Lessons from a Stemless Flower

 As a licensed psychologist and an initiated shaman, I’ve been able to exponentially increase my ability to help people by combining these two disciplines into a wonderful blend of science and spirituality.

The earth medicine principle of  “listening to the voice of everything in nature” integrates beautifully with meditation and guided imagery, whose benefits have been well documented in the scientific literature. 

When we spend time with things not made by human hands, a mountain, a star, a tree, we can gain direct, visceral access to the secrets of the natural world around us. Then every element of nature becomes a teacher, and we can appreciate each element’s unique principles and adopt them for our own.

I came across such a teacher while walking high in the  Peruvian Andes, on the sacred mountain of Ausangate.

There sparkling like a drop of sunlight against the vast, brown, barrenness of the terrain was a bright yellow flower.  Immediately drawn to it’s beauty, I approached and realized that this flower had absolutely no stem.   It had long ago sacrificed  its fragile appendage to adapt to the harsh winds on the mountain.  I reached to pick the flower as a gift for my mesa (medicine bundle) and much to my surprise, I could not pull it loose no matter how hard I tried.  As I tugged and tugged, I admired the strength of this flower’s hold on the earth.  In a moment of mindfulness, I realized there was much more to learn by sitting here with this flower’s tenacity.  

There she stood, beautiful and all alone.  So firmly rooted in the mother earth that she could withstand the harshest of climates; drastic temperature changes from the freezing cold nights to the blazing hot afternoon sun, long periods of drought, and winds of unthinkable magnitude.  Here at 13,000 feet in the hard dark earth where nothing else can grow save for small potatoes cultivated by Incan descendents was a splash of brilliant color.  There this little stemless flower stood thriving and basking in the Andean sun. 

I had such admiration for this perfect balance of beauty and strength.  I wondered how her fragile yellow leaves had ever found their way through the dirt and rock.  How she had adapted to such extreme conditions, even giving up her stem which could be easily broken to stand firm in her beauty in the strongest of headwinds.  I noticed as I stood tall above her, that not too far away, were other flowers also deeply rooted in the rock, equally as beautiful and alone.  I wondered if she knew there were others just like her, even if she could not see them from her perspective of the world.

Sitting in appreciation, I remembered Einstein’s definition of the mysterious;  “To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind can not grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection”.  

Certainly this flower had it’s own mysterious nature, that could  be experienced but not explained.  The miraculous possibility of its existence  was there as  an undeniable truth, a truth that I could bring home.

When I returned home and back to work, I shared my experience with this teacher flower on the sacred mountain.  Repeatedly women struggling through their own challenging healing journeys were able to feel the energy and receive the gifts of this stemless flower.

May the wisdom of  the stemless flowers on the mountains help you too to find the strength to stand in the beauty of your own true nature.

Claudia Edwards, Ph.D.


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