Today’s prompt over at NaPoWriMo talked about the language of flowers and linked to a Victorian flower meaning archive. Although it was interesting finding out the meaning that the Victorians ascribed to flowers, I feel more moved to write a poem about what flowers mean to me…
Flowers. I have always loved them,
since before I knew what love was.
I just knew they were beautiful, delightful,
alluring, magical, mysterious,
silent jewels receiving the life
they had opened into.
As a child I spent my days outside
and one of my clearest memories
is of a carpet of clover blossoms
and dandelions in my parents’ yard,
glimmering in the bright sun.
I remember picking wildflowers in college
as I hiked the Appalachian trail
and drying them to decorate my dorm room.
I remember buying myself a gorgeous,
lush, big, bright bouquet of roses, lilies
and other cheerful beauties
the first Valentine’s Day after my children’s father
decided his heart was elsewhere.
And just this week my children collected
many spring blossoms to decorate the house;
we had tiny vases and bigger ones
of wildflowers, maple blossoms, flowering cherry,
and maybe a couple of blooms from the neighbors’ yards.
Today I’m on edge because my kids are arguing.
I’d like to become like a flower—
Still, silent, letting the light open me
to my fullest expression of beauty,
my only purpose in life…
It’s up to me.
I choose how I go through this.
I choose my response.
The old habit may be to panic,
catastrophize and focus
on what could go wrong,
but this habit isn’t helpful.
It isn’t life-affirming,
It doesn’t enable me
to offer my gifts to the world.
Why not breathe?
Why not practice gratitude
for what could be
an incredible opportunity
for awakening, for transformation?
Why not envision
a realm of infinite possibility?
Let’s collectively create
a brand new habit called:
awakening to our blessings,
offering our gifts in service
to the greatest good!
I’m discovering that I need people to be happy.
I’m noticing that when I’m around people
I feel good.
I feel happy.
But when I’m by myself,
I become depressed.
I don’t eat.
I feel worthless.
I’m trying to bring more
into my life,
but connection takes time and energy.
How do I find the energy and motivation
when I’ve been alone for so long
that I’m feeling heavy and depressed?
What came first…the loneliness or the depression?
I sense that I’ve had this feeling for a long, long time.
Even as a child some part of me knew
I needed deep, meaningful connection,
and when I was made to be in groups
where only superficial connection was taking place,
I felt drained, listless.
I decided that I was better off by myself.
I labeled myself as an introvert,
and I’ve spent a lot of my life just wanting to be away from people.
But now I see a distinction to be made.
Connection is so much more
than being with someone for the sake of not being alone…
It’s being together with a sense of purpose,
engaging in co-evolution, exploration, sharing, growth.
Relating heart to heart, mind to mind, soul to soul—
this is what I yearn for.
I was at home,
and it struck me…
If I’m feeling bad
and there is no one around,
I’m the one making myself feel bad.
If I’m feeling good
and there is no one around
I’m the one making myself feel good.
My thoughts are determining how I feel,
and this is true,
but only 100% of the time.
If this is true
when I am alone,
then it is true
when I am with others.
I can blame others
for making me feel a certain way,
but in the end,
I choose how I feel inside myself
based on how I respond
to the external circumstances of my life.
That sure is a lot of responsibility…
No wonder so few people take it.
There’s a fire in my belly,
a drive to speak, to move,
to bring something up and out,
something strong, courageous,
something helpful, meaningful.
I pray to God…
Guide me to know what to do with this fire.
Let me express it in a way that it will warm
instead of burn,
help, instead of hinder.
Let this time here be meaningful.
Show me how to serve in a way
that brings us together
and lifts us up.
“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Could I be grateful for even this?
Could I love even this?
Could I train in seeing meaning
in everything around me,
and could this meaning
bring an end to my suffering?
On the eve of my 41st birthday
and I’m feeling depressed.
My life has fallen apart,
husband with another woman…
they’re out tonight
at a Passover Seder,
at the home of a couple
who used to be my friends;
now they’ve accepted her as his,
and I am home with our children,
picking up the pieces of our wrecked life,
trying to maintain stability for them…
and I feel angry.
I feel hurt.
I feel betrayed, abandoned, discarded.
I want to be heard.
I want to be held.
I want to be seen.
I want a wise old grandma
to pull me into her lap,
to rock me, and hush me,
and tell me I am safe,
and all is well.
But there is no grandma here…
only me and my kids.
I search for meaning
as my fingers dance across keys,
sending words out
into a world of people
I most likely will never meet.
Who hears this?
Who knows this pain?
Who can tell me
that things will get better?
Who can convince me
that this is true?
I search for meaning
and I come up with something
that feels right.
If I’m awake,
I don’t expect anyone else
to agree with the meaning I’ve made.
If I’m asleep,
I become defensive
when others disagree,
and disagree they will…
Because everyone, everywhere
is always making their own meaning.
This is what we are, essentially:
beings making meaning.
But take note:
Beyond the meaning we have made,
there is this divine moment,
existing free of labels,
independent of our judgments,
utterly untarnished by our analyses.
The wisest among us
are able to stay with the moment
and maybe steer us back
when we get caught up
in the meaning we have made.
God bless those who know how to live
in this divine perfect moment,
who can transcend the personal meaning
and live something deeper.
I search for meaning
because I want all of this
to mean something…
but what if this was all
What if I could step back,
take a deep breath, relax,
and not see any of this
as a threat?
Peace would come quickly then.
All of the stories of heartbreak,
loss, suffering, injustice
emerge from a sense of self
separate from the world around it.
If I could merge my consciousness
with that of the world’s,
wouldn’t I laugh
at the absurdity of it all?
I could cry all day and night
for twenty years,
and it wouldn’t change
the rhythm of the ocean.
Can I let these waves passing through me
be just another indication
that I am one with the ocean of life?
Searching for meaning,
and so it must be made.
This journey of chaos
from birth until death
in a universe so infinitely large
that our precious home
is little more than a dust mote–
if we don’t make meaning of this,
we might die of sheer despair.
So make meaning.
Make meaning of everything you do
from the first light of dawn
until your eyelids grow heavy with sleep.
Every thought, word and action,
strive to understand
the meaning that others have found.
Happiness is within your reach,
and it is here now,
in everything this life is,
in the meaning you bring to it.