I love fresh flowers.
The smell. The vibrant colors. The way the sunlight slices through my estranged father’s crystal vase on my kitchen table, painting the walls with luminescent rainbows.
They make me smile every time I come into the kitchen. Drinking my morning coffee or eating a meal is simply more pleasurable when I am surrounded by the aliveness and wonder of nature.
I was in The Fresh Market the other day picking up a few things for dinner when I spotted them. The most amazing bouquet of oranges, reds, purples, whites, yellows and greens all swirled together in the perfect way. There were other flowers there, of course, but these spoke to me. There was just something about them that made my heart cry “YES!”
When I went to put them in my cart, something interesting happened. I started talking myself out of them. They were a little pricier than the others, and could I really justify spending more money on something that was going to die anyway? After all, there were perfectly lovely flowers that were less expensive. Those arrangements also had some of my favorite colors in them, and they would do just fine. So I picked another bouquet, put them in my cart, and continued my shopping.
Somewhere in the produce section, I thought ” What are you doing? You love those other flowers. March yourself right back over there and get them. Take them home with you. Enjoy them. They please you, and you have permission to please yourself”.
So I turned right around, still holding my avocado in one hand. With my other hand, I lovingly placed this bundle of deliciousness in my cart. I may or may not have swooned a little. It wasn’t so much about the flowers at this point. It was more about the permission I had given myself in that moment to gift myself my heart’s desire.
I took those beauties home, cut them, arranged them in clear water in my crystal vase and set them in the middle of my kitchen table. And every time I saw them, I lit up from the inside. I’m pretty sure I beamed. All because I had allowed myself to want what I wanted.
That experience really got me thinking about how often we do that in our lives.
How we settle for crumbs. For less than what we actually want, or desire, or deserve.
How we stay in relationships that are ok. They are fine. We are not being overtly mistreated. Our partners are not cheating on us. There’s nothing really wrong with the relationship or the person.
Except neither make our soul sing.
How often we stay in jobs that pay the bills. They make our ends meet. It’s not a bad place to work; we get along with our co-workers and we know what to expect and what is expected of us. There’s really nothing wrong with the job.
Except it does not awaken our fire.
How often we drive cars that are falling apart, or wear clothes that are 15 years old, or put up with appliances in our house that don’t work they way they are supposed to. And we tell ourselves that it’s fine. The car still drives, the clothes are not threadbare and the dishwasher still works.
How often we talk ourselves out of what would actually please us and make us deeply happy in the name of practicality, reason, or some long ago external voice telling us why it’s impossible to actually receive what we want. And how unreasonable it is to want it in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating spending money you don’t have or quitting your job. What I am inviting you to do is notice where you ignore the longings of your own heart by having just enough of a mediocre experience to dull the edges of your own ache.
The heart does not know logic. It knows feelings. Sensations. Reactions. It responds to catches in our throats. Hitches in our breath. Widening in our eyes. Quivering in our bellies. Smiles spreading unbidden across our lips. That is the language of our desires.
More and more every day, I am tuning into the rightness of these longings. How very sacred they actually are. They are not grandiose. Or greedy. Or trivial.
If anything, they invoke our aliveness and vitality. They are divinely inspired and led- true, unfiltered expressions of the universe within us. What could be more right and on purpose than that?
What would happen if you gently but honestly probed the subtle tugs of your own soul? If you really noticed all the ways you turn away from your own heart. If you allowed yourself to truly see what stops you from following the thread of your desires?
At this time in my life, I can not think of a more beautiful or worthwhile inquiry.
How about you?