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Natural Selection

Natural Selection

Posted on 17. Apr, 2010 by gilly in DREAM

I feel very lucky.

I celebrated my last birthday surrounded by loving husband, kids, parents and nephews, showered with gifts and my favorite foods and champagne. I also fielded emails, text messages, phone calls from roughly 70 people spread across 15 countries. As if that weren’t enough I also received 4 truly breathtaking bouquets, including one from the flower shop down the block that delivered them all (happens to be my favorite in Brussels, they kinda’ got that something was happening for me that day!).

The last delivery, from my best friend, boasted 48 roses (the secret is out of the bag) which, in keeping with our friendship, seemed to hold out forever. It was a full week before I decided to pluck out the wilted roses to salvage the perky ones.

This takes time, but the alternative—waiting an extra 3 days until the entire lot was ready to trash—didn’t feel like an option. Not the kind of thing I do.

I heaved the huge, intoxicating bunch out of the vase, snipped the string and gently took it all apart in the sink. I cast aside the roses that were clearly done for, isolated the still impeccable ones and trimmed the offensive petals off those that were somewhere in between. I pulled off dry leaves, rinsed and refilled the vase. With red, orange and pink petals cascading across my countertop and feet, a metaphor began to percolate. I’d like to say, from my heart up to my head. It went something like this (bear with me here): Our life, when you think about it, is a huge bouquet of roses. As we mature we get to choose which ones we keep and which ones we are through with.

To honor the elements we want to safeguard, we have to clear out the encumbering weight that no longer serves.

Yeah, those dead roses certainly brought color and fun to our life while they lasted and…..we have a responsibility, to ourselves, to differentiate between possibilities and wilted would-be’s, and know how to let the latter go. And no else can say, really, what’s still good, what works, what doesn’t, except us. This intimate selection needs to be artful, gentle, thoughtful (i.e. remove brownish petals and it will look fab). At times it can also be obvious, immediate, thought-free (yup, that here is a dead flower). Either way, no one can do this but us.

By 7am, feeling incredibly serene, I swept a bucketful of rose waste into the trash and reached for a slimmer, different, far less modern vase, a quirky 1950’s number found in a flea market 17 years ago.

I now had a radically new bouquet. Less roses, for sure, but all of them elegant, stunningly healthy and breathing tall, with renewed presence.

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