside is very different. I think of Audrey Hepburn as a shining example of a person who appeared very soft on the outside, and yet was possessed with admirable strength and conviction of character (after retiring from acting, she became special ambassador to the United Nations UNICEF fund helping children in developing nations). We also see the opposite: someone who appears very strong on the outside, and yet is suffering on the inside. In both examples, what we see on the outside is quite different from the real inside story.
- You have everything you need, and ample reserves. There are times in life when you may feel depleted, as if you do not have energy or resources to continue. The truth is, however, that we always have everything we need, with plenty of reserves. Think of a time when you did something very physically challenging (for me, running or pushups), and in the moment when you wanted to give up, your body came through for you. You found the extra something you needed to finish, to get where you needed to go, or to feel virtuous about crushing a challenge. Whatever your reasons, my point is simple: often our brains scream at us based on old garbage messages, when in reality we have plenty of energy to keep going.
- There is no need to over-protect ourselves or our loved ones; we thrive and grow from our experiences. Sometimes people over-water and over-fertilize their gardens and end up with mushy, squishy mud. The same is true in life. You do not always need to go get more information before taking-on a challenge. You do not always need to gear-up for what lies ahead in order to protect yourself. Sometimes for ourselves and for our loved ones, we really need to learn to let go and trust. Trust ourselves, trust the process, trust our source.
- Stand tall, no matter how frail you may feel, no matter how strong the wind. Be flexible and allow yourself to bend, but not break. If you break, you know how to repair yourself already, don’t you? Stand firm in who you are, grounded in that calm knowing, and trust in yourself, the process and your source. You’ve got this.
You see, we are like the Cosmos; delicate yet strong, self-sufficient yet interconnected, vulnerable yet protected, flexible yet firmly planted. Know that you’ve got what it takes to accomplish anything you dream and reach an absolutely exquisite sense of fulfillment and unspeakable joy. You are worth it, and the journey is worth it.
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.
"Love is the only flower that grows and blossoms without the aid of the seasons." - Kahlil Gibran