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Blossoms vs Blessings


📷Close-up of "Untitled" by Cornelia Foss


Greetings!

Lately I find myself counting blossoms. I know the phrase is usually “count your blessings” and that’s a good idea too, as it draws on positive psychology—a very worthy well to tap. But blossoms serve an important purpose, and within that purpose is a clear message.

At the most basic level, blossoms are a plant’s way of carrying on by enabling reproduction. We humans generally find blossoms beautiful, but maybe that’s because we instinctively see the beauty of carrying on. When we “stop and smell the flowers,” the deeper opportunity is to take stock of what’s actually going on, the very opposite of the proposed “forget about life for a while.”


And so if I may, I’ll share a few petals from my sensory inventory, courtesy of late spring’s blossoms:


This Late Bloomer Thanks John Denver

Maybe because I’m a child of the 1970’s, or maybe because he just made a lot of sense, John Denver’s songs have been surfacing in my consciousness of late. In a Medium piece I penned, I explore how his Seasons Suite might just be a translation of what the cherry trees and other keepers of the code of life have been trying to tell us for decades. 


Purpose Blossoming, Big-Time There is a rather extraordinary convergence of people pursuing meaningful purpose in their work—in their corporate, market-driven work—in Detroit this week. The Sustainable Brands conference promises to be an inspired, provocative assemblage of companies new and old, challenging norms and assumptions about what it means to be a successful business. I’ll be presenting on the topic of business model innovation, and I’ll be soaking up ideas. (Some of you reading this will be there—hooray!—and it’s not too late to squeak in last minute at some point in the week. Here’s a discount code in [nwSPEAKsb17d] to make it easier. To experience the dialogue from a distance, watch #SB17Detroit in social media.)


Talent Flowers In Abundance

I am always deeply heartened by those who take the time to be truly excellent, to constantly refine and explore ideas, and to put themselves out there as artists. I’m lucky enough to know two such artists in NYC. One is my former schoolmate, the phenomenal, unique and hard-working Lesley Johnson, whose beautiful hand-lettering graces many fine shops in Manhattan, and who has at long last made some of her most extraordinary work available as prints (see footer of this message for an example, “No Reason,” shared with permission). These may look like stylized flowers, but look closely and you’ll discover a profound journey inwards and outwards.


The other is my amazing mother-in-law, Cornelia Foss, who is finally getting much-deserved recognition for her beautiful paintings, having just received the 2017 Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Art. Her renderings of summer blossoms from the gardens of Long Island take my breath away again and again, and her portraits, trees and seascapes offer whole new perspectives with which to understand the world and the people in it (see banner at the top of this message for an example, “Untitled,” shared with permission).


When Bee Meets Tree

I don’t mean to bumble into controversy by noting my love of forest honey, but it seems that it is a lesser known thing that bees visit trees. There is so much to say on this topic, which I’ll save for another time. For now I’ll simply note that you might want to ask your local beekeeper or farmer’s market honey merchant what their thoughts are on forest honey. I suspect you’ll hear that this is one gentle, delicious way we can “monetize” preserving trees, since it turns out that trees have their share of blossoms at this time of year, too.


Of course the mere suggestion of monetizing trees is troubling. But I was counting blossoms, wasn’t I? Or perhaps they were blessings after all.


Thanks for reading and sharing in the conversation.

Yours in connectedness, Lorraine


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This piece first appeared as an emailed newsletter in May 2017. To sign up to receive my newsletters, click here.

📷“No Reason,” by Lesley Johnson, shared with permission.

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© 2018 B. Lorraine Smith