Within You Without You

In April, before my parents came home from their cruise and "officially" announced their separation and after I found out and had prepped my siblings for the upcoming news, my sisters and I were walking through the mall engaging in some retail therapy. We passed a table donning a sale sign and neatly stacked, familiar looking jewelry boxes. We decided that at this pivotal point in all of our lives we needed matching, commemorative necklaces.

There were several different charms displayed. I picked up the lotus, one of my all-time favorite flowers. I had just been researching the symbolism of the lotus for a marketing campaign for my aunt's essential oil company, which only increased my love for the flower. About the same time I was reading the message, Bethany picked up the lotus and read the message to herself, eyes welling and said, "Are you joking? This is perfect." We all agreed. We needed this necklace. After purchasing six of them, one for my mom, each of us and both sisters-in-law, we continued on our shopping trip with smiles on our faces.

New Beginnings
lotus flowers grow from muddy swamps into beautiful symbols of creation and rebirth. let your necklace remind you of your own beauty and strength. enjoy!

As a kid, one of my favorite picture books told a story of a child who fell asleep on a lily pad floating on the water. Since then, I have been enchanted by this aquatic perennial.

Let me share some of the reason why I love the lotus.

It is one of the oldest universal symbols representing the sun, creation and rebirth. Because the lotus flower stays enclosed in its sepals as it grows out of the mud and instinctively towards the light, the blossom remains protected and untouched by the water. Each night, the flower closes up and sinks under the water where it remains until morning. When the sun rises again, so does the lotus, experiencing a daily baptism and reopening its pink petals to the morning light. The lotus symbolizes purity of heart, body and mind.

It also represents long life, health, honor, and good luck. When living in favorable conditions, the lotus plant can live extremely long lives. The oldest recorded germination came from seeds 1300 years old recovered from a dry lake bed in northeastern China. Incredibly persistent, the lotus stalks can grow up to 25 feet and reach a horizontal spread of 15 feet.

The lotus is one of a handful of plant species that has the ability to regulate its own temperature within a narrow range like humans and other warm-blooded animals. Researchers found that even in temperatures as cold as 50 degrees, the lotus' internal temperature remained within the range of 86 to 95 degrees. They "suspect the flowers may be turning up the heat for the benefit of their coldblooded insect pollinators." I love that parallel ;). The entire plant is edible. Roots, stalks, rhizomes, leaves, flowers (it's recommended that it is cooked due to the risk of parasites).

In Hinduism the lotus is used as an example of divine beauty. One site stated beautifully, "Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise."

To me, the lotus represents a buoyant determination and perseverance through the mess and distortion of life, ever reaching towards the surface where we can fully open and embrace the warmth and light ~ hope in a better world. I love that the lotus produces warmth as well.

I wear my dogeared lotus nearly everyday as a reminder. Be the lotus, Charity. Be a lotus.

One of the sites I referenced (have no idea which one) referred to the lyrics below. Written by George Harrison (yes, I am a long time Beatles fan thanks to a high school mad crush), this very Eastern sounding song always grated on me and I've never been able to listen to it. I can, however, really appreciate the lyrics.

Within You, Without You

We were talking - about the space between us all and the people -
Who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion never glimpsing the truth
Then it's far too late when they pass away.

We were talking - about the love we all could share
When we find it - to try our best to hold it there - with our love
With our love we could save the world - if they only knew

Try to realize it's all within yourself - no-one else can make you change
And to see you're really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you.

We were talking - about the love that's gone so cold
And the people who gain the world and lose their soul
They don't know, they can't see - are you one of them?

When you've seen beyond yourself
Then you may find peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come when you see we are all one
And life flows on within you and without you.


Anonymous said...

Didn't know you loved the Beatles. That's a great tune. I hope you are doing well...

melissalundquist said...

I am so sorry Charity to hear this news. You are such a great older sister. I am here for you if you need me.

Natalie said...

I am tearing up now...you are an amazing woman Charity. My prayers are with you and your family. All I can say is Thank heavens for sisters and retail therapy.