Time to Bloom

December 2019

Flowers of fuchsia delicately adorn the thin and wiry branches of my bougainvillea. Only tight buds last night, they now breathe open in the wind. Gracefully, they sit on the sturdy branches—in full view for all to behold—and in full bloom.

My eyes try to trace the movement of the branchesas they creepin and out of each other until I can no longer follow:

In, out.

Under,over.

Over, out—

Dizzy, my eyes fall to the ground, where my feet are encircled in the lush petals of nearby trees—orange, lilac, dusty purple, and snow white. Remnants of bougainvilleas that have bloomed, thrived, and died.

I bend to touch and admire.

Out of the rich, dark earth, a sweet-sticky scent emerges.

It tickles my nose and flows through the waves of my hair.

It rises, rises, blending with the fragrances of the flowers and the trees.

Up—it stirs the branches; up—it rattles the leaves.

I lift my head to follow it.

But the wind blows it to the sky.

I close my eyes—

And crush the petals with my hands.

 

***

 

In Arabic, the bougainvillea is commonly known as the majnoona, or ‘mad one,’ and more formerly as the jahanamiya, or ‘descendent of Hell.’ Because the tree’s branches circle and twist as opposed to growing in a linear fashion, it is believed that the tree has lost directionor deviated from the straight path, andtherefore mad or Hellish.

But there is more to the bougainvillea than what immediately meets the eye. Look closely, behind the exotic blooms and bushy branches, and you will see what I mean.

The branches that twist the most are the ones that grow deepest and farthest from the sun. They curl over each other in an effort to reach the light. Their seemingly mad, unorthodox movement is a survival mechanism.

You see, in Nature’s intricate wisdom, there is always a way. And when there seems to be none, one is created.

Realizing this truth reminded me of how often we sabotage our own growth though language. As Deepak Chopra says, “Flowers don’t try to bloom, they bloom.”

How many times do we say:

I’ll try to go to the gym.

I’ll try to lose weight.

I’ll try to meet new people.

In truth, “try” reveals our noncommitment. Most of the time, we don’t try to go to the gym, lose weight, or meet new people. And because we only promised ourselves totry, we can’t hold ourselves accountable when we don’t achieve what we didn’t commit to. After all, we only said we would try to do it, not actually do it.

Remove the word and see what happens:

I will go to the gym.

I will lose weight.

I will meet new people. 

Now we’ve actually created achievable goals. And if not met, we can take responsibility—as opposed to escaping through the loophole of trying—where no effort is taken and no result is achieved.

To take the lesson from nature: bougainvilleas can’t move. Nor can they always control the circumstances around them. Yet, they grow. Despite the challenges, they find a way. And when it seems like there is no way, they create one—no matter how convoluted it may be.

In the end: whatever challenges the season brings, know that there is always, always, a way to grow.

 

Bloom away, xx.


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