“My flowers don’t judge me, and they don’t ask me to move my stuff around.”
So says Helen, played by Diane Ladd to her fictional and real life daughter Amy, played by Laura Dern on this episode, Sandy, of the quirky and soulful HBO series Enlightened. Helen is explaining why she rather talk to flowers than people. Amy, however, needs and wants more. She wants to dig deep and uncover the roots that nourish both the beauty and discomfort in her life. She wants to exerience a communication breakthrough with her mother, to bare souls. Amy’s mother, however, cannot allow herself to go under the surface. She is satisfied with letting all that stay buried, harvesting only the beautiful blooms of the roses she so lovingly grows. Flowers don’t judge.
There is a place for peace and stillness among all the talk. When we are so caught up with our passions, our work, our aches and pains, and the day-to-day ups and downs of our busy lives, we forget to find the space to breathe. And while Amy is craving more communication, she also is trying to clear her head of all the voices through mediation. But, as she embraces meditation, she cannot still her thoughts. Worry and wonder, self-doubt, anxiety, and memories that call out to be lived and relived overtake. Sometimes though, if we are awake to it, we can find that place of stillness where all the mental clutter clears away.
I believe those moments are all around us. We just have to notice them in the everyday ordinariness of things. If I were to have a resolution for the new year, this would be it.
So where was that place of stillness today? Was I awake for it? Was I present? The answer is yes. While outside taking down the Christmas lights, the energy of an impending storm like the ones I used to experience as a child filled the air. Not an electrical, like it’s going to lightning kind of storm, but almost a balmy Santa Ana wind feeling just before a cold front moves in. When I was a little girl, these storms would propel me to the swing set. Just me in the backyard, pumping and kicking, leaning back and forth, swinging so high that on the way up I could see my feet touch the sky.
Instead of a swing, my dogs and I embraced the storm today. I quickly packed away the lights and called them to get on their leashes. Together we alternated between walking and running our usual route, sheer joy on their faces as they met wind head on, leading with their noses, ears blowing behind. Silvery cashmere clouds, pushed by the wind, moved quickly across the sky. We rounded the corner towards just as the first heavy drops of rain hit our faces and marked the sidewalk.
I won’t get this experience on every walk, and although I try, I won’t get a walk in everyday, either. Certainly, Amy could have meditated more often or with more discipline to find her groove, but in the end, her meandering musings took her on a river’s journey and she learned something about herself. This is not about what one should or shouldn’t do to be more at peace. It’s about finding joy in simple things or the complex: a non-judgmental bouquet of roses, a stormy walk through cashmere clouds, or a river rafting trip that serves as a metaphor for life. Mostly, for me, it’s about letting go, staying above it all, and swinging so high that my feet touch the sky.
- Enlightened, episode one, Sky Atlantic, review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Laura Dern plays woman on the edge in ‘Enlightened’ (goerie.com)
- Nice! Laura Dern Wins Best Actress In A Comedy Series (perezhilton.com)