This post is written for Day 5 of The Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018.
The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all. — Mulan
This quote takes me back in time to my growing-up years, when a dear aunt of mine had gifted me a copy of L.M. Montgomery’s all-time classic, Anne of Green Gables, with a beautiful handwritten note to the same effect.
In the book, the protagonist, Anne, has every reason to view life from a negative perspective but her drive to imagine and perhaps reach out to the best in things actually pushes her to change her paradigm and instead see life as a beautiful thing. The book spoke to my tender heart that had been struggling to come to terms with a few volleys that Life had sent my way but the best thing was that the book somehow managed to lift my spirits, besides leaving me with a life lesson and a wisdom that I would always look back on, with gratitude in my heart for a long time to come.
Even today, I clearly remember, when I emerged after reading that book, the quote as much as the book itself had made me a changed person. It had not only taught me about resilience, courage and grit, but the fact that often, adverse situations end up shaking us to the core, that make us question our values. In many ways, it prepared me to face bigger volleys from life, with a resilience and a strength I’d not have known otherwise.
Now, you may ask what is the connection of adversity with the ‘flower’? Let me explain.
The flower in the quote, refers to the Plum Blossom that grows in China. It is a beautiful tree that does not wait for the warmth of the spring to bloom. Instead, it blooms in the harsh winter with its’ myriad hues of white, pink and red flowers pushing through ice and snow. What is surprising about this flower is that, the colder it gets, the more the plum blossom blooms and flourishes— thriving, growing and filling the air with its’ unforgettable essence and a surreal beauty that becomes all-pervading and mystifying in itself. The petals of the flower grow through the winter storms. And the harsher the conditions, the more buds come into bloom.
Likewise, our moments of hardships and struggle also nudge us to open up to new experiences, to look beyond our situation, no matter how tough it seems and sharpen our senses. We can only learn and grow when we are open to experience these difficult moments and allow them to shape our minds and sensibilities. By allowing ourselves to the very limits of our abilities, our true potential emerges. We must bloom as only we can. No two lives or individuals are the same.
Plum blossoms bloom in all sorts of places and spring up regardless of ice and snow. If we develop resilience and perseverance within us, we can prevail too, regardless of adversity and pain and the hardships that keep challenging us. No matter what losses we face, we go on, because life must still be fought out until the very end, as Tennyson says in Ulysses—
That which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
As we all deal with our individual struggles and moments of hardships in life, I hope we all carry along within us the beautiful story of the plum blossom to inspire us in our dark moments.
Finally, I leave you with a beautiful TED talk by Andrew Solomon, which I hope you will enjoy as much as I did—Some beautiful thoughts and some wise words that will surely make you ponder on how adversity shapes our lives!
Linking this post with The Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018. Today’s prompt is a quote—”The Flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”