More than anything, I must have flowers, always, always. Claude Monet
At this time of year we are surrounded by flowers, in public and private gardens, along roadsides, even in the cracks of the concrete sidewalk. Walking the dog in one short block I saw tubs of pansies, geraniums, and begonias. There are forget-me-nots, iris, peonies, columbine, poppies, periwinkles, and even a few dandelions almost gone to seed.
Living flowers aren’t the only flowers we see. Images of flowers abound in our society, from desktop backgrounds, to coasters, to paintings. I have a photo of tulips and and a drawing of sunflowers on my study walls.
For our spiritual practice this week, flowers will be a cue to focus our attention on the world around us. Choosing a common object as a trigger for our attention expands our ability to be present in the here and now. It is a way to wake up our consciousness and sharpen our senses. This is a good spiritual practice for experiencing a sense of connection to the greater whole.
Using flowers as a trigger to awareness and presence offers an opportunity to slow down for a moment.
The directions are simple: Pause, Notice, Open.
Pause: When you notice a flower or an image or reproduction of a flower, pause and breath slowly and deeply. Check in with yourself, stretch and relax. Shake out your body. Re-direct your thoughts to the present. How are you feeling? Take a few moments to sit with what ever emotion you might be experiencing.
Notice: Come into awareness of the flower. What kind of flower is it? Look at its colours. Consider its petals and leaf formation. Breathe in. Does the flower have a scent? Touch the flower if you can. How does it feel? Appreciate the flower’s beauty. Notice your response to the flower – how do you feel as you pay attention to the blooms?
Open: After focusing on yourself and the flower, expand your attention. What else is around you? What is attracting your attention? Try to keep your eyes “soft”, don’t stare or focus too intently, let your eyes roam and gaze at what captures them. Open yourself to the environment surrounding you. Then take one more slow, deep breath and return to your activity.
Try it for a day this week: Pause, Notice, Open every time you encounter a flower.