Grief and Growth Mindset

Grief and growth mindset could be a good pairing. I first became acquainted with the term ‘growth mindset’ while substitute teaching in a middle school guidance class. The concept of growth mindset was contrasted to a fixed mindset.

Here is a video of Carol Dweck who developed this guidance model. While it is geared toward education and children, I feel it could have general application to life and grief practices. Perhaps because my entire career was in teaching (art), I believe growth does not stop at the attainment of a graduation diploma. Nor do I feel that grief – even for one’s own child – must end one’s hope and satisfaction with life.

A fixed mindset avoids challenges and gives up easily. This leads to negative thinking. Dweck in her 2006 book, Mindset, proposes that changing our beliefs from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset can have profound effects.

Just this morning, I came across a friend’s term EGR, standing for Extra Grace Required. Her thoughts on EGR are in regards to dealing with others who are a challenge. What if we applied EGR to ourselves while we are grieving? Could we extend a bit of extra grace and tender loving care to ourselves during periods of grief?

Choosing Growth

Here are some strategies for choosing growth while one is grieving. A number of my posts are geared toward a concept of growth. When we are grieving, we all desire a sign from our dearly departed loved one. If this is one’s hope, we must focus and be aware of details. It could be a song on the radio, a random sighting of something significant connected to your loved one or an unusual occurrence. Here is one of my sign stories: My Mother’s Day Guest.

The arts are a prime way to ease and cope with our grief. Here is an art history journey to help comfort and ERASE GRIEF. Another arts example: BROKEN compares the Japanese art of Kintsugi, to feeling broken when grieving. Kintsugi involves rejoining the pieces of a broken pot with golden joinery and savoring the beauty of the journey. The golden joinery does not camouflage the damage, but honors it.

Sometimes sound therapy can be soothing to an aching heart. I have found it helps me. This post, Tuning into Healing: Grief, gives you the tools to do so, via a video.

Gratitude may not be the first practice one would think of while grieving. However, this post shows how it can be transformative: Gratitude for Hard Times.

Several posts deal with grief models, one of which is GRIEF RELIEF. Approaching Grief also includes how some other cultures work with grief. Wait Grief Weight addresses different grieving styles we may have due to personality and/or gender.

How Can Nature Help Grief and Growth?

Being in nature is a very healing place while grieving. Not only do many receive signs from loved ones while outdoors, but it is also simply a gorgeous place to relax and find peace. We can find lessons. (Sorry, yes, this teacher is always on the lookout for lessons!) During a nature hike, I contemplated what we could learn from water: THINK LIKE WATER. There are truly many amazing things that water can teach us. All of nature is an apt model for answers to what we may apply to our lives. Just look at flowers, for example.

For a flower to bloom it must push through the dirt!

Dealing with grief isn’t always easy, but if we work with it rather than against it, we can improve in order to live our best lives. I’m quite certain that our loved ones would want us to more fully demonstrate our love for them by continuing to live, to learn, to create our lives. Having a growth mindset can help our grief. In this way, we may honor them.

Awe and Wonder

Have you ever thought about what gives you a sense of awe and wonder? It is actually a healthy practice to feel this state. What gives you this feeling?

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein

My Wonderful Awe

Here are a few things which bring me to that beautiful state of being.

  • Just the other day, I felt my breath deepen as I gazed up at the gorgeously white thunderheads, mushrooming larger against the backdrop of the intense blue sky. As the clouds built upward right before my eyes, I heard the breeze begin to intensify. All at once, a majestic turkey vulture – this black bird with a six foot wing span – began circling and riding the thermals. Higher and higher it soared. It was as if it was peering into the bright heavens themselves. I imagined the winged wonder observing our loved ones smiling, waving and cheering us on. As I tasted this sweetness of longing, I savored the beauty.
  • Many times art and music have moved me to the awe and wonder frame of mind. I’ve been in an art museum where a piece overwhelmingly moved me so that I was drawn to sit in front of it to fully absorb and contemplate the wonder of the artistry. Years ago while performing in college band, there were pieces which could bring tears to my eyes, it was so movingly beautiful. Sometimes while practicing piano, there are pieces which will induce goosebumps because I love the music so much!
  • There are probably not many people who can resist ogling over an adorable infant. Recently we were at our local pharmacy. A young mother was there with her cherub on the counter. I just couldn’t resist a comment. I remarked, “Are babies now the latest in perscription medicine, if so, I’d like one, too!”

Awe and Wonder Study

One of the more recent topics currently under study is this sense of awe and wonder. In order to be a healthily functioning human, it is important to gift ourselves experiences which may invite the feeling. This article by Dacher Keltner encourages us to move beyond the mundane into the marvelous in order to expand what it means to be human: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_do_we_feel_awe Here are benefits from practicing this mindset: https://www.mindful.org/eight-ways-awe-boosts-your-well-being/.

These are a few of my posts which focus upon the awe and wonder of nature: Ten Musings On Beauty, The Mirror Tree, OUR VISITOR and THINK LIKE WATER. I have also found that making a habit of exploring my sense of wonder seems to be beneficial to transforming my grief. Practicing any of the arts has been noted to ease grief as well. Deep involvement with nature as well as the arts are effective research based methods of finding comfort during the grieving process.

When I think of awe and wonder, this theme song comes to my mind. It explores the wonder of nature which we as humans have been gifted to explore. Just imagine that this realm of nature in which we live is as alive as Julie Andrews expresses! Perhaps you will even be moved to harmonize with her!

May you be inspired to focus your awareness on what brings you to your sense of awe and wonder!

Softer Side of Grief

Dear James,

It has now been six years since you’ve crossed the threshold of the heavenly realms. I miss you ever so much. Even though there is never a day when I don’t think of you with longing, I feel I’ve touched the softer side of grief.

I first started grieving for you when you were initially diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at age 31. What is fascinating to me, however, is that you welcomed the diagnosis! I do understand why. It was very frustrating to have been darting from doctor to doctor for two years to figure out why your body felt as it did. This knowing gave direction for treatment.

In your early thirties’ wisdom, you expressed gratitude, yes, even after this bombshell of news. You felt as if you’d been given another twelve years of life. The excruciating episode of having asthma pop a hole in your lung at age 19 could have easily pulled you from this life.

Softer Side of Grief: Gratitude

If you were grateful for a pancreatic cancer diagnosis as well as another twelve years of life, couldn’t I be grateful now in grief? I did, after all, do a gratitude journal while you were in hospice. It was quite a challenge to find anything for which to be thankful during that time. However, I did. This practice can really change a person’s outlook to encourage looking for what is good. It made me understand there is really much we are given that I take for granted. (Here is a post on establishing a gratitude practice: Gratitude for Hard Times.)

Teaching Moments

When I look back, I see there were many moments you were my teacher. As a toddler, you at least once told me, “Oh, poo-bah, don’t worry about it!” Wow, just to think that my little child got it – why should I worry?

One of the more painful times was when you were in the midst of dealing with pancreatic cancer. You had tremendous issues with the slogan for the pancreatic cancer organization. It was “Know It, Fight It, End It”. For that reason, you did not want to be a spokesman for them. Now, I totally understand why. The problematic part of the slogan was “Fight It”. Your experience taught you that portion should be “Accept It“. You found that your body could not be in a relaxed healing mode if you made yourself to feel you were in an ever vigilant battle. However, when you were accepting of all the parts of your body, including any ill parts, your body felt better with relaxation. It must have worked well as you lived nearly seven years past your p.c. diagnosis.

Softer Side of Grief: Acceptance

Just as you taught me it was beneficial to be accepting of your illness, I learned it can be helpful to be accepting of my grief. When we accept our grief and “baby” it, it can soften. Allowing ourselves to cry or to have a day of reminiscing our loved ones can be healing. Searching for ways to ease grief can help. For me, I allow tears to wash, memories to refresh and creativity to heal. The key is that each person has their own unique ways to find comfort in grief. (Here is my post on GRIEF RELIEF. This site also includes help for grief: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/grieving-dont-overlook-potential-side-effects-2019010415722.)

Look for the Light

  • Don’t fight the darkness – bring the light, and darkness will disappear. Maharishi Mahest Yogi
  • Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness. Anne Frank
  • Without the dark, we’d never see the stars. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rather than worry about what if, we can accept and be grateful for what is. Thank-you, James, for being one of my lights, my candles, my stars! You have helped me to find the softer side of grief!

Love, Mom

Predictions: Problems or Positives?

How do you predict?

Are your predictions typically problems or positives? What if you had a gathering of one hundred of something much as the above picture? Would you say, “Shoo, go away”? How about, “Come closer so I could get to know you better”?

Let’s try a bit of a closer look.

Oh my, now we know they are turkey vultures! If you were not curious, you might just assume the worst about this unique looking creature. Did you know if you were up close and personal to this bird that if you looked straight into one nostril, you’d also be looking straight through the other nostril? Perhaps if we investigated our assumptions more thoroughly, we’d be more positive with our predictions.

Did you know that these birds never kill their food, but only eat critters that were already dead? Those finely honed nostrils are able to detect the scent of their food over a mile away within 12 to 24 hours of the death.

The turkey vulture name means cleansing breeze! Maybe it is because they are the carrion cleaning crew! If it weren’t for these birds working in community to rid the area of rotting, deceased animal carcasses, it would not be quite as pleasant.

Prediction: Who is related to them?

With more than twenty guesses, I would have never predicted the bird most closely related to the turkey vulture. I find it fascinating that the very bird who represents birth, the stork, is related to a bird so closely connected with death.

The T.V. is typically two and a half foot tall with a six foot wing span, however its body weighs only three pounds. Their life span can be up to twenty-four years. They are actually evolutionary marvels as their featherless head is a benefit when eating their messy feasts. In the midwestern United States they are known as a harbinger to spring as they find their way back north. Here are a couple of sites to learn more on turkey vultures: https://www.cmnh.org/the-great-(and-gross)-turkey-vulture and https://www.chattnaturecenter.org/visit/experience/wildlife/animal-facts/turkey-vulture/

How could knowing this help me with problems or positives?

We could broaden ourselves, much as the majestic turkey vulture does when it spreads its wings to warm in the morning sun. Our broadening, however, would be in educating ourselves. The more I learned regarding this bird, the less I feared it. I gained a new appreciation for another creature. The same is true of any culture or belief that is foreign to us. Once we learn more, we may find there are some commonalities and characteristics to change our perspective to a more appreciative one. It could allow talking points to compromise with others. We can bridge from judging and jumping to conclusions by striving to understand. It is possible to change our predictions from problems to positives!

If you enjoyed this journey through nature, here is another of my posts on nature: THINK LIKE WATER. Learning about nature can actually help us to be better humans.

P.S. If you are attracted to these articles, you are welcome to follow me by scrolling to the top or bottom of this page. Simply click follow and enter your email so you will be certain to receive my future posts! Thanks for reading!

Sweetest Antidotes

Allow me to tell you about some of the sweetest antidotes. Just the other day, a dear friend called to ask if I knew what home care to do for her granddaughter’s bee sting. Of course, all sorts of information can be found with a few keystrokes on the internet. This site gives initial actions to take as well as potential emergency situations to know. https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-treat-a-bee-sting-1298219

What amazed me was one of the suggested antidotes. It was honey! I just found it so amazing that the very same creature who inflicted the injury could be capable of calming it! This is like providing a huge apology for inflicting the sting! Speaking of these seemingly contradictory pairings, here is one of my posts to Learn from Opposites.

Interestingly, honey acts as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial. What a remarkable design of nature to have one creature which both strikes with a sting and provides a poultice.

Sweetest Antidotes – Not As Sweet

In essence, the bee also reminds me of the snake. When a person suffers a snake bite, the antidote involves something sourced from the snake. The treatment involves a small bit of the venom made into something called antivenom. This site describes the process: https://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/sw-091613-bitingback.pdf. Although the snake’s antidote is not nearly so sweet as a bee’s, it is certainly life saving.

Nature Sweetest Antidote!

Nature in her infinite design is many times an apt model. Here is another post on the topic of optimistic views of nature: ROOM FOR MIRACLES? The antidote situation made me think about all the issues and troubles in the world. When the world is out of balance could we apply this wisdom of opposites? Just as nature illustrates, especially with the bee, perhaps there is a lesson for us. Think of war versus peace, hunger versus gluttony, homelessness versus multiple mansions. Then, there is inequality with human rights, health care and other resources, etc. Where should we look for the honey to solve the world’s problems?

The same could be true of personal problems. By far my biggest sting was losing our son. The sweetest of my antidotes became writing. If reading of my child loss experiences may sooth another person’s path, it then becomes a salve to my soul. When nature is a model, our sweetest antidote answers will originate from the source of the sting. Wouldn’t it be a “bee-utiful” world?

Summer Senses

With the beginning of summer, our senses are treated to a smorgasbord of delights! Focusing on nature can be a direct way to inner peace. Concentrating on each of our senses while out in nature can also be a healthy way to slow down and quiet one’s grief. Enjoy a variety of quotes and photos on summer senses!

Sense of Summer Touch

I just love the feel of sun on my skin in the summer! All the different textures of plants as well as the feel of soil in my hands while working in the garden are special summer treats. Add to that, feeling the gentle breeze while in the yard swing – could summer be any more perfect? Feel the fresh air easing away any tension!

  • Yellow is my favorite summer color – it makes me feel like a sunflower! Bria Vinaite
  • Keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see the shadows. Helen Keller

Smells of Summer

Summer has scents unique to the season. While the following photo is not roses, pre-summer is the beginning of the end of the fragrance of lovely red peonies. Perhaps the grill may be another fixture of summertime aromas! Later in the summer, the enticing smell of tomato vines invites my mouth to water! Can you sniff the summertime scent of joy?

  • It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. Maud Hart Lovelace from Betsy-Tacy and Tib
  • There are new smells on the wind, the healthy scent of green and growing things, the way a summer day can smell, or a greenhouse, sugarsmooth aroma of budding trees and water flowing free across coarse and sparkling sand. Caitlin R. Kiernan
Red Peonies

Summer’s Tastes

  • Summer has a flavor like no other. Always fresh and simmered in sunshine. Oprah Winfrey
  • What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. John Steinbeck

Those contrasting flavors between summer and all the other seasons are part of what makes it so special. What are some comforting tastes you associate with summer?

Sights of Summer

In the summer, the colors may intensify or fade, depending upon the current rainfall. We may even spy folks enjoying kayaking on a local pond. Perhaps sighting a special bird or butterfly may help you realize your departed loved one may be near!

  • In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explode, and every sunset is different. John Steinbeck
  • Oh, the summer night, has a smile of light, and she sits on a sapphire throne. Bryan Procter
Summer Kayaking

Summer Sounds

  • Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. John Lubbock
  • Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. Henry James

If you’d like some ideas on other ways to appreciate the outdoors summer weather, check out this website: https://indyschild.com/100-things-to-do-outside-this-summer-at-home/. Following all of this summer talk, perhaps you need to cool down a little! Here is a post on Call of the Winter!

May you enjoy a balance of work and rest as you enjoy your summer senses – wherever you are in the Northern Hemisphere on the third planet from the sun!

Rumi’s Wisdom

As an adult, I have become fond of Rumi’s wisdom found within his poetry. It was amazing to find out that he was born as Jalal al-Din Rumi in 1207 in Persia, which is now known as Afghanistan. He seemed to have an immense knowledge of this life as well as the afterlife. Here are four of his quotes.

Several of his quotes are apt advice for us when we grieve.

  • Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.
  • Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.

Not only are the two above statements great advice for life in general, but they are also particularly important for when we are grieving. When we do what we are drawn to do, by virtue of love, it makes life feel as if it is falling into place. Many times, it is acting on those heart felt desires which brings us the most comfort. This particular work could be our actual job or even a hobby. The most important factor is that we make time for what our heart desires. It helps us to focus upon love and desire rather than pain and grief. In fact, this type of action can be part of the healing process when we lose a loved one. Here is an earlier post which includes various grief models: Approaching Grief. Wait Grief Weight expands upon ways people may find comfort in their sorrow.

More Rumi’s Wisdom

  • Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.

I will be the first (or maybe second) who would say being grateful while a loved one is in hospice is one challenging practice. However, I did it. Daily for approximately three weeks, I recorded ten different things for which to be grateful while our son was in his last earthly days. Gosh, it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. However, I can also say that it was a wonderful and mind-bending practice. I’m quite certain it helped to ease my burden as well as to give me a more uplifting attitude. Even after we’ve lost a loved one, purpose driven gratitude can encourage us to realize that there is so much more to life if we simply stop, look, and listen while being aware and grateful.

If you’ve never tried a gratitude list for a period of twenty to thirty days, I challenge you to try it! Let me know how it affects you!

  • The world is a mountain, in which your words are echoed back to you.

It is also wise to be cognizant of our words. What if your words were echoed back to you? I know sometimes when I review my day, I may recall a comment I made to someone. I’ve laughed at myself, later realizing that I could have very well made the same comment to myself. (Would that be an echo of sorts?) Additionally, the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you – seems another illustration of Rumi’s last quote above.

Enjoy these Rumi quotes. Here is a Rumi resource if you’d like to know more about him: https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20140414-americas-best-selling-poet. Do you have any favorite Rumi quotes?

For You, Uvalde

This is for you, Uvalde. I first learned of your tragedy the evening of the day it happened. The very next morning when I started my car, these are the exact words I heard, “Oh very young, what will you leave us this time? You’re only dancin’ on this earth for a short while…”. I just sat there stunned with tears stinging my eyes. It is not the first time a pertinent message has come through a song on the radio for me.

I call it synchronicity.

When the timing of something such as music echoes what is happening, it is like a message from the Universe. This is the ONLY reason I chose to write this post. It feels as if the children want me to speak my truth.

First of all, I extend my sympathy for you, dear children. You had your lives senselessly snuffed short. I taught in an elementary school for thirty years, so I worked with students your age on a daily basis. You, who had so much potential – such horrific tragedy. Of course, you teachers are on my heart as well. You gave of your compassion and love for your students. No one should have to literally lay down their life to teach. Next, I absolutely hold you grieving parents close. While I also have lost a child, his life was longer and his death was from another cause. It is a different grief for a wicked mass murder. For you, Uvalde, your entire community has suffered a rip in time. Forever, your thoughts will be marking time with a before and an after of this event. Last of all, this is for us, the U.S. We all grieve as well….yet again. If you are feeling grief, here are a couple of my posts: BROKEN and Art, Grief and Life.

It is time to WAKE UP! Do it for Uvalde.

As a nation, we absolutely must create a safer environment with tougher gun laws. Here are a few stats from a very recent NPR article. Number of people killed by guns in the U.S., every day: 100. Number of children who die every day from gun violence in the U.S.: 12. For ten more stats, here is the link: https://www.npr.org/2022/05/27/1101774780/gun-control-debate-statistics.

In gun buy backs, guns are to be destroyed. Not only does this provide a safe way to dispose of guns, but it also keeps guns from falling into the wrong hands.

In this 2015 article, Australia held a gun buy back. They noted a significant reduction in homicides as well as suicides. https://www.vox.com/2015/8/27/9212725/australia-buyback

A recent California buy back offered $50 gas gift cards for turning in unwanted guns. The event was to last 5 hours, but they exhausted their supply of gift cards in 45 minutes. This shows that there is interest. https://www.npr.org/2022/05/23/1100683314/sacramento-gas-for-guns-buyback

“A look at 130 studies from over 10 countries found that restrictions on guns tended to be followed by a decline in gun deaths.” https://www.bbc.com/news/61599697

The article below echoes my thoughts on training armed teachers. Among the points that resonated with me are the difficulties in working with the shear weight of a gun, particularly for a person who has not previously handled one. Also, the simulation was contrary to giving compassionate care for the wounded. This article confirmed for me that arming teachers is NOT the answer to eliminating school shootings. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/arm-teachers-school-shooting-simulation_n_6290277ae4b0cda85dbc46ec In my book, the only arms teachers should have are the two with which they were born.

Speak out, let’s do what we can to make this world a safer place. We must place people ahead of profits and love in front of fear. I close with a song for you, Uvalde.

How to Calm Your Overthinking

Heavy thoughts can be released by learning how to calm your mind from overthinking. This helps our lives to go more smoothly. First of all, we will examine the artwork of the Belgian sculptor, Thomas Lerooy. Then, we will explore practices which can alleviate those heavy thoughts. Also included is a special frequency which can assist us in purging thoughts which may drag us down.

Thomas Lerooy’s Sculptures

Let’s start with this site: https://mymodernmet.com/?s=thomas+lerooy. The bronze head pictured in the center is a sculpture by Lerooy, entitled Weight of Thought. If you click on that sculpture photo, you can find other pieces in this series of exaggeratedly large headed pieces.

Lerooy’s bronzes are executed in a classical style. However, because of the extreme proportions of the heads compared to the bodies, it gives his work a modern twist. This series of six was born out of his inability to be decisive. He must have felt his thoughts to be so heavy that his head seemed to greatly outweigh his body.

I found it fascinating that this series of sculptures was created in 2009. That was the very same year I experienced quite extreme overthinking myself. In that same year, our son was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Thus, my mind was constantly ruminating “what if” scenarios. My body actually did shrink for a while (losing weight) as I was living in my head, somewhat as these sculptures depict.

Calming Practices

Next, here is a list of calming practices which I ‘ve found helpful to get me “out of my head” from overthinking.

  • Go for a walk in nature
  • Exercise
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Talk therapy with a counselor or a trusted friend or loved one
  • Talk therapy with your pet
  • Create artwork
  • Grow plants
  • Soak in an Epsom salts bath
  • Listen to peaceful music

Frequency Healing to Calm Overthinking

Last, but certainly not least, here is one of the marvelous healing strategies I found when I was experiencing such conflicting thoughts and emotions. It is frequency or sound healing! Simply sitting or lying down and allowing this calming frequency to wash over you can work wonders. It is best to check with your medical provider to ascertain that this practice would be good for you. People with certain conditions or medications may not want to try this. If you do meditate with 852 Hz, enjoy! Please be cautious when finished, as upon arising this extreme relaxation may cause one to feel a bit light headed.

Here are some other frequency healing articles from my blog: Tuning into Healing: Grief, WASH AWAY NEGATIVITY!, CLEAR NEGATIVE ENERGY, Creativity 101 with 528 Hertz, HEALING AND BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: 639 HERTZ, PAIN: KNOCK IT DOWN – 174 HZ, and Pain Blessings When It Hertz!. Finally, please enjoy these very natural ways to feel better!

Dandelions – Delight or Dilemma?

What do you think – are dandelions a delight or a dilemma? Are there any benefits at all from this scruffy, little weed? Could these bright, beautiful, yellow blooms be of harm? Let us explore this. Perhaps along our way we may find comparisons to the companions of joy and sorrow.

Delight in Dandelions

Amazingly, dandelions are quite a plant. Not only can the green leaves be consumed, but also the roots and the blooms! A detoxifying tea can be made with the roots. It is said to be good for the liver. The greens can make a contrasting flavor in a nutritious green salad. Granted, both the tea and the leaves are quite bitter tasting.

One time when we were growing up, my brother and I ended up being the only ones at home. We happened to see a tv show that explained how to make a dish with dandelion blossoms. Basically, we made an egg batter, dipped the blossoms into the batter, then fried them. Our kitchen adventure left a pleasant memory in my mind.

Here is a good resource: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dandelion-benefits. Please note that this resource makes a number of “may” help this and that statements. Among these are potential help for nutrition, anti-inflammatory response, anti-cancer effects, weight loss, management of blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, etc. More than likely, there is a lack of funding for studying natural substances in which corporations do not stand to make a profit. While this plant has low toxicity, it would be good to review the cautionary notes at the end of the health line resource should you choose to try dandelions.

More Dandelion Benefits

As children, we loved to pluck a stem that had gone to seed and blow the seeds to the ends of the earth! Birds love to eat the seeds following lopping off the fly away parachute. Goldfinches seem to be attracted to the first dandelions.

In my magical thinking, I imagined the yellow of the spring dandelions causing the brown and winter-weary goldfinches to turn yellow. In actuality, it is the lengthening days which contribute to the birds’ golden color.

Goldfinches. Did you know they love to eat dandelion seeds?

Another childhood memory of dandelions is creating jewelry from the stems. Once a cheery flower is picked, pluck off the bloom. Note that the remaining lengthy stem is hollow with one end larger than the other. One simply pokes the smaller end into the larger to create a ring. Subsequent stems may be joined onto the ring to fashion a chain necklace. It makes endless outdoor fun!

Dilemma of Dandelions

Many folks consider dandelions unsightly, particularly once they go to seed. Some choose to spray poison in order to halt their growth. For those who love a pristine, green lawn, the envy of their neighbors, dandelions are not their best friends.

Joy and Sorrow Connections

Let’s look at a few quotes on the opposites of joy and sorrow to see if we may find some commonalities with our dandelions!

  • He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy. Kahil Gibran
  • Our sadness and sorrows, joys and triumphs bind us in the common thread of humanity. The sooner we realize the connection, the more elevated life becomes. Oprah Winfrey
  • The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy. Jim Rohn
  • When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Kahil Gibran

So, do dandelions bring you delight or dilemma, joy or sorrow? It is a choice. I must think. I look to nature and contemplate a precious rose with prickly thorns; delicious rhubarb sheltered by its poisonous leaves. I still note the dilemma, the prickles, the poison. However, I need the delight, the preciousness, the deliciousness. I make my choice. Yes, I certainly do feel sorrow and yet…. I choose to revel in the delight of the dandelions, the beauty of the rose, the delicacy of the rhubarb.

Just as we can look at dandelions in a positive or a negative manner, the same can be true for how we approach grief. Grief may ebb and flow with the passage of time. The passing of our son has been the most difficult grief I’ve ever experienced. I certainly still feel the sorrow, but I choose to feed the joy. I treasure my heart-felt joy in my memories of him, of the signs and dreams as well as my anticipation for the yet-to-be-known times of eternity with our beloved son. God bless.

Here is further exploration of what we can Learn from Opposites.

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