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Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 28 he compelled them to think in a way they never had, and that he still comes to mind even though it was a short time he was here and he has been gone a long time. The poppy’s petals, an uncommon blue, evoke with its hue the cloudless sky, the vast ocean, or the true nature of the mind that abides in equanimity despite unrelent- ing waves of illusion and always changing clouds of desire and attachment. In the center of the poppy’s cupped petals are mustard-yellow stamens—a bright, happy contrast to the profound, solemn blue that surrounds them. In the center of that Some- thing Worse summer there was, despite it all, Liam. And there were some things to learn. It’s natural that two aspects of one thing so different in shading, like joy and sorrow, ex- ist side-by-side, one within the other. And the blue poppy’s beauty is undiminished by the true, sad fact that it won’t last forever, maybe not very long at all. When Liam died I tried to hold on to that new appreciation for accepting all as- pects, the light and dark, of any situation, allowing for the joy that was the gift of his presence to take root in my life, instead of the pain and anger that his loss left. To bloom in mid-July, blue poppies require cool temperatures; they need the cold if they’re going to flourish. That summer brought a cold reality of existence to life for me; I had to accept the hardship and pain with the beauty and happiness. To see a gift amid my devastation could not have been a harder thing for me to do. But I wanted to believe it wasn’t impos- sible. I hoped it wasn’t an anathema to embrace that gift, as repugnant as it may at first seem to others to see my devasta- tion as a teaching, a source from which to grow, and a chance to change my mind about what it means to be blessed with a rare human birth. A changed mind came to me for having known Liam. The less- awake person I was before passed away. I learned I knew how to stand—grateful— in the rain when he was with me, when I was filled up with sorrow and delight. ♦ Adapted from The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed: A Mother’s Story of Loss and Hope, by Kathleen Willis Morton. © 2008 Kathleen Willis Morton. Reprinted with permission of Wisdom Publications. Do you want leading edge skills to negotiate the challenges you face? Do you want world-class tools to transform conflict? Offering professional training retreats at Omega Institute, New York, featuring: Beyond YesTM Negotiation Mastery from the Inside Out With Erica Ariel Fox, Lecturer, Harvard Law School Mediating Dangerously Conflict Skills for Difficult Times With Kenneth Cloke, Founder, Mediators Beyond Borders Info at www.eomega.org or call 1-800-944-1001 Email questions to