Even the Desert Blooms

I recently left the California Coachella Valley just when it was awash in beauty, blossoms, and color.  This phenomenon ~ when the desert is richly carpeted in thousands of wildflowers ~ is called a “Super Bloom”. It happens when a late fall monsoon occurs followed by cold temperatures that lock in moisture. These conditions prepare the soil for a later explosion of desert flowers.  Out of a “barren” desert floor emerges a varied and diverse orchestra of vibrant wildflowers, swaying, vibrating and pulsating with life in mid winter.  The wildflowers, mere seeds only days and weeks prior, fertilized with both rain and cold at an optimal time, now quickly sprout, grow and bloom as if they know that all too soon dryness and heat will return.

One morning our retirement community looks across the street towards a wide open space of bland dirt and sand; then, overnight we wake up and happily observe a different valley, one filled with lavish displays of varied blooms that appear to pop up overnight.  It’s not an annual occurrence, and comes only once in awhile inspiring folks to stop their cars, jump out and snap photos, or take that hike they’ve been postponing simply to see the desert come to life with vibrant color.   It is a lovely sight which I illustrate in the opening photo. Yes, I was one of the gawkers who pulled her car over, jumped across sage brush, thistles and thorns in order to gain an unimpeded view of the valley covered in color.  As if this scene weren’t beautiful enough on its own, added into the winter mixture was the towering backdrop of breath-stopping, magnificent mountains draped in snow.

I stop and breathe it all in –  it doesn’t get much better than this. This is winter in the Coachella Valley, believe it or not:

 

Coincidentally while enjoying the fruits of this Super Bloom, I happened to hear someone share a quote from a book which caused my ears to perk up, especially when I heard the phrase “even the desert blooms”.   The reader had no idea that my California desert town was concurrently witnessing a barren desert floor coming to life with color and glory —

“Our inheritance and early environment compose the soil out of which grow our thoughts and actions, both flowers and weeds. To raise flowers we must get rid of the weeds…we must keep cultivating…lest our garden be overrun by weeds. Soils vary; some are rocky, sandy, or swampy, while others are very fertile. But whatever the soil, there are appropriate flowers that can be grown. Even the desert blooms.”    ~ Lois W., How Alanon Works, page 154

This got me thinking about weeds in the garden of my soul. It isn’t a new thought as I often offer up silent requests to a Divine Protector asking that He/She remove the choking weeds that stand in the way of my growth and journey towards healing and wholeness. As Step 7 in 12 Step programs states: we humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.  This step is clear – the removal process is up to a Higher Power.  God may peer into the soil of my soul and generously acknowledge my gorgeous blossoms, but the reality is that noxious weeds exist along side.  I may have an agenda as to which weed I would like to see swept away. Yet, God makes that determination.  Perhaps the biggest and nastiest weed is not pulled first; maybe it’s a steady removal of numerous little pesky fellas sprinkled about.  Yet again, it may be God’s choice to remove the largest intruder that is crowding out my beautiful and rare orchid.  I don’t know… I trust that once I become willing and ask, then I resolve that God knows best and the outcome is not dictated by the restraints of my limited ego.

I also realize that this is a lifetime journey and my inner soil will never be totally free from weeds that will inevitably sneak in, so I stay vigilant and I do my best.  I try to stay humble and gentle with myself.  After all, I’m a less than perfect human being whose inner garden is a vast and diverse array.  In recognizing that my soil produces gorgeous blooms as well as annoying weeds, I come to accept myself with all my assets and flaws.  If my garden could sing, I might hear plaintive dirges as well as odes of joy.  But always, always, no matter the mood of my song, it’s filled with gratitude.

The topic of my February blog reminds me of an experience that is illustrative of the contradictions we each carry inside and show to the world.  One day, a friend pointed out what she thought was a negative character defect of mine.  It kind of knocked me off my feet; however, a couple of hours later in stark contrast another friend wrote to say that she missed my smiling face and positive personality.  I tried to reconcile the two opposing views – and as I reflect, it’s my guess that the former saw a yellow dandelion weed and the latter saw my golden yellow rose . 🙂  So yes, that is me – the negative and the positive, the energetic and the lethargic, the optimist and pessimist, the enthusiast and the complainer, the humble and the vain.

I believe I am here on this earth to evolve, to reconcile these opposing attributes in full partnership with my Higher Power.  Can people change?  I had this conversation with my son recently who believes that the essence of people does not change; I replied “perhaps, but I know people can grow.”  So, my hope is that my weeds (shortcomings) stay in check, and that my flowers (assets) continue to flourish, thrive and achieve prominence.  No one wants a garden where weeds run wild.

 

I am also reminded to aspire daily to keep the focus on myself.  That’s a full time job  – tending to the weeds and blossoms of my own garden instead of looking over a fence obsessing about my neighbor’s garden. 😉  I can also resolve to make a conscious effort to digest tough lessons, stay teachable and strive to learn something from all experiences so that my inner garden can continue to grow towards the Light which is nourishing, supportive, and most of all….unconditionally loving.

img_6048

May you look inside and see your own unique beauty.

Love,

S.G.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “Even the Desert Blooms

  1. Hi, Susan – What a beautiful and thought-provoking post. I have heard about the desert’s “super bloom” but have never witnessed it at its peak. I would definitely love to.
    Now on to your bigger question. Can people truly change? What I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, is that we can continue to evolve and grow🌸. Actually, I believe that that is our purpose!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your heartfelt sense of gratitude for life itself and the assorted weeds and flowers that bloom in our gardens. Paul and I were in the desert when a super bloom happened. It was so beautiful in contrast with the natural rock and shrubbery that was there. It was a delight for us both to say the least. You certainly are a wonderful writer Susan. What a blessing that is to be able to convey your thoughts in such a heartfelt and wondrous way. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale,

      What a lovely comment – I am so honored. Yes you put it beautifully, the color of the varied flowers in contrast to the “moonscape”. I am becoming quite fond of the desert and will probably make it my permanent homebase pretty soon. That is quite a development and a change of heart more or less!

      As fate would have it, I just had lunch with Myrna a couple of hours ago. It was a wonderful reunion.

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and commenting. You and I both know where inspiration originates from – I offer up a prayer and ask to be used as a vessel to convey an inspirational message and voila the blog appears. It is not as quick as that of course, as I do struggle with trust that the words will come but they do come !! I spend hours and hours on the writing and re-writing. In fact I woke up this morning wanting to make a quick change to the blog but it was too late, it was already out there in the blogosphere😂.

      since I am retired it gives me something to do and is a way for me to channel my creative juices!

      Much love,
      S.G.

      Like

    • You are a true friend ! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support ! So many people don’t have time to sit down and read and I’m grateful that you did !

      Love
      S.G.

      Like

  3. Beautiful thoughts here. I like the even deserts can bloom idea. I also agree with you that people evolve, grow, change. My observation is that people remain the same in the sense of how they take in information; that is, they learn via reading or hearing or seeing [their essence]. But the info they take in is different so they must change to align themselves with the what they now know [their growth]. Meaning that I think both you and your son are right! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ally,
      Thanks for your great comment. It’s a great question, isn’t it, can people change? I feel I am a prime example of someone who changed, but the essence and core personality traits I have had since I was little are there – it’s how I choose to channel/use these traits that is key! For example, if a person is hardwired for brute honesty, they tell everyone what’s on their minds, no filter – well that can be an asset if it’s used constructively; but if it’s used to hurt, not so good. Unfiltered honesty can be a character asset that turns into a defect. The change comes when a person becomes self aware as to how that personality trait is used and decides what’s working and what’s not working! If the person moves in the direction of becoming a more kind and patient person, well that is both change AND growth.

      Love
      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes! I believe people can change. By pulling the pesky weeds as you describe, but also by blooming and growing into all we can be – discovering the latent talents and beauty we were born with. And how often do I believe I can do this all on my own only to become frustrated? Thank you for the reminder, S.G., that God is on our side and will help us change if we but ask. Lovely photos of the ‘super bloom!’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Molly,

      Great to hear from you and as always, your are the purveyor of deep wisdom. I love it! As you know, I decided to work the 12 steps when I had a hard time dealing with the problem drinking of others.
      The 12 Step Program changed my life – I went from an emotional tempest to greater peace of mind and serenity… thus “Serenity is an Inside Job.” As I expressed in a comment above, our basic personality traits are the package we come into this world with, and how we use them (for ill or good) is the trajectory of our life. For me, I wanted to change the trajectory. I had a lot of assets but they seemed to be overshadowed by weeds! I have chosen growth and evolution but I suppose not all people take that step; they stand still and are comfortable with “what is”. I think we all know people like that, and God Bless Them. I want to grow into the best person I can possibly be, and even if it’s baby steps and slow growth, I’m okay with that. I believe that this blog was a latent talent that came about because I had made a decision to grow and evolve; yet I couldn’t do it alone. Part of my morning prayer states “God be with me in every moment, for I can not do it without you!”

      Love,
      S.G.

      Like

  5. Beautifully written. I am envious of your inspiring views!
    Great photos. Mountains are so enthralling. The poet Mirabai wrote many poems In praise of the mountain energy.
    My experience is that personality doesn’t change but thoughts and behavior can and do. My two cents. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Myrna,

      Thank you for stopping by, reading and commenting. I love what you have shared. Yes, we can change our attitudes and behavior but our core traits we are born with are pretty much a constant. We come into this world with a certain constitution (as the Indian health science of Ayurveda teaches us). I think the word “change” is an apt word when, for example, we look fearlessly at our basic traits – such as the essence of our personality – and do a honest inventory. If we are swaying too much in one direction (such as the negative), we can change the direction and move to a healthier way of thinking, acting and being. That can be construed as change, I suppose, but we still have our basic core package – we are simply deciding what we are going to do with that package!

      I know a gentle quiet soul whose nature is introspection and sweetness – that has never changed. But over the years she has learned that it’s okay to have a voice and speak up for what she needs or doesn’t like. So she “changed” from someone who might have been called a “door mat” to someone who is trying to speak up for herself more. Her core personality of meekness and shyness is still there to be sure- but she’s grown and matured and learned (changed) how she responds to being mistreated!

      It’s a great subject!

      Love,
      S.G.

      Like

  6. Your super bloom looks gorgeous! I would love to see one sometime. I think I agree with you in regards to people changing. I think people can evolve. I certainly did. I don’t think I am the same person I was at 25 (thank goodness!) or 45. we learn, we grow, we soften and become more compassionate. Our lives shape us.

    I love your morning prayer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Laurie,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I was just talking to a friend who is also in her 60s and has a very spiritual nature. We both agreed that we feel we are now better human beings, but I imagine we worked at it – I know I did and it was a conscious effort. Unfortunately, I did not like myself. I look back at my former self with compassion and have more self acceptance and self love these days. Now that is a change and some evolving as well. I’ll take it!

      Love
      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A timely post, especially the part about not obsessing about somebody’s else’s weeds, but taking care to root out our own, little by little. Thank you for sharing the “Super Bloom” since I had no idea and no familiarity with the desert. Absolutely uplifting! BTW, your post put me in mind of Matthew 13, which says that eventually, weeds are removed and destroyed, but even this Biblical verse indicates that it happens over time and with careful oversight. The “enemy” (however one thinks of it) sows the weeds of anger, bitterness, mistrust) but awareness and observation keep it in check until the time of harvest (the time set for realization and action). Thanks for getting my mind and spirit moving!

    The Parable of the Weeds
    24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

    27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

    28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

    “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

    29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

    Suzette

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Suzette,
    Thank you so much for your profound thoughts. Cultivating beautiful blooms also take time and much care – water and fertilizer (good thoughts, good deeds); and you are so right about the weeds intertwined with the blooms. It reminds me that sometimes character defects are simply assets run amok. Best to see everything grow first, without hasty action, and then with care and attention, uproot the weeds that one knows are weeds being careful not to destroy the blooms along side.

    Beautiful ! Thank you dear friend for posting your comment. It’s always such a honor to read your words. And thanks for the reminder about Matthew 13.

    Love,
    S.G.

    Like

  9. All of your photos are stunning, Susan! I would have stopped the car, too, for the opening photo. This is the first time I have heard the phenomenon, “Super Bloom.” I really like your description of the wildflowers and the ideal conditions required to bloom. A very beautiful quote. I read it three times to let the words soak in. Your paragraph on “a lifetime journey” really resonates with me. I agree with Donna. We all continue to evolve and grow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear E/E,

      What a beautiful comment and it tells me that I am on the right track. It seems to me that our inner blooms are more like wildflowers (crazy, unpredictable, colorful) than perfect roses, and I am comfortable with that. I am so imperfect but I strive to improve and that’s enough for me. I so appreciate you reading and commenting. 😘

      Love
      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s