The Wisdom of a Cactus Flower

The little potted cactus the I keep on my lounge windowsill had a surprise for me – a joyful cream coloured flower.

I see the pot out of the corner of my eye everyday but it has been a while since I had given it a close look and I hadn’t even seen a bud, aside from its bright red baubles that I had assumed were all it had to offer in terms of flowers. I check on my desert rose everyday waiting for a proud pink bloom, but all I had ever expected from my cactus was spiky stillness and low maintenance. And then she flowered.

The beauty made me reflect on Jon Kabat Zinn’s thought of really seeing people. Not just what we expect to see, not just our stories about them, not our assumptions and shortcuts – but rather opening up for real connection by compassionately and bravely leaping into the space between our thoughts and the person we choose to know. I may have had a particular storyline for my prickly plant and was content for her stoic presence on my windowsill but when I looked without expecting she shared with me a true expression of beauty.

“Look at other people and ask yourself if you are really seeing them or just your thoughts about them.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

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