May 15 – The Risk to Bloom – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk to bloom.” Anais Nin

We all face this turning point repeatedly: when resisting the flow of inner events suddenly feels more hurtful than leaping toward the unknown. Yet no one can tell us when to leap. There is no authority to bless our need to enter life but the God within.

How often we thwart ourselves by holding tenaciously to what is familiar. It is instructive, if chilling, that in floral shops the roses that won’t open are called bullets. They are discarded because they will never bloom. They have turned in on themselves so tightly that they can never release their fragrance.

Yet as spirits in bodily form, we have the chance to tighten and bloom more than once. But even spirits, if turned in on themselves enough, may grow accustomed to being closed. Unlike roses, however, the human chamber can be shut down for years, and still, it takes but one breath from the true centre and we will flower.

It has always amazed and humbled me how the risk to bloom can seem so insurmountable beforehand and so inevitably freeing once the threshold of suffering is crossed.

I have a friend in recovery, and when asked what made him stop drinking, he says, “The pain of drinking became greater than the pain of not drinking.” The same can be said for us all. We can flower in an instant, as soon as the pain of not flowering and not loving become greater than our fear.

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