It was a late summer afternoon. I was lying belly side down on the sidewalk with camera in hand and peering into a dandelion seed head with my macro lens. As many times as I have observed a dandelion, this time was different. I had just left my teaching career in favor of radical self-care. It felt radical to be prioritizing my own health and wellness. It felt even more radical to be choosing uncertainty over a career I had known for 14 years. Though I didn’t know what I would be doing next, I had the support of my beloved and the opportunity to explore.
During the first few months of transition, I felt a scattered sense of freedom. For the first time in my adult life, I had the luxury of exploring from a place of passion. It felt both energizing and daunting. I struggled to find a rhythm in a life that didn’t revolve around external expectations and a set schedule. It felt unfamiliar to have space and time devoted to identifying my own needs and wants. At times, I had a sense of panic around my lack of direction and self-inflicted pressure to figure out a new career or justify my time. I also recognized that I had been gifted this time to explore something life-giving. So, I focused some attention on growing nourishing routines.
I began daily morning photo walks. Photography was something I loved as a young person but it had been a long while since I peered into that lens. Having my camera in hand gave me the permission I needed to slow down and pause. I began to pay more attention to nature, stopping often to breathe in the fragrant blooms or notice a snail crossing my path. Through my macro lens, I could magnify the rich details readily present in my life. My walks became a daily practice in mindfulness and gratitude.
It was amidst one of those walks that I found myself stretched out on the concrete peering into a dandelion bursting from a crack in the sidewalk. I found delight in the dandelion’s vibrant yellow flowers dotting spring green lawns. I felt equally enchanted by their wispy seed globes and their invitation to send wishes out into the world with a single puff. On this particular afternoon, I was captured by the feathery seed head. As I zoomed in on the hundreds of seeds sprouting from the dandelion’s pincushion center, I suddenly saw everything from a new perspective. Steeped in the uncertainty of my life, all I could see through my macro lens was possibility waiting to take flight on the hundreds of delicate parachute seeds.
I considered how dandelion seeds travel far and wide, eventually landing and thriving in the most precarious locations. There is no certainty about the fate of each seed but their chance of thriving is great. The dandelion peeking up through a sidewalk crack spoke to its resilient nature. Witnessing the abundant possibility alive in this single dandelion, I couldn’t help but leap from my own center at the thought of this same potential living in me. I didn’t need to have all the specifics of my life figured out at once. All I needed was to ground myself in the moment and trust in my process.
The dandelion felt like a messenger. Rather than allow fear to run wild, I could embrace the wild possibilities alive in the seeds of uncertainty. I could trust in my resiliency to help me navigate the unknowns with confidence and grace. I had nourishing support, space to explore, and time to find my new place in the world. I had the conditions needed to flourish.
From that moment, I met uncertainty with a sense of adventure. I allowed myself the time and space to listen into my intuitive heart-gut and explore those deepest calls from my inner life. Eventually, I found a rhythm and relationship between my mindful explorations and my creativity— leading me to reclaim my passions as a writer, photographer and maker. In remaining open to possibility, I learned to loosen the constraints of ego and embrace a more fluid process.
Reflecting on that single dandelion moment, I think of how easy it can be to let fear trap us and keep us from stepping into our own lives. I recognize how our greatest potential, our desires and deepest joys are alive in one seed, one idea, a courageous heart dispersed into the vast unknown. Each moment is ripe with wild promise. We only need to allow this possibility to carry us deep, wide and far.
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