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On the sidewalk walking I was stopped in my tracks

By a beauty standing tall, head high in full bloom

I learned its name – Hibiscus – stunning

Took my breath and moved it to my heart

Pure truth standing three feet tall

Holding wisdom confidently

Without uttering words, I heard the message

Be proud of who you are

“The message of this flower is: My cup fills up with love, bringing joy and laughter to the soul. Hibiscus opens us to a broader, less limiting perspective of both our personal and global world. It awakens us to aspects of knowledge and wisdom of our core essence.”

I am a kind word uttered and repeated By the voice of Nature; I am a star fallen from the Blue tent upon the green carpet. I am the daughter of the elements With whom Winter conceived; To whom Spring gave birth; I was Reared in the lap of Summer and I Slept in the bed of Autumn. At dawn I unite with the breeze To announce the coming of light; At eventide I join the birds In bidding the light farewell. The plains are decorated with My beautiful colors, and the air Is scented with my fragrance. As I embrace Slumber the eyes of Night watch over me, and as I Awaken I stare at the sun, which is The only eye of the day. I drink dew for wine, and hearken to The voices of the birds, and dance To the rhythmic swaying of the grass. I am the lover's gift; I am the wedding wreath; I am the memory of a moment of happiness; I am the last gift of the living to the dead; I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow. But I look up high to see only the light, And never look down to see my shadow. This is wisdom which [we] man must learn.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • That was a lovely reading. I had the thought that during this pandemic, more people are exalting in the beauty of flowers because we are seeing them more as we do less. Looking to animals and insects and flowers and trees for hope and inspiration. I wonder, can animals look at us for hope and inspiration? Not always.

  • I fixated on beauty. Then I started thinking about my walking as a spiritual practice. I’m always noticing nature. I saw a similar flower to the one you showed on my morning walk. I am realizing this is the first time in my life I have a consistent daily spiritual practice. In March, I started yoga as a spiritual practice. In April, I started walking. At the end of April, I joined the meditation group here. It's a daily practice. It’s exciting. A practice deepens us. During the meditation, I thought of a song I’ve known since childhood: For the Beauty of the Earth

  • There is nothing more restorative than nature, it is universal. It’s magnificence. The poem was beautiful.

  • I’ve been doing a daily hike for three years. When I do my hike now, I immediately fall into deep breathing. This has changed how I do my days.

  • Nature touches us deeper than we realize.

  • During the meditation, I thought of my childhood and seeing flowers, my grandmother’s lilacs and roses. The flower reminded me of hollyhocks, of which I made dolls’ skirts as a child. I thought about what flower am I? I used to make dandelion crowns when I was a child. Flowers were friends surrounding me. I heard the joy in the poem. Flowers bring me joy. I think of flowers and associate them with a close friend who passed.

  • I am working on recognizing pleasure and my spirituality. I heard someone say, “If you want something, find people who have it and do what they do.” I hear people here having what I want and I hear they have a spiritual practice. Yesterday, my husband asked me if I planted a flower that showed up in our yard. It's the same flower you showed today. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I think of the image of two girls meeting on the sidewalk in joy, each sharing. Joy is connection, the wonder of what is now. It’s not a place to attain. Small moments of joy can stretch into longer ones.

  • The critic in my head wanted to squash the joy I am experiencing.

  • I have a book called “Flower Fairies.” It is an enchanting book series, with pictures and poems.

  • I looked up the spiritual meaning of hibiscus. There is a lot to it. Click here to read more.

  • As a white person, I don’t think about race. So I have a spiritual practice of wearing a black sock on my right foot (the “dexterous” side) and a white sock on my left foot (the “sinister” side). It reminds me of race every day. It won’t bring down systemic racism, but it keeps me thinking about race.

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