bloom where you are planted?

L2 ProfileWhat to do when rebel perennials challenge my rule over the miniature realm of my cottage garden?  This is the question on my mind, as I contemplate the fate of renegade purple cone flowers who’ve unexpectedly popped up in the balloon flower bed — which also reminds me of a kitschy cross-stitch plaque that used to hang in my kitchen, proclaiming: “Bloom Where You Are Planted”.

garden 2011 july

Thinking about the divorce papers I was signing off on earlier today, I’m glad I got over my notions of making the best of a bad marriage when I could be truly enjoying a romantic relationship that makes my heart sing.  Why should anyone, plant or person, settle for making the best of degrading conditions?  Why wouldn’t you want to move to an environment or situation which is more naturally conducive to allowing you to shine? 

For the first time, I find myself questioning the wisdom of that classic empowerment metaphor when I look at it from the plant’s point of view.  The truth is my purple cone flowers won’t bloom where they are planted unless their needs are being met.  Different plants need more or less sunlight, acid or alkaline soil, and varying degrees of moist or dry conditions — just to name a few examples.  If they can’t get their needs met they will move, under-produce or die.  Don’t we, as living beings, also have specific, basic needs to be met so we can flourish?  

LisaOn the one hand, to bloom where one is planted seems to be great advice, right?  It sends the message that I can be happy and healthy under any circumstances by the sheer force of my own awesome willpower.  That makes for a magnificent mantra in the spirit of role models and heroes who “bloomed” in the midst of overwhelming odds — Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Viktor Frankl, and Lisa Simpson, for example.      

On the other hand, “bloom where you are planted” is an analogy based on a faulty scientific presupposition.  What if your cable T.V. provider only offered 3 channels to choose from?  And two of the channels provided only reruns of Full House and BJ and The Bear?  Would you settle for those options?  

As a person who has prided myself on being able to bloom no matter where I was planted –- even if I was planted in a dysfunctional relationship, an insane work environment or a toxic waste dump, for that matter — I may have been perpetuating my own problems by trying to make the best of them instead of uprooting myself from the unbearable situation and taking creative control of my circumstances.

spiesHow bloom-friendly is modern life in your back yard?  Do whispers on the breeze fanned by activities of a passive-aggressive partner, a rigidly dogmatic church community, or the omnipotent National Security Agency help you feel safe and strong in your spot in the sun? 

In your own personal life are you planted in a consciousness, a community, a career where your basic needs are being fulfilled so you can bloom as you are naturally designed to do?     

How about we try something new and turn the old metaphor around.  Let’s plant ourselves where we can bloom –- like my purple cone flowers are doing.  They don’t even have feet or brains!  Still, they know enough to get themselves out of a bad situation and move to where they can thrive. 

Truly BLOOMING is what happens in the proper season when all of a plant’s needs, or a person’s needs, are being met which causes them to spontaneously burst forth in celebration of the natural pattern of beauty within.  Would you even recognize yourself if this happened?  WoW!   

How about you?  What less than optimal life circumstances have you been unnecessarily tolerating?  Are you ready to bloom?  What steps will you take toward grounding yourself in healthy empowerment today?  Please share your wisdom in the comments!


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This post was inspired by a conversation about flowers, friends and flights of fancy with my dear friend, Ron Reed, who is also blogging on the topic with his current post Bloom Where You Are Planted — Please stop by and say “Hi!” for the (sensitive) male perspective on the subject…

just sayin…    


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29 thoughts on “bloom where you are planted?”

  1. Linda, this is a truly exceptional post. Indeed, many times we insist on making do with circumstances that do not allow us to grow, and instead, keep us stagnated. I’ve found myself to be in those type situations more times than I care to admit. Sadly, trying to convince ourselves that it’s for the good of the children, our families, or our financial state, leads to resentment, depression, and self loathing. Yes, we have to strive to find the place, person, or situation that allows us to enjoy life. We’ll know we’ve found it when we can laugh and live passionately without worrying about how long it will last.

    1. @Bella,

      This is brilliant: “We’ll know we’ve found it when we can laugh and live passionately without worrying about how long it will last.”

      I think you might be onto something there! Personally, I won’t be taking another ’till death do we part vow’. Ironically, knowing that we each get up every morning and choose to be together actually feels ‘safer’ than being with someone because they promised they will always be there.

      I’m so glad you stopped by to join the conversation! I always get a lift from your unique and thoughtful spin off the subject at hand! Please come back soon! XOXO
      Dangerous Linda recently posted…bloom where you are planted?My Profile

  2. Bloom where you’re planted is a wonderful concept in many ways. Unfortunately, I can’t keep a plant or flower blooming and flourishing. But, metaphorically speaking, I bloom where I am planted. I didn’t use to though. It took death, as you know, for me to flourish. It took several more for me to flourish without the toxic chemicals being sprayed around me. And it will continue to take me time until I am fully organic without any toxicity or smothering. I like weeds but sometimes they steal too much water and sunshine, which causes me to start to die. I have found that I will always be tending to that part of the garden.

    Congrats, on signing divorce papers. I’m not sure if that is a thing to cheer {I can’t claim to know your feelings on the matter} but, I’m sure it is a very freeing thing and freedom should always be celebrated when you break the chains of tyranny! Things can only get better when you allow them to, right?
    InJensMind recently posted…Changing ExpectationsMy Profile

  3. The standout statement in this one, for me, was this:

    “The truth is my purple cone flowers won’t bloom where they are planted unless their needs are being met.”

    What a very logical, reasonable and emotionally powerful statement! So often, we do bow to prevailing wisdom and in the process, make ourselves “wrong”. Lacking. Unappreciative. Less than. Boatloads of negatives that insult the Spirit and the work we’re doing so earnestly.

    That nasty word comes to mind: settling. *shudder* I’ve spent a good amount of time, focus and conscious living on eradicating that behavior from my psyche. Easier said than done, but I continue to replace that thought process with different scripting anytime it edges back onto my path.

    Great post, Miss Linda!

    – Dawn
    Dawn recently posted…Fabric of realityMy Profile

    1. @Hey, Dawn! ~

      WoW! It’s been a wild and crazy summer! And I know for you too, with your family reunion and everything!

      I know what you mean about settling. Your comment reminds me of this image I lifted from Corinne Rodrigues: dance, grieve, laugh, sit quietly, live…but DON’T SETTLE!!!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your wisdom! XOXOX
      Dangerous Linda recently posted…bloom where you are planted?My Profile

  4. Just recently I extricated myself from a ‘garden’ I had planted myself in, Linda, when I find that I getting negative and not being allowed to grow with a particular set of ‘friends’. As it turned out, every action of theirs since has shown how right I was to move away and not try to ‘make the best of a bad situation’. I think when we have choices, in the interest of our soul, we must move on to places and people that can enable us to bloom. Thank you for your words that have just affirmed my choices. ♥
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…To My Inner CriticMy Profile

    1. @Hi, Corinne! ~

      I read your current blog post referring to the ‘garden’ you recently extricated yourself from. Very intriguing — you know the scenario you describe is a particular area of interest & passion we share. It is a continual source of amazement to me how many people think it is their right and responsibility to control those they are ‘friends & lovers’ with! What insanity is this???

      Thank you for all that you are! Keep G-R-O-W-I-N-GGGGGG, Gurrlllll!!! XOXOXOXOX

  5. I so agree, Linda, that there are places and circumstances which so conflict with the needs of our souls that, instead of blossoming, we wither away. Been there. Done that. Had to move on to better soil and moisture and sunshine before I could truly bloom.
    Once we are blooming, I believe we can better handle and cope with both the good and bad which come our way in life. I know this works for me!
    Wonderful post, my friend, and great food for thought.
    Martha Orlando recently posted…Standing in the GapMy Profile

    1. @Martha Orlando,

      “…there are places and circumstances which so conflict with the needs of our souls that, instead of blossoming, we wither away.”

      Very eloquent and true! I know we’ve both been around the block a few times and learned many lessons…

      Thank you for continuing to grow through your experiences! I appreciate your efforts to make yourself and our world a better place

      Dangerous Linda recently posted…bloom where you are planted?My Profile

  6. I stopped bothering with this convention a long while ago. I bloom where I am in whatever situation I’m in. I suppose if I were to be overly analytic about my current state of being i might pick it apart, find a fault, maybe three, but the truth is, I can’t really. I feel (yes, I said the ‘feel’ word) exceptionally optimistic about my current pot – where I am waiting to bloom. I’m almost giddy. Sure, I might be reading the signs all wrong, and even if I am, will it be so horrible? Nope. Why? Because as you suggest, I am blooming in full Technicolor. I realize the two of us look at the world through different lens, but that makes visiting with your words all the more precious.
    Brenda recently posted…Rebel Without A CauseMy Profile

    1. @Brenda,

      For myself, I look back on some of the times in my life that I muscled through and they were pretty horrible. I can’t change the past and I’ve made good use of every experience, whether positive or negative, but I’m glad I saw the folly of some of my ways while I’m still young enough to enjoy the contrast that re-planting myself has and will continue to make

      I agree with you that the contrast between our viewpoints is valuable food for thought! Thank you for visiting and sharing your perspective ;-*
      Dangerous Linda recently posted…bloom where you are planted?My Profile

  7. “Let’s plant ourselves where we can bloom…” going through my life stuff and finally being brought to a place where, “Let’s plant ourselves where we can bloom” is actually possible. I’m not sure if I was ever well adjusted enough to recognize where ‘where’ was… I wouldn’t have known a heathly ‘where’ to plant myself if it bit me in the bum –today, I’m flexible, teachable… I’m different. Different is good.

    And, you know what else I like about the business of planting where we can bloom –it kind of takes away the illusion that I can stay put (let’s plant –requires action) and will a situation different. will change.

    1. @Amy @mommetime,

      For such a brief comment it sure packs a whollop! WoW!

      I agree the first step to planting myself where I can bloom is to develop a degree of sensitivity and self-awareness which allows for even knowing where that where might be or that it is different from where I already am. If only human beings came with clear cut instructions like seed packets do!

      I love and admire your depth of wisdom and authenticity! Thank you so much for visiting and sharing! XOXOX

  8. I was struck that you and Ron have taken this quote to ponder on this week… I’ve actually heard it many times in the past before especially when the missionaries use it often in relation to the vow of obedience ~ “Bloom where you are planted.”

    Coming to know you as a fairy of a beautiful garden ~ you have enchanted me much with your artistry and eloquence and the ability to surprise people with your ‘radical’ ideas… I have come to believe again in magic meeting you…

    There’s something about reversing the situations ~ planting then blooming. Yes, I think that people are not planted once in one place ~ in one soil. People are ‘journeyers’ and ‘pilgrims’ and therefore, are always moving… I agree that one shouldn’t be left to rot or die in a dehumanizing condition…Uproot the plant if you must and consider the soil where it has to be planted next…

    Perhaps, there’s also the wisdom that there’s a certain knowing in the gardeners’ mind ~ they know exactly where plants would thrive and therefore, bloom…

    However, even the fig tree that doesn’t bear fruit should be given time to do so and if not be taken away… and so, there’s no black and white ~ nor am I arriving at one answer.

    But there’s this one thing that I am certain of…the Gardener knows where I will bloom, so I allow Him to plant me where He wills and to take roots with deep trust.
    Melissa recently posted…Lessons from the Young SageMy Profile

    1. @Dear Melissa,

      Thank you for your kind words — you inspire me to believe in myself!

      I agree with you that the Master Gardener knows where each person needs to be planted for best results. You bring a new level of depth to the conversation with this observation. Just like certain perennials require a cold, hard freeze during the winter to flourish during the summer, I believe I needed to have certain challenging experiences which I’ve grown out of and away from now…

      I appreciate your wise heart and your gift of sharing — thank you for all that you are! XOXOX
      Dangerous Linda recently posted…bloom where you are planted?My Profile

  9. A different perspective from Ron’s yet, the essence the same. We are all adaptive to the place we stay, to the people around us. We are sensitive to the needs and moods of our near and dear ones that we adapt themselves to their moods sometimes, even without realising it.
    That is what compatibility is about.
    Nice post.

    1. @Janu,

      Right on with this observation: “We are sensitive to the needs and moods of our near and dear ones that we adapt themselves to their moods sometimes, even without realising it. That is what compatibility is about.”

      I find I’m learning to view business partners more in this way too. I ask, “Are we compatible? Or will we just get on each others nerves?” Instead of being so likely to hire myself out to whoever writes the check.

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your comment! Love to catch up with you! XO
      Dangerous Linda recently posted…bloom where you are planted?My Profile

  10. *** The truth is my purple cone flowers won’t bloom where they are planted unless their needs are being met.**

    I love the symbolism you used, Linda.

    As for me, I DO NOT want to struggle to bloom and thrive in poor soil (this is called DYSFUNCTION!)

    I want my roots watered, fed, and soaking up LOTS of sunlight. And even when my petals curl up and sigh, I want to be supported by the other flowers!

    Great Post! I loved it. Xxxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted…Simple Sinful Double Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

    1. @Hello, My Inner Chick! ~

      Hey, I like the way that sounds — I might say that to myself in the vanity mirror tomorrow morning

      I was thinking of you and causes dear to your heart when I wrote this post…

      Thank you for stopping by to say “Hi!” — I appreciate your friendship and your POV! XO
      Dangerous Linda recently posted…bloom where you are planted?My Profile

  11. Linda, loved this garden metaphor and while reading I was running a slow motion of my life and the various situations. You have wonderfully explained the processes of blooming and you’re right when you say that one needs the right place to grow and thrive. This also brings to my mind what one of my professors remarked about weeds, ‘Weeds are the right plants growing in the wrong places’ and he was so very right.

    Thanks for this gentle nudge today.

    Joy always,

    1. @Susan Deborah,

      The garden is home to creatures as well as plants — I was also thinking of you and your green garden snake when I posted this. Even though I was totally creeped out by the story of your snake, I am intrigued by the mystery of it all and trying to learn from nature instead of striving to control her. I aspire to live in harmony as Gaia created us to do.

      In that spirit I like your comment about weeds too!

      Thank you for stopping by to visit and share your wisdom today! XOXOXOXO
      Dangerous Linda recently posted…bloom where you are planted?My Profile

  12. dear Linda,
    After reading a blogpost by Mr. Rw Reed, I’ve come to your post, and as usual, it is gr8! you’ve raised some very important questions.I can somewhat relate to this post since I am still wondering about my own ‘blooming’.Though I have ‘flowered’ in a family which fulfills all my basic needs and am fortunate to have most caring teachers/ professors to ‘nurture’ me, yet I am not satisfied with all that i have. I want to be different and yet don’t know what do I mean being ‘different’! sorry, this rant is a bit off-tangent, but I just wanted to express my unrest.
    Portia Burton recently posted…THE ECSTASY OF LIVING A FANTASY!My Profile

    1. @Dear Portia Burton,

      Thank you for visiting — Whenever I ‘read’ you I wish we could visit in person!

      Your ‘rant’ is PRECISELY on topic and I admire and appreciate your powers of self reflection at such depth. The fact that you are asking these questions about what you want while still appreciating what you already have shows me you are on the right track. Living in the question can be uncomfortable for the moment, but that’s how you find out what kind of flower you are, which just might lead to discovering the purpose of life.

      I’m excited and grateful, as always, to watch the beauty that is YOU grow and bloom in the world! Thank you for all that you are! XOXOX

  13. Linda – I enjoy your perspective very much :). We sort of arrived in the same place from slightly different directions with similar conclusions. Your eloquent prose and analogy help to look at personal growth with fresh eyes and encouragement. If any of us ever start feeling complacent about being rooted in an unhealthy situation…we merely need to look at the garden for inspiration.

    A lovely read Linda, and thank you
    Ron recently posted…Bloom Where You are PlantedMy Profile

    1. @Ron,

      Thank you for collaborating with me on this project, which has been like a gentle rain on the garden of my life. Through this process I have grown personally and I believe our relationship has grown too. The sun is shining today. I am grateful for YOU! XOXOX

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