The Flowers Still Bloom (and so will you)

Just the other day, I was sitting outside in the backyard. I had taken my dog out to let her run around and enjoy the sunshine. It was a beautiful day. The sun was out, there was a crisp breeze and I was relaxing in the comfort of a cushioned lawn chair. The fresh air was an instant mood booster. With the pandemic going on

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, I needed to step away from the stress, anxiety and worry that was around me.

I watched my dog running carefree amongst the overgrown grass, when out of the corner of my eye something colorful caught my attention. In the back corner of my yard, beautiful pink tulips were starting to blossom. As I took it in, a smile spread across my face.

I can’t really explain what came over me but it was something along the lines of childlike excitement on Christmas morning. I ran over there to get a closer look and took out my camera to snap a few pictures, trying my best to capture the beauty in front of me. When I was done, I stood back and stared at them.

What really struck me was this: amidst the chaos and sadness of the world right now, the flowers still bloomed. Nature was carrying on. It didn’t wither and die. It didn’t crumble back into the ground. The tulip carried on. It continued to grow. The stem continued upwards and the flower reached toward the sun. The petals opened wide ready to embrace the light.

And it struck me. If the flower can carry on, then so can I.

I hate to admit it but I have my moments of weakness. There are days or hours where I curl up on the couch and cry. I worry for my family. Working from home stresses me out. Some days I eat too much. Social media is filled with bad news. We see our friends suffering with the virus. We’re seeing so many deaths.

There are days I want to cower and sink beneath the ground but ever since I saw that flower bloom, I refuse to submit to my fears. I now promise myself that with each day, each moment I will do whatever I have to do to carry on. To continue growing. To always be reaching for the light. If the flowers can still bloom then why can’t I?

One of the greatest life lessons I’ve learned is that when times are tough, the most healing thing you can do is focus on the things that bring you joy. Now, it might not happen easily. Our emotions are like a ladder. If you’re sitting at the bottom of the ladder in despair, it’s difficult to jump to the top of the ladder at joy. There are all these steps in between. Start with something easy. Maybe you ate a delicious meal with your family that night. Maybe you all played a board game and had a few laughs. Maybe that cup of coffee this morning was especially hot and tasty. Or maybe you were finally able to get the groceries you needed. Maybe as you sit here reading this, your children are sitting in the other room getting along.

This is what I’ve been doing to fill myself with joy: I’ve been rereading my favorite books. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has been my security blanket since the age of 15. I’m going for runs and walks outside. I’m sitting outside in the sunshine and watching the trees sway in the wind and the squirrels jump around from branch to branch. I’m re-watching the TV shows that make me laugh – The Golden Girls and The Middle. I don’t watch the news. I’m avoiding social media as much as possible. I’m working on some creative projects. I video chat with friends and family. And I’ve even reconnected with a dear friend.

Like I always say, take some time for yourself. Today, set aside 10 minutes and make a list of all the things that bring you joy. Then go and do those things. Do whatever you have to do to find the feeling of joy.

Be the blossoming flower and keep reaching for the sunshine.