Lessons from the Garden: Lavender Delicacy

Beloo Mehra

 

Look at the picture below, see it closely. Take in the colour, the fragrance and the delicacy.

Lavender

What does it tell you?

To me, it speaks of a delicate and fragrant beauty that is so often missed or neglected in the daily rush-rush of life. It speaks of that slow and gentle pace of life that is generally pushed over by the craze for satisfying a few more material or not-so-material desires.

It also speaks of a forgotten innocent passion which used to see deep value in searching for a matching ribbon to tie together a bunch of flowers. Where has it gone? Disappeared? In that rush to attend one more important meeting to attend, why waste time looking for a lavender ribbon? Just shove the flowers aside and go on with that skype call.

*****

The colour lavender, like the flower, is generally known to induce calmness, rest, tranquility, and healing.

Sri Aurobindo has somewhere mentioned that the colour purple is generally symbolic of the vital force. (The ‘vital’ here refers to the life faculty or that part of the being which is not simply the life-force but also the force of various passions, desires, feelings, emotions, compulsions, preferences and likes and dislikes that strongly determine human motivation and action through desire and enthusiasm.) The colour lavender, a variant of purple, according to him, could generally symbolize higher vital or emotional vital, and lavender blue, in particular, could symbolize love and devotion, the qualities associated with the emotional and higher vital parts of the being.

As I contemplate on the symbolic meaning of the colour lavender together with this picture of lavender flowers, a part of me feels rested and calm already. It may seem like a small thing, but a deliberate, tender and conscious action of looking for that matching lavender ribbon to give that gentle finishing touch to a bunch of lavender flowers is surely an act of love. Love for Flowers, love for Mother Nature, love for Beauty. And love heals, brings serenity, induces calmness.

***

In my garden in my previous home in another continent, I had a few lavender bushes. And every year when the flowers bloomed, my heart would be filled with their beauty and fragrance. This is one plant I surely miss in my present garden. But I do have some pinkish-lavender-pinkish Bougainvillea growing quite nicely. Next time I bring a few of those blossoming stems inside the home, I hope I remember to look for a matching ribbon!

Bougainvillea (640x480)

Delicate, deliberate action done with love can be a wonderful way to practice mindfulness. It brings us into the moment, helps us become aware of the task at hand and the intention and awareness with which it needs to be performed. It helps us slow down and stay grounded in the present, even if the present lasts only for a few moments. Because each moment, after all, is gone the moment we speak of it. It has be to be experienced at that very instant because it is a delicacy that doesn’t last.

Image source: 1: here, 2: my garden

  
About the author
Beloo donned the hats of school teacher, university professor and researcher for many years, and is now happy to be doing what she does best – learn. Living in Pondicherry for the last 7 years and working part-time as an online educator for a private university in the US. She devotes most of her time to studying the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, blogging, reading, gardening and just being. She blogs at http://letbeautybeyourconstantideal.blogspot.com and can be reached at beloome@gmail.com
    1. Thank you Beloo for sending me on a nostalgic trip back to my childhood. My parents used Yardley Lavender toiletries and I would love to use their bathroom for the fragrance. Even now I can shut my eyes and I’m transported back in time. I have only seen pictures of lavender, they always remind me of English girls in long dresses and summery bonnets frisking around in the English countryside swishing a bunch of lavender just like the pic. above As for that lavender ribbon, AH! how often have I been told by my children…..Mama, nobody is going to match the colour or the two sides of the bow to see if they are the same….but why should I change a good habit? Do keep on teaching us life lessons.

      • Thanks Sushil for such a lovely comment. For a few years I also used English Lavender talc from Yardley, so I can totally relate to your childhood memories of that lovely fragrance. But nothing matches the fragrance of holding a bunch of lavender flowers in your hand or even just a brush of the bush…oh how I miss those lavender bushes I had in my Ohio home! You always know how to encourage and motivate, many thanks for your kind words. And for being you :)

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