And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
It’s a very encouraging, hopeful line, and it speaks to me of the possibility of blooming and blossoming at any stage of life, not just for people in the first flush of youth. In my mind it conjures up the picture of a strong, blowsy, deep red peony which feels full and mature and confident in itself.
Over the years I have learned a few things that help me to blossom, including centering prayer, daily writing, keeping journals, arts and crafts, walking in nature, Qigong, and trying to communicate openly with another person. I also have a fairly strong understanding of some of the things that keep me tight in a bud which include withholding my feelings and thoughts, comparing myself with others, perfectionism, letting myself get too exhausted and not having enough time on my own to rest and be creative.
I find it interesting that this Anais Nin quote focuses on the pain of both blossoming or remaining tight in a bud. I get the sense that I still need to refine my ability to discriminate between different types of pain. Rather than automatically recoiling, I want to learn when that fearful, painful contraction is unnecessary, outdated and possibly ‘defending’ me from something which could actually be life-giving and ultimately help me to blossom. I need to learn when the pain is positively protective and is shouting, ‘Don’t go there!’ or is an indication that I need to prioritise looking after myself or withdrawing for some quiet, restorative time. And I perhaps most strongly want to learn better how to ‘lean into’ some types of pain, and feel more often that sense of release and expansion which comes when you are able to breathe and allow.