The blossoms and flowers are out in their full magnificence in Victoria B.C. where I was yesterday. I feasted my eyes on the flowering trees lining the streets and the daffodils. Back home a camellia is blooming in our own yard. I have always loved to drink in the energy of blooms.
Back in the sixties and early seventies, we had the “flower children,” a synonym for the hippies. Idealistic young people would wear flowers in their hair as a symbol of love and peace. Their slogan was “flower power” which stood for non-violence in the face of the Vietnam war. The flower children exerted a powerful influence on society. Those were the days of Woodstock and Easy Rider.
Decades later I discovered and wrote about what I call the appreciation break. If you want to pick yourself up from a low mood, or if you are feeling stressed, stop and for 15 or 20 seconds just look at something you appreciate or are grateful for. Focus on it and let yourself feel it at the heart level. Then let it go. Do it any time for a pick-me-up.
The object of your appreciation or gratitude can be in the external world or in your memory. It can be a person or a thing, a song or a saint, so long as you really appreciate it.
The more often you practice this simple gratitude exercise, the easier it becomes to slip into a state of appreciation. It tends to bring your heart rhythm into coherence and bring you into a deeper sense of connectedness with the universe. It’s like a prayer of thanks. It is up to you whether or not you give it a religious connotation.
What I did not understand until more recently was that there is more to flower power than the social movement it symbolized.
Back when I started to use the appreciation break for myself, there was a beautiful public flowerbed a few blocks from my home. That, or my mental picture of it, is what I focused on in my appreciation breaks. Within seconds, my body and mind would relax.
What I subsequently discovered was that I got better results from the appreciation break by focusing on flowers, rather than on other things. Flowers seemed to have a special energy. On reflection, I realized that all my life I had found flowers uplifting and empowering.
I asked a few other people and they confirmed my experience. One friend has built a business around the power of flowers.
Perhaps I have just discovered what gardeners have known all along. Perhaps the flowers in the hippie movement half a century ago played much more than a symbolic role in the social change that ensued.
I invite you to be curious about how the multitude of blooms around you these days are affecting you.