It occurred to me yesterday that my cannas are the perfect metaphor for success.
My mother was fond of the phrase used for today’s title. It was always her way of telling me that despite our many, many moves I could still be a happy person- I just might have to try a bit harder in some locations. She encouraged me to attend church, fit in with a group of good students at school, and pursue my hobbies, no matter where we were or what we were doing.
I have followed mom’s advice and also clung to the notion of “do the best you can, where you are, with what you have”. Both have served me well.
However, my years of experience as a gardener have taught me that there is a huge difference between “blooming” and “flourishing”. And there is much to be said for being planted in the correct place.
Surviving is not living.
Happiness is not as fulfilling as joy.
Acceptance is not the same thing as contentment.
Being quiet does not mean you are at peace.
My orange cannas all came from the same little group of plants. I brought them with me from our old garden and spread them out here in all directions. None of them have died. But there are vast differences in how they have grown. One group has spread and multiplied and is currently supporting big floppy blooms. Another group is shorter, but still blooming. Two groups are just sitting and one of those definitely will NOT bloom this year even though the plants are the same age as the others. And before you blame the plants for some abnormality let me tell you that I moved one recently and it is already twice as large as the group left behind! So…something wrong with that spot…at least for cannas.
And as I look back at certain phases of my life I see that there was often something wrong with what I was doing or where I was doing it, even though I was going through the motions of “living a happy life”.
I have worked a variety of jobs: waitress, sales clerk, housekeeper, daycare worker, nanny, EKG tech, advertising proofreader, book designer, writer, printer. Nothing made me joyously happy and eager to go to work until I became a teacher!
I have lived in big cities, small towns, and everything in between. I survived in the city, but I’ve flourished in the country!
I’ve had a hundred hobbies, from crocheting to painting to making dolls. None ever seemed “perfect” for me…until the first time I picked up a camera.
I could go on, but I think a job counselor summed it up when he gave me some very good advice years ago. He came to our high school and gave a series of tests to the junior and senior classes. One was a test of spatial relationships and “putting pieces together” such as would be given for workers in a manufacturing plant. I did very well on the test, but after talking to me and looking at my grades the man said, “You would be miserable doing those jobs.” How true!
So with due respect to my mother, keep in mind as you seek a new job or home or any other life change in the coming years, that we are capable of being flexible and adaptable and enduring much in order to live. But if we are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing…we can flourish in amazing ways!