Thursday, 17 April 2014

This is why I love peonies

This is why I love peonies: 

A few years ago I moved my peony plants. I am really not much of a gardener at all. But I am learning and I love it. 

I was told not to move them as they do not like it. I didn't have a choice and replanted them and was curious about what it meant for a peony 'not to like something'. 

Well, as it turns out, it means 3 years with not even a single bud offered. My favourite flowers in the garden just totally went on strike. For 3 whole years. 

But then I find all these buds this morning. Oh my goodness. I am going to have actual real-life beautiful peonies this year. It is seriously exciting. 

But here's why I really love them. 

Because when I was growing up, I was famous for having enormous tantrums and grumps and for withdrawing from everyone. Once I had left the room, even once I had calmed down, I absolutely could. not. go. back. downstairs. into. the. room. I felt such anger and then such all-consuming shame. 

Hence my peony love. I feel so completely validated by them. And I love how they give me a very real experience of how loved and watched I was during those very hard years of my life - when I thought something was very wrong with me and just couldn't get on with things. These days, I still feel that well-worn pathway of possibility and I do the mini version of withdrawing and retreating. I am learning to come back more gracefully with time. 

And, as I stand and wait patiently for the peonies to make their reappearance after THREE WHOLE YEARS of sulking (which makes me a lightweight sulker in comparison), I get a taste of the sweetness of the Love that held me through those years and holds me still through my sulky moments today. And the Love and unconditional patience that holds us all, however grumpy, withdrawn, sad and lost we get. 

As I stand there, waiting for them to flower, I know this deep in my bones: We can turn our back on the light. We can throw a shoe at the light (as Robert said in his last talk - it made me laugh a bit too much). But we can't make it go out or turn away from us or forget us or leave us behind. 

And when we do manage to walk back into the room, there is still space for all our radiant beauty to burst out of us. That beautiful, essential part of us never goes away or changes. We just forget it for a while. 

And that's why I love peonies.

1 comment:

  1. I love peonies, too, Hollie, and always make a bee-line for them if I spy them in either Waitrose or Marks. They are not the cheapest or the most prolific on the shelves so it does seem like a real act of self-love to buy them, get them home and wonder at their majesty for what is never quite long enough.

    I had a similar childhood experience with hydrangeas. Many a time I would get into a total strop with either my mum or my ever-annoying younger sister, pack a bag, leave home and go and move in behind an enormous hydrangea bush in the back garden. Rather unsurprisingly I never held out long enough for anyone to notice. They hold a very special place in my heart even now and their sheer beauty make me catch a breath whenever I see them.

    I've seen many of Robert's talks and he manages to make me both laugh and cry every single time. He really does make my heart SING. (Lucky, lucky girl. And lucky us for being awake. x)