The Lotus

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Whenever you should doubt your self-worth, remember the lotus flower. Even though it plunges to life from beneath the mud, it does not allow the dirt that surrounds it to affect its growth or beauty.—Suzy Kassem

Monday night I peered at my phone before slipping into bed and saw that a friend’s father had passed away. While I knew he was in the hospital, I didn’t expect it to be his last visit. When I reached out, she described feeling exhausted and numb. Ah, those familiar waves of grief.

Monday was also the five-year anniversary of losing my beloved Gramma and Facebook sends regular memory photos of my dear pug Louis that fluctuate between a punch to the gut and nostalgia. Today’s was a photo of us at the local dog park enjoying the snow two years ago.

As I type from a desk overlooking Costa Rican flora, a butterfly skirts past. These beautiful beings’ lifespan is an average of two weeks. Yet they fly with all their might, unaware that they only have a matter of days.

Loss and change are two constants in life. And it’s during dark times that our resiliency is tested. Will we break or will we bend?

When I snapped the above lotus in the fountain on Monday morning, I was mesmerized with the way the sunlight hit and how the lotus seemed to be growing toward the light. In the afternoon, I stopped back by and another lotus had bloomed. That evening, both had closed and returned to buds.

The lotus is a symbol of perseverance—the rising from a dark place into beauty. It grows in muddy water and yet produces delicate, fragrant blossoms. The murky environment allows the lotus to bloom. Chinese Philosopher Confucius said, “I have a love for the lotus, while growing in mud it still remains unstained.”

While most of us seek clarity and would prefer less “mud” in life, using the lotus as inspiration may help us have patience during the murky times. Could it be that the darkness is paving way for some sort of light? Possibly deeper self-understanding, the shedding of something that isn’t working or we’ve outgrown, a reminder of life’s fragility, or deep gratitude for what’s been lost.

Maybe the murkiness serves a purpose after all. By providing us with a ripe environment to pause and plant seeds, we’re given the tools to bloom.

The lotus reminds me of a Victor Hugo quote, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” May our blooms be a precious offering to the world. Bisous. x

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