When I was young, an honest and moral life seemed like a straightforward goal, no matter what kind of hurt was being imparted. I now know that it’s not always easy to see what should be done, and even harder to actually do it. Nevertheless I’m grateful that I still have some time to keep trying to get it right, and to savor each remaining day in my life. And so I began to think about all the lessons I’ve learned thus far, and how they’ve helped me to grow.

I’ve learned that success is boring. Success is proving that you can do something that you already know you can do, or doing something correctly the first time, which can often be a problematical victory. First-time success is usually a fluke. First-time failure, by contrast, is expected; it is the natural order of things. Failure is how we learn. A friend of mine once told of an African phrase describing a good cook as “she who has broken many pots.” And I suppose that anyone who has spent enough time in the kitchen, has broken a lot of pots or dishes, and probably knows a fair amount about cooking.

I’ve learned to enjoy silence and my own company; in taking the time to get to know myself. I’ve learned to ask myself questions out loud, seeing what answers I give. I’ve learned to take the time to go places and do things – alone; because it’s simply not possible to know who you are without spending time with yourself. How can you expect to have strong relationships–no matter what kind (child to parent, romantic, friendships, etc.)—without having first fully explored your own heart?

I’ve also learned that sunflowers seem to blossom their way into my life at unexpected times. They represent my outlook on life and the way I carry myself, always hopeful to be living like a sunflower. The heliotropism of sunflowers (they follow the sun from East to West as it crosses the sky) is most prevalent during their development. Such positive flowers they are, turning their backs to the past to face the sun, and happily greet each new day. Their positive nature has helped me understand that only way I can move forward and live a successful life is to practice optimism and bask in the sunlight.

Nature has a funny way of teaching us lessons. She grabs a handful of love, a pinch of heartaches, an armful of success and a dash of roadblocks and mixes it all together to create the seed of your life. She plants us all in her world garden and lets our growth take its course. Whether you are a vivacious flower or a meddling weed is for you to decide.

So why not consider life’s transitions as a repotting phase? Instead of allowing yourself to wither away during an arduous interval of life, begin to cultivate new soil, water generously, and bask in the direct glow of sunlight.

Ultimately, I’ve learned that believing in sunflowers will allow me to move on. I will learn from my frustrations and not allow myself to repeat them; instead, I hope for a better future. Mother Nature has taught me of my full potential as a sunflower and the power I have to live my life positively. I will strive to learn to recognize Mother Nature’s signs, always reminding me that tomorrow is a new day.

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