August 6, 2018
Throughout time the lotus flower has been a powerful spiritual symbol. A lotus has its roots in mud, at the bottom of streams and ponds. But despite its origins it grows to become the most beautiful flower. This enchanting flower symbolizes how we too can overcome the obstacles on our journey towards growth and becoming fully alive. A growth toward flourishing…
I have long been fascinated with the beauty of a lotus flower, though they weren’t common to me during my years growing up in Texas. I first recall photographing a lotus flower at a hotel in Hawaii about 20 years ago. I have since photographed a lotus every single time I see one! They cause a pause in my heart that represents a moment of solace…a refuge from the pace of life…a visual manifestation of beauty.
So, you can imagine the joy that occurred as I was able to embrace each of these jewels from the lens of my camera. The first two photos were taken in Giverny, France at Monet’s Garden, and the third photo was taken at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, CA.
As I compiled these photos, I began to recall that a lotus-type flower IS a part of my heritage. When I was a little girl, we had a lake cabin at Lake Kemp by Seymour, TX. We would go up the river and could look over and see the lily pads. It was so beautiful, and so fun to swim amidst the lily pads. We would collect the dried pods and Mom would creatively place them in beautiful flower arrangements and wreaths. Maybe that is why I love the lotus flower so much—it’s a thread to those precious childhood days at the lake. Our family loved to fish, as you can see in this pic with my sisters, Annette and Melinda, and of course, the catch of the day, a catfish.
Recently in yoga class the teacher asked us to place our palms together in a prayer position, and then, keeping the palms of our hands together, to open our fingers, leaving the thumb and little fingers touching…creating a lotus flower. She then invited us to ask ourselves some questions about what could bloom from within us. Herein lies the question: when we can get to our core, authentic self and be centered, what can grow from the mud, the muck, the struggles, the uncertainty, the fear, the “what if’s” when we have the courage to risk the stumble, the fall, the fears? What can grow when we choose to begin…to flourish?
Begin is one of those words we can love or hate. I do not really like being a beginner at things. I like to be good, be skilled, be knowledgeable, be confident—and truth be told, I probably like to be an expert. I want to be great, to be an “amazing” water skier, snow skier, hiker, photographer, whatever-er. And all of that requires being a beginner.
Several years ago for our anniversary, I bought Roger and myself guitars. The plan was to learn to play together. Ugh…that was a stark lesson on knowing nothing! Oh, I can play the piano and read music…but the guitar? THAT was beginning. And the truth is, Roger is still playing the guitar and I am back to the piano. We are beginning to play duets together—beginning being the operative word.
So, the term begin is a special one to me. Two of my “go-to” green statements or believements (ref. Stop Breathe Believe® practice) are: “Dianne, begin” and “Begin again, Dianne.” Just yesterday I was in a struggle with some swirling thoughts caused by various events (harsh criticism, cancelled flights, lost an important document, reached out to a dear friend with no response, sad for a precious friend’s medical situation) and gently invited myself to some moments of self-compassion: “Begin softly here, Dianne.” My heart and mind could stay with that for a while, but then while running an errand, I would find myself back in the swirl of struggle. So, as you can tell, the hard part for me is staying with the feelings of frustration and struggle…and gently and patiently inviting some growth to occur from this internal disturbance.
This morning I read a comparison of two acronyms for FEAR: Face Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. Herein lies the challenge—to run or to rise. I recognize that I frequently run from scary and difficult situations. But I honestly believe the quest for growth is to rise through and in scary situations—to invite bravery, courage, and vulnerability into the depth of the muck. To let go of the fear of what will others think—what will they say if I fail, will they say I am too sensitive, too this, or too much of that?
THIS is where the lotus begins to grow…by staying in the present moment, going deep within. I love this quote by spiritual mentor and writer Joyce Rupp: “Our inner being is a lantern of God’s love.” When I can stay with the journey of working through the struggle, beginning again, being open to the emotional exposure, the risk and uncertainty, THEN I can be the love that God created me to be. I can be open to compassion for others and for myself. I can share hope with others. I can grow out of the muck…and begin to be beautiful from the inside out.
As you reflect on what I’ve shared, what pieces of your heart struggle with being seen? What do you resonate with in the swirling thoughts during a struggle? How can you slow down to focus on and stay with the moment of courage/bravery/growth?
Thank you for reading this…for being a part of this journey with me to wholehearted living…from brokenness to beauty. I’m grateful to be on the path with you.