Flowers Happen is the antidote to Shit Happens. I guess in a way it leads on from yesterday’s blog regarding the whitest lilies growing in the darkest places. When shit happens, we’re so bewildered. Why us? Why me? Why you? We’re so nice! Is there no justice in the world?
When recent shit happened as it most certainly did last year, I remember the utter disbelief that froze my brain for a split second each time. You can see it on a baby’s face when some disaster befalls it. Usually it’s the baby itself that’s befalling. And then it looks around to the nearest adult for confirmation that this is indeed terrible, just for a second. Sometimes it’s reassured by our reaction, and I have to say – sometimes we aren’t fair to babies, when we smile brightly and expect them to tough it out, because if we are smiling then they must be wrong to feel this immense hurt. But sometimes they aren’t fooled by our lying faces – they believe their body and they emit the loudest scream they can muster, and then they’re inconsolable. In fact it’s not them mustering it, it’s the pain and anguish – it wells up from deep inside, like a living thing and then of course we pour out our sympathy and agree that indeed it must be very sore; we succumb to the inevitable and deal with the poor little mite’s bewilderment and shock and see to the healing of it.
A sangoma explained to me that her body acts as a telephone. You too can trust your body. It doesn’t lie to you. Very often, when someone is coming to see a sangoma, she will feel the symptoms before the patient arrives. Sometimes she wakes up with it but normally the telling symptom is that the pain arrives during the morning and disappears with no medication once the patient leaves.
Hence the term – a ‘gut’ feeling. But the great thing is that joy a.k.a ‘flowers’ can also land suddenly out of the blue. A phone call – an email – and the whole world is changed in an instant. I remember this happening most vividly during a walk along Main Road in Kalk Bay, back to the delightful little office I’d moved into about a week before. The joy just started turning spontaneously in my chest cavity and it felt like golden honey but the image was that of a giant frangipani blossom or propeller.
It’s said that the chakras turn like this at various points on one’s body but I’d never felt it so strongly before. And it’s very common that when amazing things happen and we ‘feel’ joyful and elated – we don’t actually stop to feel it. This was an exception for me. I may mouth off at length about how happy I feel and what this signifies now that x event has happened – that’s the head trying to compute, enjoying the moment and communicate it, but to stop and feel that feeling in one’s body – it’s a rare pleasure. We bury our noses in roses but our entire body is a sensory mechanism – the whole of life is a bouquet to be savoured if only we’d remember to tune in, to notice. And these metaphorical flowers bloom whether or not we notice, like the delicate little blooms all over Table Mountain where hardly anyone goes (the muggers have seen to that) or on the side of the road, eating dust and being trampled by people preoccupied with the rent-money, the school-fees and why he/she no longer feels the love.
It adds so much to life – just stopping every now and again (it only takes a second or so, and you can go back to worrying afterwards) to feel the blood coursing through your veins, to feel the life pulsating through your whole system, to enjoy the smoothness of your skin and the delicate construction of your ears, which sometimes sing like cicadas and tell you that you’re tired and it’s time to go to bed now… (yes body I hear you). I’m often guilty of ignoring the poor faithful body, sitting at the computer for hours, getting tired or cold or hungry or thirsty and in desperate need of a bathroom, and sometimes all these things together but it’s only when I’m interrupted that the body can finally get a word in and then I barely know what to see to first.
I want to consciously try and stop more often and just be here now, whenever and wherever ‘now’ is. Sometimes even when the general outlook is bleak, the moment one inhabits is absolutely fine in itself so let’s let those flowers happen.
Oh – and this story is ridiculous but you’d be amazed how helpful the thought can be – a guy plunged from a 40-storey building – people’s faces popped out of the windows opposite and he saw them and shouted – ‘I’m okay so far!’