As I was paddling on the lake today, I went searching for Pink Water Lilies which usually bloom around this time of year. I found their cheerful, cotton-candy-colored blooms floating among clusters of glossy-green, saucer-sized lily pads in the two northern-most, shallow coves.
I’ve always loved to photograph these aquatic plants but until today, I didn’t know that their essence is used in naturopathic treatments. It wasn’t until after the photographs and a brief session of paddleboard yoga that I went back to the dock and read more about these velvety beauties.
According to Cynthia Scherer, a flower essence practitioner and researcher, Pink Pond Lily flower essence helps to clear old paradigms related to self-image and the perception of others. Scherer suggests it also helps to clear unsafe feelings left over from old traumas.
As I learned while writing the memoir, Finding Mary, trauma causes the unconscious to experience a persistent lack of safety. This may lead to the “stuckness” I describe in the memoir. As a defense against uncertainty, the mind attempts to keep things familiar – causing our perceptions of self, others, and life circumstances to appear fixed. This view limits opportunities, whether they be accomplishments or relationships, because we literally are not allowing ourselves to see or trust new possibility. Change is unknown, and unknown can be scary.
Each time I offer my book to a stranger or a new venue, I feel that fear. The book is a deeply personal story, my first inclination is to keep it to myself. What if people don’t like it? Even after the amazing support I’ve received from vastly different groups of readers, the doubt still lingers like old trash. I realize I need to face the fear and move forward into the foggy grey of reality.
I’m not planning to try the plant essence anytime soon, but I can attest to the solace water lilies provide, when paddling into a quiet cove amidst blue skies and birdsong on a warm summer day. Their optimism and courage reach from the murky depths of the lake bottom into the sunlight and remind me that there is indeed a season for everything. To fight change is to fight the tide. Yet risk can be paralyzing. To be open to change is to be vulnerable, and that can be scary. Perhaps I can take cues from the water lilies as they are a graceful role model. For there is both possibility and beauty in unfolding.