Why Not . . . Celebrate the Struggle?

Apr 11, 2018

“We are designed for struggle. We’re better off; we’re more in touch with who we are as individuals. You have to treat the horrible things that happen in life with the same dignity and respect that you handle the best things that happen in your life.” —Scott Hamilton, U.S. Olympic gold medal figure skater

With the arrival of spring, the daffodils, the tulips, the hyacinths and the crocuses emerge from the sleepy, not-too-long-ago frozen soil to share a smile. Offering their perennial beauty that while all too fleeting in its duration, is a reminder of what we too must go through to emerge refreshed, renewed and, if you are a gardener, you’ll understand this truth, more knowledgable as our wisdom expands (new crocus and daffodil bulbs naturally sprout from the bottom and sides of the main bulb).

As we navigate through our journey, it can feel at times as though we are in a lull, going through a [insert descriptor here, i.e. mid-life, quarter-life, etc.] crisis. But the truth is, our lives, just like the seasons, go through cycles so long as we let go of trying to control, if we let go of the past.

The gift of a crocus (as seen above in a field in Iran), is the saffron that is worth more than its weight in gold as it is often described (and literally true). Requiring approximately 50-60 crocus flowers to produce 1 tablespoon of the saffron spice (three stigmas per flower which when dried become the saffron strands), so long as the bulb is planted in the right conditions (full sun, well-draining soil), it will thrive. But it must go through the life cycle of a perennial bulb: growing (winter), flowering (spring), setting seed (summer), and dying (fall).

Often the struggle is seen as the winter of our lives at various points along our journey, but if we shift how we understand winter, winter is actually the time to grow. In other words, to learn, to assess, to reflect, to choose to change and let go of what no longer is serving us.

When we make this shift in understanding, we give ourselves the gift of celebrating the “winter” or the struggle. And when the flowering of the bulb takes place, it can be something we ecstatically celebrate as Andrew Solomon shares in his much-viewed TED talk about how the worst moments of our lives make us who we are, “I tend to find the ecstasy hidden in ordinary joys because I did not expect those joys to be ordinary to me.”

Today, if your journey finds you in winter, why not see this time as an opportunity to gather, examine, thus granting yourself the opportunity to thrive when spring inevitably arrives. Because it will, and why not make it a grand celebration?

~I don’t know about you, but after researching for this post and learning about saffron, I am seriously considering planting crocus bulbs this coming fall. Check out this post to learn how to grow your own saffron (i.e. crocus flowers). It is actually quite simple. 

~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~Through Struggle Comes Success

~How to Ensure a Bountiful Harvest (in Life), episode #177

~The Butterfly Moment in Life: Don’t Wait, Just Live Well, episode #160

Image of saffron in Iran



6 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Celebrate the Struggle?

  1. Thank you for sharing the link on saffron crocus bulbs. Very interesting and now I know why saffron is an expensive spice. I may consider planting the bulbs.

  2. This is perfect timing, Shannon. Within the last week, I was thrust into an unexpected “winter” when my job, and those of two coworkers’, were unexpectedly eliminated/combined into one new job. This was offered to me, with more work and less pay, so I gave notice.

    I am trying to look on this as a growing experience, of letting go of something that no longer serves or respects my contributions and needs. I have been reflecting, considering the change, and looking ahead to what will come. Not easy, but necessary. As a dear, elderly friend of mine once said when confronted with her own problem, “What would a graceful person do?”

    Keep up the good work – look forward to each post!

  3. Interesting analogy of “struggle” with the delicate saffron flower (crocus sativas). I think it makes us stroger and better beings
    The bulb was widely grown in France before being destroyed by the disease phylloxera but now being cultivated in Quercy.This October I am going to the Fete du Safran in Cajarc in Quercy in the Lot region.Francoise Sagan was born there!! I hope to purchase some bulbs. Nearer to me it is also grown in Normandy so another visit to arrange
    Bonne chance with your cultivation 😊

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