• Laura Schopen

Bloom where you are planted: An Invitation to Grace


This popular saying is a contemporary paraphrase from different scriptures in the Bible.


Stay put--bloom from here.


As we take it in, it becomes a most direct, almost stern, instruction. And as with all direct pointers, we react to it.


"But me bloom here?" We question, we argue, we dismiss. "Not in this crack in the sidewalk? This rotting log? This desert? No. Nope. Never."


"Yes," it instructs. "Bloom from right here. Yes, in this tight, barren spot. Right here, for right now. Yes, where you are a bit squeezed, uninspired, put upon. This is the perfect place to bloom like crazy." The crack in the sidewalk that we find ourselves in, the too-small pot to hold our glorious vision of expansion--these confinements are precisely why the phrase exists.


Yet, this can feel challenging (i.e. wrong!) to say the least -- what if I am unhappy where I am? In this job, this family, this relationship, this role, this place, this country, this world, this identity? Shouldn't I strive to change, reinvent, improve, fix, relocate? Maybe/maybe not.


Only the one contemplating for her/himself can answer this question. Maybe I have done that many, many times, yet here I am again...full of frustration, emptiness, and problems. Implied is the radical proposition that we are to resign as the architect of "my" life. Or Life, in general. We have a belief that "my" life should be rewarding and meaningful and bring me happiness. We have been trying to make that belief a reality ....but after all our studies and self-improvement and goal-setting/achieving efforts, here we are -- you in a tight, crack in the sidewalk, and me in an abandoned, cement parking lot.


"What a joke, blooming from this uninspiring desolation! Oh, what I could do in fertile ground! What beauty I could express with a loving, helpful partner, a strong body, a bank account full of dollars, a supportive community!"


With those thoughts, we petition a God that never responds. We go deeper into our mental echo chamber until we rise again to make an effort to change -- ourselves, our finances, our relationships, our world.


Perhaps it starts occur to us that we are looping. That insight is priceless. It asks for a Pause. For a deeper contemplation:


Do we really know what is in our own best interests?


Going deeper yet:


Is "my life" really mine? If it were, wouldn't I have control over it?


Perhaps Life living me?


Bloom where you are planted: An Invitation to Grace


I'm suggesting that there is a Higher Intelligence that knows how to bloom through a flower and how to bloom through you and me. Our job then is to get out of Its Way. Our job then is not to work on a better me. Our work is to "die daily," as the mystics instruct. "Me" is the problem, not the solution. Our conceptual, individual self is a taker, a manipulator, a bargainer, a self-preserver. It is the furthest thing from Life, yet here we've been looking to "me" to satisfy our craving for Life. If this has rung a bell for you, that's a profound moment. In your disillusionment, your freedom is made possible.


Bloom where you are planted. That is a baby step in letting the ego die.


Practically, that means daily practice in not reacting to mental noise....our fantasies, whims, emotions, stories, judgments. We practice this every day. We wait. We feel our emotions without indulging them. We offer others freedom when we want to obligate. We let go into our unknowing.


We become like babies who can only Trust. We open to Isness that many (including this writer) are comfortable calling God. Over time, we come to see this is our own Self and that we are not what/who we thought we were at all. We have no life to manage. Our life is not our life, but God's life....never for an individual because there isn't one, but for the all because that is our Self.


God that cannot be understood, because the mind can only think thoughts. God that is our Source, that cannot be petitioned to, but Whose Grace is all around us.


"Thy wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." Isaiah 26:3


Amazingly, as we let go of managing our life and we allow ourselves to bloom, give, trust, add beauty, see perfection right here, in the tiniest crack in the sidewalk, the worst prison of our imagination:

  • We often seem to get the right medicine or approach that eases our symptoms...

  • People, including ourselves, do seem to be more pleasant and peaceful....

  • Opportunities occur that we didn't "make happen"...they come because they come....

Grace flows when we stop demanding. When we stop obligating the world, our family/friends, nation, politicians, God-of-our-understanding. When we ask them all to forgive us for what we expected of them, it is the end of slavery.


Grace, the flow of which is never ending, never ceasing, can now flow in our experience.

Try it. The Love that we Are is always 100% Present... but we have imposed a separation from ourselves and this Love. We have imposed a separate will that is not a power and that has no true reality.


As we see and let die what was never real, the Life that blooms the rose, grows the tree, dawns the morning moves through us effortlessly.

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