I have been looking for spring lately, any sign of hope in what seems to be an everlasting delay of flowers blooming. With the cold air, rain, thunder, lighting, hail and snow... and the world events that seem to cast a dark cloud around all of us, I decided to take my search a bit further. Beyond our local markets, where fresh tulips are far and few between... and in our gardens where just a glimpse of a daffodil is a thrilling sight to see. In speaking to my dear friend in the Netherlands, I discovered a world of flowers that are a national treasure to their country. Where endless fields of flowers are a common sight to the people there, and the art of flower arranging is a tradition that is in the hearts of the Dutch people.
Discovering more about my own heritage knowing that my great grandmother came from Holland, it was my friend that introduced me to the richness in color and the love of gardening that has been such a part of my life and my Zen Living. My very first job was in a floral shop at the age of 16, and I feel as I do then, that the pleasure and beauty of flowers has the power to transform. At a time when a fresh bouquet of tulips on the table made all the difference this past Easter morning, I began to take those moments of appreciating the fragility and rare beauty that we all too often take for granted. I found tulips in Holland.
Tulips and tulips and more tulips. Endless fields of tulips and flowers for the eyes to see. I could not believe the photographs that were being sent to me. Where on earth have I been? How could I have missed this experience? Of course I knew the very best flowers came from Holland. I saw the boxes shipped into the floral shop, and I would quickly unpack and put the bouquets into the refrigerated display room. How could I have forgotten... how could I have missed this extraordinary country filled with a brilliant color and a passion for flowers that we so take for granted here in the United States. In my appreciation for the flower and garden industry, I had to learn more about this country that each year plants 7 million new flower bulbs into their rich soil. It is amazing what a red tulip etched with yellow can do for your soul. To hold in your hand, experience the delicate petals, smell the freshness and see the vibrancy of color... it is truly a gift.
Keukenhof, Holland is world famous for their flowers. About a half an hour from Amsterdam, the "Tulip Season" in the Netherlands attracts 800,000 people in just an eight week time frame. People of all cultural backgrounds travel to the Netherlands. Italians, Japanese, Americans... all to see the tulips rise. How did I miss this? I have come to realize that a part of my Zen Living is the awareness that I am still not living the Zen lifestyle that I speak and write about. I have been working seven days a week, sometimes sixteen, seventeen hours a day. Yet, I have not taken the time to see or even smell the flowers. Until now.
Holland has changed me. It only took up until today, Day 30 as I call it, of my staying true on my path that has opened my eyes to so very much that I have been missing. Now, I chose to spend time with my three daughters, whether in person or on the phone. Now, I take one day off just for myself, to plan, do or go anywhere or chose not to do anything that I want to do. Now, I take time to talk with my friends. Now, I have made changes in my business to give me this time to make the right choices, that will be beneficial to the whole, in the end. Now, I rest more, smile more and laugh like I have never laughed before.
All thanks to the tulips in Holland. I'll be there, one day.
Love and Light...
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