What Adversity Has Taught Me | #Writebravely

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.”

My other posts from the #FOW are here:
Day 3: Farewell
#Writetribe #Writebravely #festivalofwords

48 thoughts

  1. Well said, hardships and struggles give us new insights and learnings and make us a better person in turn. I absolutely loved Anne of Green Gables. That she could find positivity and something good in every situation was so wonderful. I wasnt aware of Plum Blossom, thanks for sharing about this amazing flower.

    1. Thank you Shilpa. I’m glad I found something inspiring that I could share with you all.

  2. I have read earlier about this flower and the quote reminded me of it. And, your post is connecting so many dots without any break. It charged me up after a hectic day. 🙂

    1. Thank you very much, Disha. I’m glad that my post made you feel so positive. So good to see you stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  3. I didn’t know the story of the plum blossoms. Such resilience in the face of hardships.

    Such a befitting example from nature. Beautifully written. Soulful as always.

    1. Its wonderful, isn’t it Pratikshya? Such an inspiration from nature and so glad you liked my writing. Thank you so much dear. 🙂

  4. the last post of my day and I am all happy to have read such a beautiful post for the day. An exhausted mind totally relieved! The video was worth a watch and the information about the plum blossom is quite new to me.

    1. Thank you very much for those wonderful words and even more so that my words could make such an impact on you! Some life lessons leave you with that kind of an experience. There are so many inspiring videos which make you sit up and think….this for me was one of them.

  5. An analogy with Plum Blossoms. That is some thought. We all need such inspirational words at times in our life when we struggle with self doubt. Thanks for this very motivating post.

    1. Thanks so much, Anupriya. So glad my post made you feel that way. Struggles are inevitable but our response to them is what makes it different, isn’t it?

  6. Inspirations post Esha, so glad I began my reading with this post which talks so well about life and how we should learn even from the worst situations and cases. My mom always said – good things only teach us comfort, hardships teach us lesson to survive.

    1. Thanks a lot. So glad to know you felt that way, Dipika. Some life lessons are hard to forget, right? They simply come our way to leave us with a little wisdom, I guess.

    1. Such a great talk that one, Suzy. I couldn’t have not shared it. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    1. Thank you very much, Rashmi. I’m happy that I was able to bring this story to share with you all. 🙂

  7. I love the way you create melody, some kind of a symphony with your words. Many people write well but very few can create this symphony. Something that soothes you.

    1. You made me happy, Tina. Thank you for the lovely words. I write but am never happy with my craft. I always know things that I need to work on…so much so that at times, I don’t even publish my posts for fear of my backlash in my mind. But the festivals make me work and force me to publish my posts. So much to learn still…cheshta chaliya jacchhi…koto dur egochhi janina. But thanks for your love and support. Means so much to me.

      1. I have always loved your style of writing. I remember tumi amake besh kichu chiti likhechile after you left Saltlake..I used to read those letters again and again. I used to be in awe of your English skills. Bahudin obdhi tomar pathano Archies er birthday card amar kache chilo. And how can I forget your amazing calligraphy..ato sundar hather lekha karo hayna..

        1. Bas bas…aar bolish na re…phule jachhi! Aar ei shob toh kothay hariye jacche aajkal. I miss writing long hand. When I get a chance, I write in cards and diaries because the way the pen works on paper always makes me feel amazed. Tui amake kothay tule dili re…Love you. <3

  8. Your words string up magic together Esha. Like Shilpa said, each word is so evocative, and delicately chosen with love and care.
    Beautiful, inspiring piece. More power and strength to you always. Big Hugs <3

    1. Thank you so much, Natasha. Your words made me so happy…some days that is all I need to pick myself and go on to face life. Glad you stopped by and shared your thoughts. I’m still going to need another couple of days to catch up with the reading, not to mention that I still have two pending posts for Day 6 and 7 to write. Not today, perhaps tomorrow is all I’m telling myself right now. Thanks again, Natasha. <3

    1. Thanks a lot, Doc. I know what you mean. We live in an age when such environments are the normal thing and it does get too much at times. The rising stress levels say it all, don’t they? Positive affirmations certainly work in such times.

  9. The first post of my day, made my day!!
    I have always been in awe of your writing, Esha! Every word chosen with love and care reaches where it’s meant to–the reader’s heart!

    I so needed to read these inspiring words today.. .So thank you, my dear.

    It may be my first post today, but I am sure it’s the best one!

    So glad you found time to do this challenge.

    1. Thanks a lot dear Shilpa for your wonderful words! It totally made my day. I’m struggling as much as the next person is and still I must say that this writing challenge was something I needed to get away from my challenging problems right now. Thanks again for stopping by the blog and sharing your thoughts, dear Shilpa. Means so much. 💕 💕

  10. What an inspiring piece to read this morning Esha- I didn’t know or never noticed this quality about the plum blossoms. We ad a plum tree in our garden and I remember loving the way it would fill up with white blossoms in Feb- march. Never knew that the harsh weather inspires it to bloom more.

    Your analogy of the blossoms with us facing life’s adversities is so poetic and well written.

    1. Thanks a lot, Shalini. Yes, one of those things that we often see but know little about, isn’t it? I was wonderstruck by this amazing resilient flower that bloomed in hard times and since I am going through a particularly stressful chapter (not just an episode!) in my life right now, I was able to draw my strength and positivity from the story. Thanks for showering so much love on the post, dear! Means so much to me. 💕

      1. Sorry to hear about your troubles Esha and here’s is loads of love and hugs to help you tide over. You are one of the most positive people I met online and one I have been wanting to meet since the longest.

  11. Wonderful thoughts and just when I needed them.. wasnt aware of that flower but there is surely lot to learn from it about perseverance and grit and thriving in adversity

    1. Thanks a lot, Akshata. So glad you felt that way reading the post. I too am learning new stuff everyday simply by learning from the others around me.

  12. Very well put. I totally agree that unless you experience the hardships in life, move out of your comfort zone, you can’t grow. Challenges test our abilities and patience and strengthen us.

    1. Yes, absolutely true with regard to how difficult times shape us and help us grow. This is something that I could only learn from the School of Hard Knocks!

  13. You have beautifully connected so many different aspects. From individual experiences to the flower blooming in the harsh environment and then an inspiring video, this was a great read.

    1. Thank you so much, Sonia.I’m so glad you thought that way about my post. I went with the flow of words, and added the video because I wanted everyone to take their own lessons from it.

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