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Archive for February, 2020

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come and see the daffodils before they are over.”

“I will come next Tuesday,” I promised on her third call. Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, so I took the 2-hour trip down Route 91 on to I-215, finally turning on Route 18 to begin the drive up the mountain.

The tops of the mountains were sheathed in clouds. I had driven only a few miles when the road was completely covered with a wet blanket of fog. As I executed the winding, hazardous mountain turns at a snail’s pace, I was praying to reach her turnoff at Blue Jay, which would signify I had arrived.

When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house, I said, “Forget the daffodils! The road is invisible in the fog and there is nothing in the world I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!”

My daughter smiled calmly, “We drive in this all the time…I was hoping you’d take me to go pick up my car. The mechanic called and they’ve finished repairing it,” she answered.

“How far will we have to drive?” I asked cautiously.

“Just a few blocks,” Carolyn said cheerfully. So we went out to my car. “I’ll drive,” she added. “I’m used to this.” We got into the car, and she began driving.

In minutes, I became aware we were heading back over the mountain. “Where are we going?” I exclaimed, distressed to be back on the mountain road in the fog.

“We’re going the long way,” Carolyn smiled, “by way of the daffodils.”

…And so my sweet daughter, who had never given me a minute of difficulty in her whole life, was kidnapping me! I muttered the whole way.

After about 20 minutes, we turned onto a gravel road that branched down into an oak-filled hollow on the side of the mountain. The fog lifted a little, but the sky was heavy with clouds. We parked in a small lot adjoining a little stone church.

On the far side of the church, I saw a path with an inconspicuous lettered sign, “Daffodil Garden.” I followed Carolyn down the path as it wound through the trees. Then we turned a corner of the path and I gasped.

Before me lay the most amazing field of daffodils… a bevy of western bluebirds the color of sapphires with breasts of magenta red, flitted and darted, flashing their brilliance. Their colors like jewels above the glowing daffodils. The effect was spectacular.

It didn’t matter the sun wasn’t shining. The brilliance of the daffodils was like the glow of the brightest sunlit day. Words cannot describe the incredible beauty of that flower-bedecked mountain top.

The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Such a glorious sight!

“But who’s done this?” I asked Carolyn. I was overflowing with gratitude she brought me–even against my will. “Who?” I asked again, almost speechless with wonder, “And how, and why, and when?”

“Just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to an A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house, my mind buzzing with questions. On the patio, we saw a poster. “Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking” was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. “50,000 bulbs,” it read. The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman, two hands, two feet, and very little brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”

There it was. The Daffodil Principle.

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman, who, more than 35 years before, had begun–one bulb at a time–to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top.
There was no other way to do it. No shortcuts–simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded. Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and bloomed for only three weeks of each year.

Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught was one of the greatest principles of celebration:

Learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time–often just one baby-step at a time–learning to love the doing; learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we, too, will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

“Carolyn,” I said as we left the haven of daffodils, our minds and hearts still bathed and bemused by the splendors we had seen, “it’s as though that remarkable woman has needle-pointed the earth! Just think of it, she planted every single bulb for over 30 years…one bulb at a time!”

And that’s the only way this garden could be created. Every individual bulb had to be planted. There was no way of short-cutting that process. Five acres of blooms…all just one bulb at a time.”

I was suddenly overwhelmed with the implications of what I had seen. “It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What I might have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal 35 years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”

My wise daughter summed up the message of the day. “Start tomorrow,” she said with the same knowing smile she had worn for most of the morning.

It is pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, “How can I put this to use tomorrow?”

 

Excerpt taken from The Daffodil Principal written by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

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Enjoy the Ride

Many people live their lives struggling against the current, while others use the flow like a mighty wind.”

 

The flow of the universe moves through everything. It’s in the rocks that form, get pounded into dust, and are blown away, the sprouting of a summer flower born from a seed planted in the spring, the growth cycle every human being goes through, and the current that takes us down our life’s paths.

 

When we’re moving with the flow, rather than resisting it, we are riding on the universal current that allows us to flow with life.

 

Many people live their lives struggling against this current. They try to use force or resistance to will their lives into happening the way they think it should. Others move with this flow like a sailor, using the wind, trusting that the universe is taking them exactly where they need to be at all times.

 

This flow is accessible to everyone because it moves through and around us. We are always riding this flow. It’s just a matter of whether we are willing to go with it or resist it. Tapping into the flow is often a matter of letting go of the notion we need to be in control at all times. The flow is always taking you where you need to go. It’s just a matter of deciding whether you plan on taking the ride or fighting the wind.

 

Learning to step into the flow can help you feel a connection to a force greater than you and is always there to support you. The decision to go with the flow can take courage because you are surrendering the notion that you need to do everything by yourself. Riding the flow of the universe can be effortless, exhilarating, and not like anything you ever expected. When you are open to being in this flow, you open yourself to possibilities that exist beyond the grasp of your control.

 

As a child, you were naturally swept by the flow. Tears of sadness falling down your face could just as quickly turn to tears of laughter. Our souls feel good when we go with the flow of the universe.

 

All we have to do is make the choice to ride its currents.

 

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