The Lotus and the Mud

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Recently my husband and I went to our local botanical garden when the most water lilies and lotus were blooming. It was a rich time for our senses as we walked the small streams and lakes full of blossoms. We left feeling renewed. I began to ponder how the exquisite lotus comes from a dark, murky place. In its unseen world it draws all the nutrients it can find through its stem to help it mature into a gorgeous lotus flower. It’s all the dark, muddy material at the bottom of the pond that feeds its emergence.

To make this more personal, how is our growth fed? Looking back on my life I see my growth was fed by the murky pond of my own inner darkness, the times I struggled most with cancer, surgeries, relationship challenges, job stress, depression and spiritual crisis. I’d like to suggest we all have troubling experiences through the choices we make and their consequences, or the unexpected events that take us by surprise.

All the internal conflicts we live with can feed our seed of potential so the mud of our own life nourishes the personal unfolding of our own version of the beautiful lotus flower. One of the most rewarding things to work toward is our own personal growth. When we reframe our struggles, we know ourself more deeply, let go of what we can’t control, accept what is, problem solve more creatively and experience more inner peace. Who wouldn’t want more of that?

Here are a few ideas for using our mud to grow. This is not an easy process. It takes time and involves unlearning some old habits and practicing new responses to difficulties. Let’s start by facing our fears so they don’t stop us before we even get started. Keeping a journal helps us reflect on recent events and gain self-awareness. Paying attention and becoming an active listener helps us understand the people around us. When we cultivate our social skills, we become better at working with a variety of different people. That’s personal growth.

More growth occurs when we embrace the truth. It’s easy to hide behind unconscious eating, constant activity, or too much alcohol, which blocks the nourishment we need from the truth. Instead let’s look at what needs to be seen and let it become part of our blossoming. To help with this we can ground ourself in what nourishes us by breathing deeply, listening to soothing music, being with people who support us, spiritual practices, or enjoying the art form that feeds us most. If we’re grounded in the present moment, we can resist the urge to ignore our mud and embrace it instead.

Growth occurs when we organize our home, work and time. Prioritizing helps us work through challenging situations so we can be more flexible and accept change. When we believe in ourself we approach decisions with more confidence because our values and priorities are clear.

If we want to reach our full potential, let’s use our transforming mud to get there. We’re all developing beautifully when we become our most authentic self. This brings our own precious lotus flower into full bloom. We can thank the dark, murky parts of our life for that.

Until Next Time – Sylvia

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