Gardens Bloom. Do You?

If a picture is worth 1000 words, a metaphor is worth 1000 pictures. There’s great wisdom to learn from the spring growth that breaks out of the cold grasp of winter. This year, at the 35th Annual Tulip Festival in Woodburn, OR, I was reminded of how the human spirit resembles the tulip bulb.

Before me spread acres and acres of magnificent tulips, proudly displaying depths of colors and varieties that only photographs could capture. Walking along the very muddy paths, mesmerized by the floral display, the growers had posted explanations of just how the tulips arrived at their state of regal beauty.


Two weeks hence, the garden show will close and bulbs will slowly lose their color and stalks will be cut. Leaves will retreat into the bulbs, waiting in the wet earth to be dug up and placed in a darkened room.

How many times have we felt the need to retreat, to withdraw from the extroverted demands of our work and/or our family in order to draw inward and make sense of the confusion around us? In this babble world of social media, tweets, constant chatter, it takes courage to withdraw. Do we allow ourselves the luxury, the necessity to halt and quietly take stock of the context of our lives? Without this hunkering down, the bulb that is our spirit has little chance to continue to grow.

New Soil

The tulip bulbs are later collected in long cloth sleeves and placed in rows in a different part of the land. Last year’s ground remains untouched, so it has time to renew nutrients. The new placement offers fresh soil for the flowers to begin their journey toward the sun.

Consider the value to our spirit in discovering new soil for our growth. Indeed, there is a medieval tradition still practiced in the Spanish Pyrenees that is all about growth. Specifically, for 12 months, on the day of one’s birth (for me the 5th of the month), do something you have NEVER done before. This new “soil” can offer adventures, experiences, insights, and education. Truth be told, I can’t always achieve this on the specific day but I feel duty bound to fill each month with at least one “never-done-before” action. Now, almost six months into the year, I am encouraged by my list of “firsts”. I’ve discovered a world of pilates, snowshoes, and the craft of delivering global webinars.

Thanks to Spring and the metaphor of tulips, I’m blooming where I am planted. How about you?

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