Flower Power

Today is the summer solstice, the day when the solar power is at its peak. I think of the sun, burning fiercely, and muse that, yes, this is an undeniable symbol of power. Nothing could withstand the intense heat of the sun; it would burn all who came close. But then I look at a gently nodding daisy, still wet from this morning’s rain, and I muse that this is as much a symbol of solar power as the sun itself, as it is created from transforming the sun’s light to matter – now that is some kind of mysterious power! And there seems to me a great power in the gentle beauty and fragility of this flower. It exists before me, seemingly with no other purpose than to create beauty and lift my spirits. Yet we rely on the plant kingdom to sustain us – we couldn’t exist without their photosynthesis creating life-forms that other life-forms eat, which themselves create food sources for other life-forms, and so on. And we need their process of evapotranspiration to balance the composition of the air that we breathe and the global water cycle. Plants are a true power-house, yet they don’t necessarily make us think of power when we look at them. I remember walking through Christchurch in New Zealand, about a year after the great earthquake there. The thing that struck me most was the power of plants. They were thrusting and bursting through every crack and fissure in the concrete with a clear zest for new life and taking over all the deserted land with incredible speed. 

I suppose I muse on this today, because I feel I am learning about the more hidden, subtle side of power at the moment. There is a time for overt shows of strength and fierceness, but I’m not sure these always represent true power. To me, true power empowers others – we are all lifted up, just like the flowers demonstrate for us. Their very existence empowers and, literally, enlivens all of us. Conversely, If we use so-called ‘power’ to dominate another or if our use of power leaves others feeling disempowered in any way, then I’m not sure this is true power. So, going back to the flowers… We have a clear show of immense power, and it is revealed to us in the most gentle, beautiful, inclusive way imaginable. This, to me, is true power. Plants don’t try to be anything other than they are – they just turn up and ooze their own personal essence for the amount of time they have on the planet, then fade without complaint or drama. The only drama in plants is in the unashamed showiness of some particularly bold and bright flowers. Otherwise, they are unassuming in their endless giving, offered without discrimination, and with untold beauty.

Let us muse on the gentle power of plants and how we can reflect this in ourselves, for example through personal authenticity, connection with all and humble service, on today’s summer solstice… 🙂 

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