Bloom

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
– Anaïs Nİn

I used to gather flowers for my mother. When I was a child. I would hop off the school bus and before heading home, I would gather daisies in my hands from the apartment building’s small garden. It came so naturally to me. Without a thought. I just did. Take flowers to my mother to make her smile.

Then one day, someone told me “What’s the point of gathering flowers? In the end, they will all fade away.”

I stopped.

It took me years to realize how what’s the point had gotten engraved in my mind. Unawarely, I applied it to every aspect of my life. It poisonously spread insecurities and doubts within me, killing every creative idea, every thought of a possibility, every attempt at potential happiness before it got a chance to flourish. “What’s the point? They’re never gonna hire me anyway. What’s the point? Every relationship ends anyway. What’s the point? I’ll never become – insert an idol of yours – anyway.”

Cynicism is a coward’s armor. We trick ourselves into thinking we’re being realists, when in fact we are simply being defeatists. Within the safety net of our pessimism, we take no risks. For there are no guarantees as to what the outcome will be and not knowing, for sure, is a scary thing. Yet a safety net, is still a net. It keeps us captive in our insecurities, not allowing us to believe and experiment, to dream and reach our true potential. Because a pessimist claims to know that the outcome will be negative regardless of our best efforts. A realist on the other hand, knows that there are no guarantees, and that reaching a dream requires a bit of faith – in life as well as in yourself – and a lot of hard work.

Hard work means getting your hands dirty. You need to dig deep into the earth that is your psyche, sow the seeds, attend to them with time, energy, and you need to weed out all the distractions – including perfectionism, which is the most dangerous trap that we fall into. In the name of perfectionism, we keep our hands clean but at the expense of our dreams. Just like Aylin Sofia Deniz warned us in her interview, “when we bury our darkness, we also bury our light.” With a bit of dirt, with the first sign of an obstacle, we fearfully pedal back to the comfort zone of our ego. “What’s the point anyway?”

The point of a difficulty is that it serves us a lesson. We need to learn that obstacles in fact are necessary stepping stones, showing us how to improve ourselves. We need to have faith that a failure with all the negative emotions it conjures up, serves the purpose of telling us that a story we start, may not end the way we thought. It can even be better.

bloomIn his marvelous book The Consolations of Philosophy, Alain de Botton explains Nietzsche’s approach to difficulty as follows:

“…we should look at our difficulties like gardeners. At their roots, plants can be odd and unpleasant, but a person with knowledge, and faith in their potential will lead them to bear beautiful flowers and fruit – just as, in life, at root level, there may be difficult emotions and situations, which can nevertheless result, through careful cultivation, in the greatest achievements and joys.”

So let’s turn the question inside-out. What’s the point of “confining yourself tight in a bud”? What’s the point of giving all your resources to fear rather than inspiration? What’s the point of building barriers in front of you, when you could be building a bridge to your true purpose?

None at all!

Borrowing the words from Women Who Run with the Wolves, “I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.

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