As I look out my office window, I can see the vision of three very tall sunflowers with beautiful golden blossoms. For me, they also reflect how the outcome doesn’t always turn out exactly as we had hoped or planned.
My connection with sunflowers started as a child after hearing about them and how special they were from a dear family friend. In more recent years, my love of sunflowers inspired a friend whose lovely painting of them graces my home and were shared as seeds from a friend’s mother’s plant. I celebrate the essence of sunflowers – flourishing futures – on my website, systemsofchange.com.
After they re-appeared, I saw it as a message and took the seeds from my friend’s mother’s plant and sprinkled them in a part of the front yard. It was a huge surprise when the blossoms took root and I realized just how tall a sunflower can grow. The next year, I opted to plant them in what I deemed to be a more appropriate place for these large flowers, in the back yard. Sadly, they quickly succumbed to the rabbits who saw their tender green leaves as a tasty meal.
With the large number of seeds I had left over from the first blossoms, I tried a third planting, scattering them randomly throughout the yard. As I watch them grow this year, it is clear that the few that took root, knew exactly where they wanted to be – where they sprouted their first year.
While I would have preferred the side of the house for this year’s crop of sunflowers, I decided to see the gifts they reflect. My random planting has led to several new sunflowers which I can see from my office window. As they blossom, they are a lovely color contrast for the golden Stella D’oro Daylilies behind them.
Designing and implementing a vision can take a circuitous path and it is important to remember that:
- Visions do not always work out the way you expect
- Sometimes there are other factors in play, often times out of our control
- Unexpected outcomes can come bearing gifts
- We do not always know the best path – be open to possibilities
It is often said that in implementing a vision it is important to focus on the what and not the how. You can miss out on a lot when you try to control the ways in which a vision unfolds.
Have you ever tried unsuccessfully to orchestrate how something came about only to let go and find that the final outcome was even better than you envisioned?
Sunflower painting at the MFA today was very pretty. How unexpected that I just read your blog about sunflowers. My friend also loves sunflowers and wants to plant some. I told her they take up a lot of room, so I’m forwarding your blog which might be helpful.
What a lovely coincidence of timing. There is also a smaller variety of sunflower which has the same beautiful color so that might be of interest to your friend.
Lovely Mindy. Thank you!
Thank you Pat.
I guess we are all gardeners of our own lives! The metaphor of gardening as the act of planning, hoping, and accepting outcomes, is one I can carry with me as a guide to living an intentional life.
Thank you for your observations
Love that connection and the idea of a guide to living an intentional life.