“Wholeness is our natural state of being, the vibrancy of God expressed through all living things. While proper medical and psychological care support our healing, wholeness is our essential nature. It comes from within. Both the idea of perfection and its capacity to become manifest are implanted within each individual.” The Daily Word, June 9, 2012.
If wholeness is our natural state of being and the vibrancy of God (or the divine) expressed through all living things, then what is the vibrancy expressed through me? What is my essence? What’s vibrant about me?
This story about our Clivia plant helps me to understand and picture in my mind what is meant by “essence.” Perhaps it will call to mind a visual that will inspire you as well.
Recently our Clivia plant bloomed a brilliant red orange flower after being dormant for years. In caring for this plant, my husband placed it up in our cool attic and left it alone. This Spring, he pulled it outside and pruned it. On the weekend of our son’s confirmation we noticed the plant bloomed. We were both very surprised to see the beautiful radiant red and orange flower protruding from the center of the plant. I must confess that I always wondered why we had this plant hanging around. It always looked just kind of dead or dying.
I’m not the one with the green thumb in our family so I googled — “how to care for a Clivia plant.” I learned that “In cultivation, it is recommended that plants are watered regularly in summer, although not over-watered, with a resting period from autumn till late winter, when the plants are kept almost dry at 46-50 °F (8-10 °C). Plants can be re-potted yearly or every other year in all-purpose potting medium or coconut husks. Remember: It is very hard to hurt a Clivia by letting it go dry.”
This story about our family Clivia plant is a metaphor for finding and caring for our essence. It’s typical to be involved in activity and doings. So much so, that we don’t often stop to “be.” Sometimes we go from one thing to the next. I “should” do this and I “should” do that. Why? We tell ourselves that others need us or the thought of doing little to nothing makes us nervous. Who would we be without our doings?
Just as the Clivia plant blooms after resting and going dry, so too, we must create space for our own rest and dormancy in order to bloom again or connect with our essence.
Perhaps the perfect idea for each of us is like a blossom that blooms radiantly after it is cared for. Tending to my soul may mean going without activity and letting myself go “bone dry” — living with little activity or involvements. My watering consists of noticing what brings me alive and the natural energy I feel.
Re-potting helps. For me this means reconnecting in silence to my essence and asking God or the divine a few key questions. I stop, listen and notice my energy and I am honest with myself about it. Can I find my essence, my natural state of being if I’m constantly in action? My guess is that I will bloom my radiant flower when I have connected to my essence and my spirit within.
Saying “NO” to being involved can be difficult. I may feel obligated, want to help, feel like I can make a difference with my unique skill-set, or feel responsible to step up and make things better. I may feel guilty or selfish.
Yet, what if I know, in my heart of hearts that this is a “should” and not where my passion lies? Has my natural essence shifted from being passionate about something to feeling neutral about it? What if I was truthful with myself about my energy? What if there was no right or wrong about this?
As you think about this metaphor of the flowering Clivia plant, ask yourself:
1. Where am I now – blooming, dormant or over-watered?
2. How often do I allow myself time spent in dormancy? What does being dormant look and feel like for me?
3. What could it be like to deepen my experience? Whether I am in a time of full bloom and celebration in my life, a time of dormancy and wondering, or a time of pain?