Forgive me. I write about flowers often.
To begin, I took a walk this past weekend on a sunny afternoon with a tall cup of iced tea. It was my break from a workshop on The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche.
Radiant, indeed. Not just the day, but the sutras. All 112 of them. Part of the workshop was devoted to people choosing their favorite sutra, coming to the front of the room and moving to each word as Lorin recited the sutra out loud. Imagine dancing and creating your own asanas to lines like:
"Secrets are hidden in darkness"
"Life arises from itself in a swirling motion of flame."
"Forget all of your ideas about the body - it's this way and it's that way."
People became radiant, skin glowing and smiles wide. It was such a gift to see people embody the sutras and play with language and movement so freely.
When I took my break, I was spinning in energy. My iced tea grounded me. Then I spotted a pale pink poppy amongst some other flowers.
So extraordinary in its color and shape, I had to see it up close. I had to know it even more.
My gaze became greedy. I wanted know it even more, nearly climb inside it, so captured by its beauty, I was.
The closer I came to it, the more it eluded me. What I saw in it was no where to be seen by my camera. What I felt in it was felt no where but in my body, as I watched strangers pass and glance with a disregard for the flowers and for me, clumsily planted in the flower patch with my camera in one hand and iced tea in the other.
A friend once told me, after we parted ways to head back to our lives in different parts of the country, that we are like two flowers who turn to face each other and open in the sun whenever we're around each other. We help each other blossom.
Seeing this poppy in the sun reminded me of her tender confession. Flowers come up in some of the most unlikely places. They are tight and unsuspecting, rising out of the black dirt to feed on a better light. You're not sure, sometimes, if they'll blossom and give off scent. You're not sure if you'll pass by on the day when they're fully open and most fragrant. And then you do, by some chance, as I did, and you see the one you've been waiting for. The flower whispers to you, tempts you to take her in, take a closer look. And once you're in there, close up on the thing, the blackness of its center, its messy pistil evident, you value its fragility that much more. You celebrate, with a smile and a sniff, its ability to rise and open.
In the pale pink poppy I was reminded of how people open, too, with all of their darkness and vulnerability, and they are no less beautiful because of it. In fact, they are made more radiant by it. I witnessed this over and over again in the Radiance Sutra workshop. I watched how people climbed inside the words of the sutras, the curves of the Sanskrit supportive and freeing. I watched them climb with a sense of terror - Oh my, you're going to do it! - and a sense of - I've been there, keep going, open and speak your truth. I watched them reach for a better light. It was by climbing inside language that they were able to open places in their body and dance. The words took them towards movement, not away from it.
Those are the facts of flowers and people, the things I know to be true. I feel lucky to know them, and share them here with you.