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Here’s a spring spiritual practice: ask a flower for advice

Here in southern Virginia, it’s all about buds and blooming and growing green things. The daffodils have been blooming for weeks now; the forsythia joined in about a week ago, and the redbuds are out now too. So in honor of spring, here’s a spiritual practice I invite you to try. It’s very simple:

  • Go out and find a flower–whether it’s blooming in your yard, or part of a bouquet in the supermarket.
  • Sit with the flower for a few breaths. Say hello to it. Notice it–color, shape, scent, anything else you notice about it–and appreciate it.
  • Now ask the flower: What would you like me to know? And listen, with the ears of your imagination. (It might help to close your eyes here.) What is the flower saying to you? 
  • Whatever you hear–or even if you don’t hear anything–thank the flower for sharing itself with you. 

That’s it!

I tried this practice last summer with the hydrangea bush next to our garage. And let me tell you, it had some things to say. Here’s what I heard from this hydrangea:

First of all, it’s not all about you! You Western-culture humans still think you’re the center of the world, even though you’re trying to unlearn all that, for which, good on you! Keep it up!

But you’re still used to thinking of everything else in the world in terms of what you can use it for.

We flowers are not here just to be a symbol for you. We have our own being. We exist. We are not just here to be a metaphor for you.

So again, it’s not all about you. But it’s not all about us either!

It’s about the whole.

If you look at us as we grow in the ground, we’re not untouched by the rest of the world. Bugs crawl all over us! Spiders weave their webs in our leaves. Worms tickle our roots as they tunnel by.

When you pick us, you brush off all the dirt and the bugs and you call that “pretty.” But that’s not our reality, it’s not how we live. We’re part of everything and everything is part of us.

That’s how we want you to live too.

What we need you to know is that every being, and everything you call a thing, has its own essence and deserves your respect, and we’re all part of the same big thing.

Once you get that, you’re going to have to stop hurting anything and anyone that isn’t you, because it’ll feel like you’re hurting yourself.

There you go–mic drop moment from the hydrangea. Blessings to you and happy spring!

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