What 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”.
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?
On 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.
How 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!
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…