“There is nothing to prove and nothing to protect. I am who I am and that is enough.”
My peony didn't bloom this year. She came up nice and green. Tall, too. But there were no buds. Nothing that was going to unfurl into her gorgeous fuchsia flowers—so big and beautiful that they always bend her to the ground.
I was sad, at first. I found myself giving her extra water, encouraging her in my mind. (Come on, come on. Bloom, baby, bloom.) Then a little exasperation snuck in. (Come on, come on! Flowering is the whole point, isn't it!?) Next, compassion. Yes, compassion for a plant. (It's OK if you don't bloom this year. Take a break. I don't think you got enough water last summer. My guess is there is a lot going on at the root level that I can't see, but that you know about.) Finally, love. Shown by long drinks of water beyond what our sprinkling system gives. Offered through a simple honoring of her enoughness in all her green beauty. (I am so happy you are here at all.)
Two years into my cancer diagnosis, my peony is a powerful metaphor, mirroring the places this journey has taken me. Showing me what I have already lived through. Reminding me of my own fallow time that, I am happy to say, feels more and more like a memory than a reality. There was the sadness—and, sometimes, still is: sadness and exasperation about all that cancer took from me. About all the ways I could no longer show up the way I used to show up. Sadness and exasperation about how my outward appearance has changed. About how tired it made me, and how so many things that I never thought of twice now seem like so much work.
Self-compassion was one of the best gifts I gave myself in my journey. Offered right on time to allow me to receive the help and support I needed. Helping me soften and allow a new normal. I know that my own practices of self-compassion allowed me to find compassion for my peony. And the compassion I found for it has served to renew the self-compassion I offer myself as I continue to go through my own summer growing season. Now, the love flows. To myself. To my peony. And out beyond my own backyard, too, just as it's designed to do.
My peony didn't bloom this year. And she's OK.
Holy One, thank you for loving us, however we show up. For assuring us that we are enough, just as we are. Amen.