Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Daffodil Principle

A friend recently sent me this story. I was having a little trouble with my essay and was a bit overwhelmed with the task in front of me. I had had all my books, laptop, notes and work on the essay stolen and even though I had been granted an extension on the deadline it was still a big undertaking considering I had so much work to re-do. I was changing jobs at the time and I had insurance to deal with (and you remember the trouble I had there!) and as a result of all of this my motivation was not great. So when this turned up in my inbox it helped me in a way that my friend might not have imagined.

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come
to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her. "But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "Please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, " Daffodil Garden ." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large
groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn. "Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world ...

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?" as t
here is no better time than right now to be happy.


Kristi Mantoni said...

That's a great story. It's something that I'm going to try to remember. I have so many things going on in my life and none of them are amounting to anything. I'll have to rethink my goals. I think I'll put being happy first!

Thanks for stopping by! Sanjaya is causing quite the stir and it's great! You should see how some people's face gets red when I tell them I like the kid! Maybe I'm a little evil but it's fun making people so mad with those three little word: "I like Sanjaya!"

Dachsies Rule said...

What a wonderful story ... and a perfect moral. Regretting the past has never changed anything. Move forward.

Roxie, Sammy & Andy

craziequeen said...

Very good - and see, it served it's purpose....... :-)


diyadear said...

wow wat a lovely story.. i am glad i read it.. :)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh I love this story Bob-Kat...I actually had seen this a few years ago and felt as you did--it was an inspiration...That One Bulb At A Time, could be a Mantra for just about anything, can't it? I remember years and years ago, looking around my garage which needed a MAJOR cleaning out and being totally overwhelmed by it. A good friend said to me "Don't look at it all at once. Start with one thing...like if you need to climb a mountain, don't look at the whole huge thing, just put one foot in front of the other---taking One Step At A Time!"..Oh he was sooo right! Just like the Beautiful Daffodils...one bulb at a time. Thanks for this wonderful reminder, dear B-K.

srp said...

I have read this before. It would certainly be a fabulous place to visit, wouldn't it? I understand the cherry blossoms in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden are blooming... wish I were there.

I am working on my post and essay for the "Thinkers" award... you are much better at the essay thing than I am. But I will get it done... my brother is coming on Saturday and preparations are in full swing around here.

kross-eyed kitty said...

I have never seen this story before, and it is truly inspiring. Actually, it's made my day.
And given me food for thought.
Have things settled down for you now? Can you breathe?!

Zeus said...

That is such a beautiful story. I think it provides just the right amount of inspiration. Heck, I may even start gardening over it!

...On second thought, with my black paw, I might want to think about a different goal...

TrueJerseyGirl said...

Amazing story with an amazing lesson. Thank you for sharing it!

Ps said...

Lovely Bob-kat.Thanks for that amazing story.
Reminds me of a saying that i keep repeating to myself.
"Every journey of a thousand miles begins with ONE step"

Fizzy said...

A wonderful story Bob Cat, really thought provoking

utenzi said...

Do you get the feeling that all these stories have been written by one person? They all seem to have the same type of dialog.

I'm glad that your insurance woes are behind you now. A fellow in a lab down the corridor had his laptop stolen two days ago and I thought of you--and how much I really need to keep current backups of both my computers! (but never seem to do it)

Anonymous said...

Wow....a great story. Made me stop and think. Thank you Bobkat.

Glad to hear you did well on your Essay! I never did ask what it was on, so....what was it on?

Mike said...

What a wonderful story. It makes me think what we could do with this world if everyone had a goal.

Michele sent me.

Ramona said...

Happy 101th post!
Here via Michele's today.
I planted some daffodil bulbs in November and am SO curious to see if they will pop up this Spring.

Moogie said...

I love this story. I got it in an email a while back and I loved it then, and even more now. It's so true. Thank you for reminding me.

Irish Church Lady :) said...

Great post BobKat ~ Very motivating indeed! I sure could use this today!

I must have missed this when bloglines was acting up this week!

Happy Easter to you!


kenju said...

A good story and a great post! Sleep tight tonight, Bob-Kat!

Becky68 said...

That is a really wonderful story, Very uplifting, seasonally apropriate & so true!
Have a good weekend.
Here from Micheles.

Anonymous said...

Bobkat your essay subject sounds pretty interesting to me.

I'll tell you what. If you'll write one on how to satisfy perpetually disgruntled Estimators, Sales People and Production personell I'll help you publish it and we'll both retire young.

I've posted a question on my blog on which I need your valued opinion :)

David said...

great lesson. I was at that daffodil garden last Saturday. its fantastic, and different on each visit. I am just now starting on the next wonderful phase of learning and living, and loving. I will take this with me.

Gypsy Purple said...

Wishing you and your family a happy and blessed Easter

chase said...

That is a great story indeed. I wanted to see what you see in there. Experience the beauty of nature.

Advance Happy Easter and sent here by Michele!

indigo said...

What an incredible story. I can just picture that hill of golden daffodils. It's good to be reminded that something that beautiful is achievable, one step, or one bulb at a time.

Thanks for sharing...and I love the new masthead. Hear from Michelle!

colleen said...

Now I want to either see it or start planting. I always try to pay close attention when my son sayd "mum, you would love this!"

dakotablueeyes said...

oh my look at all those daffys and so pretty