13 November 2009

The Cycles of Birth, Bloom, Withering and Death: Lilies, Roses and the Human Journey

The Cycles of Birth, Bloom, Withering and Death: Lilies, Roses and the Human Journey
I was in the garden, taking in its early August glory as I went about aimlessly pinching off the dead daylilies. Although I love all flowers, daylilies hold my heart. I have perhaps thirty different colors, sizes and shapes. I wait for their blooming each year and wander most mornings to see which beauty is offering herself to me this day. Sometimes I gasp in joy at the subtleness of colors as tender petals open and curl backwards, showing me their hearts. I talk to them.

“Oh, you are so beautiful,” I tell them. “And you and you! You are all amazingly gorgeous.” As I admire their profuse abandon, I try not to think that tomorrow morning each of today’s perfect flowers will have folded in on itself and begun to shrivel. Tomorrow I will be pinching off the very ones that bring me such joy today. I don’t, however, linger on the thought. The daylily has no patience for such morbidity. She blooms with all her heart, perfect for a day.

As I walk, the rosebushes suddenly claim my attention. They are blooming again and, as I near, I see that in between the shimmering red clusters are heretofore unnoticed brittle, brown dead flowers. How had I missed them?

What is the difference between the lily and the rose when it comes to my clippers?
With great determination, I reach for my clippers and, as I am about to cut off the first shriveled bunch, I stop, clippers in mid air. The thought strikes me that while I mourned the prospect of the daylily’s fate, I have no such feelings for these dead roses that mar the otherwise vibrant bush. I am eager to cut them off and dump them into the compost heap. What is the difference between the lily and the rose?

Then I realize there is no difference, except from my mind’s perspective. I saw the lily as life in all its beauty and fullness. I saw the rose as death in all its withered ugliness. But what truly amazes me is that as peaceful as the lily is in her beauty, the decaying roses are peaceful in their death. Such thoughts bring me deeply into my heart and, with love and awareness, I prune away the dead roses and gently lay them in the compost.

Learning to prune with love and awareness those parts of self that no longer serve us.
As we learn, with love and awareness, to appreciate our blooming, we learn to prune away with love and awareness those parts of self that no longer serve our being. The more we live in equanimity with the cycle of birth, bloom, withering and death, the more present we are; and the more we cherish the fullness of life in its moment to moment progression. Death, the pruner par excellence, becomes our master gardener. Death no longer looms as The End.

The House of the Dark Moon is a place of letting go...
The House of the Dark Moon refers to "dark of the moon," those three nights every month when the moon is hidden. Metaphorically, this is the time of Crone, whose province is the dark, the stillness, and letting go. To the ego, Crone and her dwelling is synonymous with death and charged with fear. To the heart, Crone’s dwelling is a place of letting go, a place that opens to rebirth, symbolized by the new moon and her rhythmic dance toward fullness.

Are you having trouble with letting go of things in your life? Explore Emily's Life Coaching designed especially for creative men and women on the spiritual journey.
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  1. Hi Emily, just read your "Lilies and Roses" post...thanks for the beautiful and gentle reminder...mahabba


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