Blooming

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Bloom where you are planted?” The thought is that we should try and do the best we can given the circumstances in which we are currently living. It is a terrific goal, but it isn’t always easy. The past few weeks have had me thinking about “blooming.” This may sound strange, since there is snow on the ground all around. However, each year I plant an amaryllis bulb, and the past few weeks have seen it grow and bloom.

You can see its progress below.

As I’ve watched the process unfold, I’ve been thinking about a few truths that apply to how we, as human beings, blossom in life. This line of thought has been further fueled by the fact that we are drawing toward the end of a decade, a time when we tend to look back and consider how well we are doing at this thing called “life.”

If you find yourself doubting your progress, or wondering if you are fulfilling your purpose, I hope the following ideas provide a measure of relief and peace.

Blooming Is Not Automatic

 A couple of years ago I planted my traditional amaryllis with great expectation. Unfortunately, all it did was grow green leaves. No flowers ever arrived. I didn’t do anything differently, so I can’t explain why the flower failed. Life is just like this sometimes. We can do everything right, and things still don’t turn out the way we had hoped.

Does that mean we should give up? Perhaps. Often a bad experience will make us want to close the door and turn in a new direction. Still, at other times, we simply need to try again.

Blooming Takes Vision

Have you ever seen an amaryllis bulb? It is a pretty ugly thing: a large brown ball, with what look like dried-out worms dangling from beneath it. If I didn’t know what it was, I would never guess that it had the potential to produce these gorgeous flowers.

Not everyone will agree with our personal dreams and ideas. They might think we are chasing after a losing proposition. Fortunately, all that matters is that we have a clear idea of where we are headed. In most cases, those around us tend to hop on board as we make progress and see results. If people tell us we are wrong, we can just thank them for their opinion and move on.

Blooming Takes Time

I planted this bulb before Thanksgiving. Therefore, it has taken about four weeks to reach this stage of beauty. To be honest, I questioned whether I was starting a bit too early this year. However, I had a free moment so I decided to just go ahead and get it going. Turns out, my timing was just about perfect. Here we are in the peak of the season and my flowers are bringing me joy each day.

We often delay getting started on a desired project or initiative. In reality, it is rarely too soon to take the first step. All we need to do is get the ball rolling, and the next step will usually present itself.

Blooming Is An Unfolding

It has been interesting to me to see that the flowers from this one bulb are opening at different times. In fact, one has opened each day for the past four days, and it looks like I will have still another blossom or two coming from a second stalk. I find it comforting and exciting to think that good things in my life can keep emerging, often unexpectedly.

Regardless of our age, we can keep reaching and watching for what good thing might be next.

Blooming Happens Intermittently

I know from previous experience that once these flowers are finished blooming, they will dry out and fall off. The plant will eventually need to be put into a dormant phase until it is pulled out next year to start again. Good moments ebb and flow.

This is one reason why I like to have multiple endeavors underway in my life. On any given day, at least one may be going well, and that can be enough to keep my spirits up.

Blooming Requires Support

Forcing an amaryllis bulb requires that I nestle the bulb into a moist growing medium and keep it warm. Once the new growth appears, I add small amounts of water to help it grow. In addition, as the stalks shoot up, I rotate the pot each day, as they tend to grow toward the sun, and can easily break if they tip too far in one direction.

Most of us need counsel and assistance as we stretch toward blooming. This isn’t a sign of weakness, but a wise acknowledgement of the complexity of life. No one reaches the mountaintop alone. It contrast, stubborn self-sufficiency is one of the quickest ways we sabotage ourselves. We all need help to get started, encouragement along the way, and someone who cares enough to help us stay on course and in balance.

*     *     *     *     *

On a personal note, since Christmas is just about here, I want to remember that as wonderful as blooming is, it is not what determines our value. Christmas celebrates that fact that even when we are a mess and everything we try goes wrong, we are powerfully and greatly loved.

I hope you will get to enjoy some beautiful moments over the next couple of weeks, and extend yourself grace as you pursue your journey.

25 thoughts on “Blooming”

  1. Aw, Seana, I loved your message here tonight as I know this time of the year so much can indeed go wrong very easily as we all seemed to be stretched a bit thin on many fronts. So, thanks for the gentle reminder if nothing else. Hugs and here is to a Merry Christmas for us all now 🙂

  2. What a beautifully vibrant, red, amaryllis! I love your photos of its blooming process along with how you connected that experience to life. It reminds me of the first crocuses of spring. When our daughters were growing up, they always looked out to see who would notice the purple crocus in the backyard first. And what excitement when it was discovered. I think not only was it an indicator that spring was around the corner (along with warmer days,) but also a sense of security and consistency that there is a cycle in life. One season follows the next. And each season brings with it some awe and wonder, like the spotting of that first purple crocus.

    I love how your amaryllis has brought you so much anticipated joy and beauty. You nurtured it and it grew into something magnificent. As you also pointed out, not all things we nurture bloom. I suspect that the process of nurturing is as significant and meaningful as the potential positive result that we might see. I think about our daughters and how we loved, nurtured, and helped them grow. It’s such a joy to see the incredible young women they’ve become.

    1. I know we share a love of all things nature, and particularly flowers Linda! I can completely relate to your girls’ excitement as they looked for the first crocus. We had a similar process for spotting the first robin in the backyard. I never cease to be amazed that something so large and showy can grow from an ugly bulb. It is strangely comforting! I wish you and your beautiful girls and husband a wonderful holiday. The truest blessings indeed!

    1. Sometimes, as we grow older, we think our best moments are behind us. I believe it we keep an open and optimistic perspective, we can hope with confidence for new joys at every age and stage!

  3. Coaxing a bloom can be part of the process! The support of water and sunlight bring out the bloom too. As I think of the optimal environment for us all, support and encouragement are part of the human experience in blossoming too. I love your amarylis analogy!

    1. I know that I often need support, training, coaching, and encouragement. I believe we are designed to live lives that are intertwined and mutually beneficial. Merry Christmas, Ellen!

  4. Such a great analogy, Seana! I especially love the reminder that “as wonderful as blooming is, it is not what determines our value. Christmas celebrates that fact that even when we are a mess and everything we try goes wrong, we are powerfully and greatly loved.”

    So many people think that everything has to be perfect this time of year, and giving yourself permission to not strive for perfection is a great gift.

    1. I think this year, with its relatively short season, has left many people feeling behind and harried. I was with a client this morning whose father also passed away this year. She was sharing that usually Christmas is awesome, but this year, not so much. I told her that it was perfectly fine to feel sad, and that it was okay to leave a few things undone. We just picked up the plastic candy canes which were giving her grief and packed them away for next year.

    1. It’s been my experience that judgment rarely has a positive impact. Thoughtful review of past initiatives can be constructive, but beating ourselves (or others) up simply drains the joy. And who needs that at Christmas, right?

  5. Seana, you have a green thumb! Even though you told the story about you not getting a bloom I think you are successful. I think stating your intention is key to success. When I want to achieve something I know that I have to have accountability to follow through.

    1. I love plants and flowers, but I have mixed luck. Ultimately, I can’t make things grow, I can only do my part and see what happens. I agree that having a clear intention is so important. If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably get there:)

  6. Such beautiful pictures of your amaryllis! I have a Christmas cactus that actually bloomed near Thanksgiving and it reminded me so much of your point that blooming is not automatic. Though it’s supposed to be a ‘Christmas’ cactus this year it was a ‘Thanksgiving’ cactus and that was okay. I also like the reminder that flowers don’t compete with the one next to them, they just bloom! Merry Christmas to you, Seana 🙂

    1. Merry Christmas to you too, Sarah! I have a couple of those Christmas cacti around as well, and their blooms are also so fun. As you say, they just bloom and don’t worry what the flowers around them are doing. A true lesson for us all:)

  7. I could second all the comments you received Seana-I especially relate to the one about getting older and thinking all the best is behind. There are aways wonderful things ahead if you search for them. I also liked you last comment about being greatly loved even when things fail.

  8. This is a beautiful message here about blooming in our lives. I love the photos of your amaryllis, you certainly have a green thumb! You are so right that blooming does not determine our value, and the holiday season is a good time to reflect on that and spend time with those who love us. Have a happy holiday season!

  9. Oh my goodness, I love this. I always have these sort of growth spurts in life where I’m on fire and learning and seeking help and progressing. Then there are these dark ruts and I can’t really control them happening. It used to be more black and white. I’d have like.. months and years of one and then months and years of the other. Of being “on” and being “off.” These days it varies more, which is good! A day of one of the other, or a week.
    I LOVE your wisdom here. The intermittently…

    1. I think the shortening of phases between dark and light is definitely encouraging. Sort of like how it is easier to “guts through” a freezing cold day if you know it will warm up the day after tomorrow. There is more hope. May your holidays be full of blooms, Tamara. Merry Christmas!

  10. Hello Seana,

    Wow, this is a wonderful feeling! We all want to have some flowers with some flowering plants near us. I usually put roses on the roof of my house, but today I will try to cultivate flowers in my room. Here the author gets the results of his ultimate guide. In fact, it’s a great pleasure. The flowers have begun to grow on your long planted trees. He showed the flowers from the beginning of flowering to full bloom. Really good reviews, you will want to watch this blog and cultivate it in your room. I am so happy to see the flowers. And I’m trying to plant flowers in my room. I am glad to read this article.

    Happy New Year 2020
    –Lily Howard

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