The teachings of a Sunflower

Sunflowers and I have had a budding relationship. Okay, pardon the pun, the words came to me that way and many of you know I have a kind of corny sense of humour. 

Years ago sunflowers spooked me as with their turning to follow the sun, I felt they also appeared to turn to follow me! That was a little creepy to my young and vivid imagination. I really wasn’t sure I wanted them in my garden and could admire them from afar. In recent years I have a new appreciation for them. Apart from the amazing number of seeds you get from one flower they light up the garden on the most overcast of days with their sunny disposition. Many years ago I recall taking a walk with a master Qigong healer and he was talking to me about how everything around us reflects our state of being. He pointed to some leaves on a tree that were dry and brown and said “ look at those leaves, where do you feel parched in your life, what are you thirsty for?”  I was still working through my husband’s recent passing and was thirsty for many things! This brings me back to the sunflower. I wasn’t aware of my inner ‘thirstiness’ as I have always been a half -full glass kind of person. When so many of my outer sources of ‘water’ (too numerous to mention here)  left the same month, the same year, I was propelled to first of all realize I had depended on outer sources to feed me – a sunny day made me happy, the crazy dog made me smile, I was happy because… and there was plenty to make me happy.      

That realization took me on a journey to discover my own sunshine, my own inner happiness. Several years and many teachers and workshops later, I recall waking up one dull and dreary February Saturday morning in Toronto and I had this feeling of happiness and peace. I asked myself why I was happy. After all, I had no plans to see anyone, no particular place to go, no special activity to anticipate. And the answer was that I didn’t need anything to make me happy, I simply was at peace with myself. I had arrived. I had become the sunflower, happy no matter what the weather was like.  When you arrive at that place, outside influences simply enhance what you already have, you don’t need them to make you happy and while you may look forward to meeting up with a friend or seeing a relative, you aren’t miserable because you are unable to do so for whatever reason. We all have had a year of restricted interaction with others and for many, a year of solitude. Has this assisted you to find your inner sunshine or are you still looking for it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Sweetman