Happy Valentine's Day: Finding the Love Within

Seductive Camelia ©Lynne Buchanan

Last week, I was at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville and once again experienced a deep connection with flowers that can only be described as love.  The camellias and azaleas were in full bloom.  First, I came across this blossom that was fully open with drops of pollen dotting the petals.  The one bit of white amidst all the sensuous red was a touch of innocence that created a breathing space  and also a sense of fragility.  I wandered for hours in the gardens, amazed that each blossom could be so different and enticing.

Bee Drawn to the Nectar of Life ©Lynne Buchanan
I came across another blossom that this one bee could not leave alone.  For ten minutes or so, I watched him feed, taking off and settling again in so many places within the heart, as if he were exploring every way he could draw sustenance from this incredible blossom.

Camelia Opening and Closing ©Lynne Buchanan

When the bee finally left, I understood why he might have been so magnetized by this flower.  The petals were wide open, yet the stamen were simultaneously folding in on themselves.  It was a perfect metaphor for love.  Though my heart is expansive to include benevolent feelings for all living beings, it also contracts and draws in with a tender appreciation for my own being which has taken all my life to develop.  Often it is our own worthiness that we accept last, yet only if we love ourselves can we truly love another.

Abundance of the Heart ©Lynne Buchanan

As I headed back to my car, I came across this tucked away section of the garden I have never stumbled upon before, with a statue of a little monk praying.  Someone had put a camellia on his head and bills and coins had been randomly tossed upon him for good luck.  Meditating on the statue, it struck me how I previously associated abundance with material possessions and being loved by another.  Yet, after spending so much time in nature connecting with divine beauty manifested on this earth, I have come to see true abundance is recognizing that love is in fact limitless and can be born anew within us each day.