Monday, September 15, 2014

the dahlias die

As many of you know, I have quite the affinity for dahlias. I cannot even begin to describe with words how much joy they bring me. Honestly, it's not just the beautiful blooms that bring me joy, it's the whole process from start to finish that brings me total contentment and bliss. 

a dinner plate dahlia in bloom about a month ago
The selection process, the planting, the weeks of nurturing that include watering and staking, making sure that the containers are positioned to get the right amount of sun, and then the waiting and watching. And when the buds start to form, and little by little, as if they are trying with all their might, they start to open and then like something out of the secret garden, the dahlias bloom and bloom, shooting amazing colors into my yard. I walk out on Monday mornings early, cut the flowers and bring them to work so I can enjoy them there. I cut more and send them home with friends. They shower all surfaces in my house. 

Now, they are nearing their end of their life cycle. Heading to dormancy. The leaves and stalks are drying out a little, the blooms look a little lazy, and a powdery mildew is encroaching upon the leaves. The dahlias start to die off. The good news is that the dahlias I grow come back year after year, with proper care and storage but this time of year I always feel a sense of sadness in the witnessing of their death. 

Tonight, I was watering at sunset and as I looked around at my garden, specifically at the dahlia plants, I was overcome with the mixed sense of joy and sadness. Up until this moment, I had not been super aware of being in touch with the combination of these two emotions, yet I realized that these two emotions can and do exist in my life in so many ways. 

...when I bring my students out of savasana at the end of a yoga class.
...when I visit home for the holidays and fly back after new years.
...when I see my garden transition seasons.
...when I finish a project, a book, or a journal entry.

The emotions of joy and sadness at the same time bring this unique sense of closure and room for new beginnings. So as we transition into a new season, there is always a mix of emotions; joy, sadness, frustration, apathy, bliss, happiness, anger. 

It's so natural to get stuck in going with the flow, being stuck in our habits and processes but I challenge you to tune into what emotions exist, what's being churned up, what is triggering you. Maybe it's the dahlias dying back or the fact that our days are becoming shorter, but I give us permission to just be in the moment and sit with the complexity of it all. 

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