Monday, February 8, 2016

A Universal Spell

There are over 6,500 languages spoken throughout the world. I speak English fluently, and know only a few words in Spanish, German, French, and Latin.  Yet, there are some things in our world that intrinsically transcend all language barriers and have the remarkable ability to weave common threads of understanding among all people. Things like the warmth of a smile, an embrace, the magic and mystery of music, a sunset, an act of kindness, a star-filled sky, a sculpture or a painting.  And! 

There are over 400,000 species of flowers, which is nearly half as many words as there are in the English language!  Flowers are used in nearly every culture and for practically countless occasions: to honor birth, commemorate holidays, celebrate weddings, remember anniversaries, praise accomplishments, just-because, as a message of encouragement or condolences, to decorate and beautify, to extract oils and essence, express love and affection, and to memorialize death.  These magnificent treasures of nature have the remarkable ability to reflect countless sentiments and emotions, in every language, simply by their existence. 

What is this universal, magical spell that flowers have upon humans, to affect not only our five senses but even imprint our hearts?  What is this remarkable ability to speak every language simultaneously? And to radiate unadulterated bliss!  Maybe it's because flowers are like an intoxicating olfactory potion that relaxes and rejuvenates body, mind and soul, or restores health as we breathe in sweet, spicy, woodsy, or delicate fragrances.  Perhaps it's the visual beauty of flowers that resonates in our souls, reminding us of our own stunning glory and uniqueness and immeasurable value.  And our innate power as a one-of-a-kind in our own species.  Whatever it is, there is unmistakably a connection between most people and their relationship with flowers.

Whenever I receive a bouquet of flowers or a live plant as a gift, I'm instantly aware of a feeling of euphoria that comes over me.  It's an inner space that opens up and allows me to feel greater happiness, gratitude, and delight.  Even if the flowers are given during a time of bereavement or ill health, my spirits are lifted, and they instantly provide a measure of comfort and peace.  

Yet, there are also times when I've received flowers that I hear myself say, "What did I do to deserve such an expression of love? Why would he or she send flowers to me?"  I'm taken back by the person's thoughtfulness and the fact that someone was thinking about me. I look at the flowers very closely.  I touch the soft petals, stroking them gently.  I study their shape, texture and variety.  I breath in deeply.  Then, ever so quietly, it's as if the perfection from which the flowers were created whispers in unison with the one who gave the gift, and replies, "Because you are so very special to me."  Next time you receive flowers from someone, or walk in a meadow of wildflowers on a mountain hike, or simply observe a single flower in your garden, just stop and listen for a few minutes.  Perhaps you'll hear something, too. 

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