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There is a house up the road from where I live and it has the most amazing garden. Around August & September each year, their garden beds burst at the seams with these beautiful flowers of all different colours. Reds, yellows, pinks, oranges…such beautiful, cheery flowers. I’ve lived here for 5 years and each year this garden takes my breath away. Every time I pass it I say a prayer of gratitude that such beauty exists. Once I actually wrote the home owners a note to say thank you for maintaining such a lovely garden that brings happiness to all the people that pass it.

However, toward the end of October, the flowers start to die. Such is their natural life cycle. The once tall flowers begin to droop. The colours lose their vibrancy and the petals begin to wilt. Watching them fade is sad and just as their beauty hypnotises me every year, the grief I feel watching the flowers demise gets me too.

It is the perfect metaphor for a life well lived. When the flowers are in full bloom, each day is a celebration. Each day is truly well lived. Because it is only temporary. In a few short months, it will all be over so each day is significant.

What can these flowers teach us about our own lives?

It can get so easy to distract ourselves with meaningless stuff and drama. To convince ourselves that the true meaning of life is getting up for work Monday – Friday and making it through to the weekend. That life is about being content with what we have, wanting to have more but never actually getting more. That life is about making the most of the cards we have been dealt as if we can’t change them and we aren’t the masters of our own destinies.

In short, we take life for granted.

We have gotten so used to taking life for granted that we have no motivation to make every day count.

So it’s time to take a few lessons from those beautiful flowers.

Lesson #1: Life is short. This moment is fleeting. Our current situation is temporary. We are in a constant state of change, or at least we can be if we choose to want more for ourselves.

Lesson #2: We should stop letting fear hold us back. The flowers don’t refuse to bloom because they know it’s only going to last for a little bit. They bloom and make the most of the time they have. We are stuck in fear because of what MIGHT happen. We worry about failing, about being rejected, about not being loved. Each day is an opportunity to rise above the fear.

Lesson #3: Being 100% ourselves is the best way to help others. The flowers make everyone happy. Simply by existing and doing what nature intended, they touch the lives of so many. That is your power. When you are truly yourself. When you live from your heart and follow what makes you happy, you also touch others. People see what you do and it becomes possible for them to. Don’t underestimate the impact you have to lift others up.

Lesson #4: It’s good to garden. Get outside. Be in nature. Plant pretty things. Become part of nature and leave your mark in this world. It might seem like a small contribution, but it is everlasting.

They say life is short but it’s actually the longest thing you will ever do. But when you do get to the end, don’t you want to look back and be thankful for making the most of it rather than wishing for more time?

I know what I would rather….

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