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Petal by Petal: Lessons from a Lotus

The story of the lotus is the story of being human. The story of growth and moving out of the mud to bloom. The lotus also has many lessons to share beyond the widely known lesson of no mud, not lotus.

A lotus blooms one petal at time, slowly unfurling itself to become the larger flower and the larger bloom in all of its beauty. The bloom is also perched upon larger petals, or leaves, that keep it afloat above the waters from which it grew. A lotus is a complex living reminder of how many little steps and actions it takes to live a larger dream or create a big picture accomplishment.

As humans, as people, we are also a complex living being, made up of tiny different pieces that create our entirety. As well, when we dream and set goals for ourselves these are typically big picture accomplishments-maybe they seem scary and large. Maybe so scary and large and far off that they seem a little unbelievable, a little inaccessible. It can seem daunting to achieve the bigger dream because often we do not know where to start. Or we begin and take ourselves down the path of achieving our goal but the trail is long and bumpy and not well marked so we lose sight of our bigger dream. It is easy to lose sight of the bloom-our big goal-when we are hovering just above the muddy waters barely keeping ourselves afloat. I know, so many metaphors, but think of how easy it is forget why you started on the path you did. Why you set out to achieve your big dream. Think about how easy it is to forget about your big dream when there are so many other daily responsibilities to consider.


But what if we celebrated the little steps along the way towards our big picture just as vibrantly as we celebrate achieving our larger goal? When a flower is blooming, petal by petal, we do not dismiss the first petals to open. We do not tell the flower it is not good enough because it is not fully bloomed at this time. We do not talk down to the flower because it is not blooming as fast as the flower beside it. No, we wait patiently for the full bloom to appear. We continue offering water and sunshine to the budding flower. We become excited when we see the bud and then the first petals begin to unfurl. What if we did the same along our path towards our big dreams?

When a dream is becoming a reality, it is important to celebrate the first steps to accomplishing that goal. Maybe your goal or your dream is to live a sober life. Instead of dismissing the first hour, day, night, twenty-four hours, week, month, etc of sobriety because you are not "recovered"-acknowledge it. Recognize it as the accomplishment it is. Talk to yourself with kindness and compassion and in a congratulatory manner. Know that you are on your own path and it is likely different than the person next to you, but surround yourself with others that are also acknowledging their own progress. Offer yourself the things you need to flourish, grow, and feel good. Maybe, like a plant, that is water and sunshine-maybe it is something else. Continue celebrating and acknowledging each accomplishment, everything you do that is a step towards achieving your dream. Every step, every petal, deserves acknowledgment; just, as every step contributes to your overall big picture accomplishment.


Maybe your dream is not sobriety, maybe it is a business, or healing, or a degree. Maybe your dream is something else entirely. Regardless of your dream, when your dream is becoming a reality, celebrate and acknowledge each petal that contributes to the overall bloom. Become excited to see the bud and then the first petals and be patient as you continue to grow and bloom.

Another lesson from the lotus: even the smallest petals contribute to the overall flower and a flower can only bloom one petal at a time.

In darkness and in light,


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