Bending with the Flowers and Resiliency


Photo by Annabella Charles Photography

Photo by Annabella Charles Photography

Often when arranging flowers, there is an urge to choose a stem with the color and shape one desires and then choose the place for it to live within the arrangement. If we are in a hurry, there is even less opportunity for thought given to whether that flower fits properly into the place we have selected. If it shows the least bit of resistance or the flower head flops the opposite direction of what we want, the first instinct is to try again. After the second or third attempt, there is usually a bit of modification, re-cutting, repositioning, and bargaining with this flower that, “won’t do what we want it to do!”.

There is a better way and that is to hold the flower up in the air and evaluate its characteristics and natural resting position. Working with the flower instead of bending it to our will is often faster overall and easier on the mind. This is a metaphor for situations in which we force our ideal or the ideal of others upon us without any regards to our natural state of being. We keep cramming the ideal in the spot we believe is correct and yet it does not work out. This leads to disappointment or labeling things as failure.

There have been times in my work with flowers where I have to stop, step back, walk away, reassess, and finally see that I have been fighting against the flowers. I then pull the entire arrangement apart and start fresh. Flowers are easy to start over with, and yet we may hesitate to let go of the investment made in the original plan or design. I have rarely regretted pulling something apart and starting over with the right mindset, but have often regretted committing much of myself to anything that is not working out from the very start.

Our lives are filled with commitments typically based on the original plans we make. The most successful people are not the smartest, but in fact the most resilient. As humans we have the power to reason and try again, to be flexible with what is actually happening even if it is not following the script in our mind. When we have the self awareness to see that we are not going to be happy with the results of a project, we can begin the creatively pursue the best options for success with what is available.

Going back to that stubborn flower in the arrangement, we can either change the arrangement to properly frame the flower in that exact place, or we can find replacement items that work just as well. Sometimes this is an easy fix, and sometimes it requires  starting over, using a different vase, or even working at a time that is more conducive to creative thinking and problem solving. If none of these options are available then it is time to start changing our ideal outcomes and accept the task ahead as a lesson in how to better succeed in the future.

The word resilient is so important. There are many ways in which we can practice to incorporate resiliency in our lives. I use the word practice, because humans that truly pursue change will not achieve it overnight and that is also another false ideal that sets us up for perceived failure. Some ideas to help practice resiliency:

  • Change our attitudes on past failures, seeing them instead as simply the events that led us to where we are today. Take the lessons from them, but do not ruminate on the emotional feelings during those difficult times.
  • Forgive ourselves or other’s weaknesses. This helps clear the mental path and energy to use on our strengths.
  • Identify with all of the facets in our being and not let one event or job define who we are. Losing a job or having a bad critique will only define us if we allow it. The power is always there to take one area of the many talents and experiences from which we are actually defined and expand it, better it, and pursue it to fit our needs. We can even carve another facet altogether and learn new skills.
  • Isolate what is important and what our greater purpose and goals are. This helps to push away the distractions of life when they consume our valuable time. Key questions to ask ourselves when we notice an uncomfortable trend in time usage: Does this lead me to my set of larger goals? If yes, it is likely worthy. If no, assess the situation more thoroughly. If this is charity or giving to others, am I giving to my detriment? Giving is amazing, feels amazing, impactful, and makes the world a wonderful place, but if we do not set boundaries and give more than we have to offer too often, it can drain our ability to maintain our own needs or help people truly dependent on us.
  • Create a circle of trust that is not afraid to help us when we are too deeply entrenched in ideals that cloud our perception. These are the same people who will always have our best interest at heart and honestly give  feedback and encouragement when it is appropriate, not just when we want to hear agreement.
  • Bend with the flowers. Work in harmony with what is available and choose not to waste time working against it .  Change what we can, and truly accept and what we cannot at that moment.

We are not bound by many obstacles, but some of use have to work harder to pursue and actuate all of the statements above. That is life. It is not quite fair, and fortune and gifts are not evenly dispersed in the world, but bottom line is as long as we are resilient, success is available to us.


Thank you for reading.