Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tulips and Sunshine and Openness

by N. Jane Allio

I was walking out of my apartment last week on a particularly sunny day. The first day, in fact, that it was warm enough to go out with just a light sweater. Eagerly padding along the walkway I took note of the beautiful red, yellow, purple, and pink tulips that were in full bloom just soaking up the sunlight. Their bright petals bending over backward so far they looked as if they might fall straight off the stem. 
"Burst of Color" by Crystal Wong
What beauty!
I looked at those little flowers and smiled to myself, thinking, they must love the sunshine as I do.
The next day it rained... again. On my less then peppy steps out the door and down the walkway I noticed the tulips again, this time, instead of opening wide for the warm rays of the sun to kiss their petals they nestled together tight as if their petals had not yet seen the sun. 
I was taken aback by this phenomenon. I had learned that nature naturally leaned toward the sun. I did not realize they were so affected by it.
Then it hit me.
I too was like the tulip flower.

Days when the sun is shining high in the sky it is easy to be open, to give and receive love easily without restraint. Other days when the clouds roll in, nothing is going well, and the world is seemingly against me, in defense I clam up. Just like the tulips.
While I may not be able to change the weather outside, I am able to change my perspective.
It is all too easy to clam up and huddle my petals around me, tightly safe in my closed off space. But how can I live life fully if I am scared to peak my head out and see the world around me? I can’t.

If I want to be the bloomed tulip every day, I need to carry the sunshine with me, always. 

I can do that through spending time alone with myself and asking some simple questions:
How am I feeling at the moment?
Am I at peace? If not, what is bothering me and why?
Is this something I can change or is it out of my control? Is this something I need to hold onto or should I let it go?
If I am in a peaceful state, am I emitting this peace and love to others through my actions and words? Or am I hording the light that shines brightly within me?

Through answering these questions and taking appropriate action, I am able to turn on my own light and carry it with me throughout my day, not only making my inner world brighter, but perhaps brightening up somebody else's day too.
I know I am not the only person affected by me, just as the sun affects different life forms in the world, so we affect others. When my light is dimmed by emotions, feelings, and thoughts that have gone unchecked I am at risk of missing out on a wonderful experience.

Checking in with my internal world on a regular basis allows the light within me to steadily burn like a lighthouse in the midst of a dark storm, not like a naked candle which is easily puffed out by a draft. 
It does take time, effort, and patience but as I am continually learning, just because it rained today, doesn't mean it has to continue to dampen my mood, or that today can't be a beautiful day. It only means it is raining – and a little rain is good. It nourishes and cleanses our bodies and souls.
The choice is up to me, just as it is up to you. 
Will you choose to light up your world or will you remain in darkness?

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