Thursday, June 22, 2006

Start Today

I don't as a rule forward all the hundreds of cheesy e-mails that come my way, but I definitely wanted to share this one that was sent to me by my Mum. Sometimes the inspiration you are waiting for is sitting in your e-mail in box. I don't know the original author of this, so unfortunately I cannot credit him or her.

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to
see the daffodils before they are over."

I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead

"I will come next Tuesday," I promised a little reluctantly on her third

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I
drove there.

When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful
sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and
fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I
want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm
heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car." "How far
will we have to drive?"

"Oh...just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "But I'll drive. I'm used to this."

After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we going? This isn't the way
to the garage!"

"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around."

"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you
miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a
small church.

On the far side of the Church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that
read, "Daffodil Garden."

We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down
the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay
the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat
of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and it's surrounding slopes.

The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and
swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron
and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large
groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique
hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn.

"Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her

Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in
the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the
Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline.

The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second
answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one
brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman
whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb
at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop.
Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever
changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created
something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles
of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one
step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and learning to love the
doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort,
we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have
accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years
ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years?
Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way.

"Start today," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays.
The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for
regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting; Until your car or home is paid
off; Until you get a new car or home; Until your kids leave the house; Until
you go back to school; Until you finish school;

Until you clean the house; Until you organize the garage; Until you clean
off your desk; Until you lose 10 lbs.; Until you gain 10 lbs.; Until you get
married; Until you get a divorce; Until you have kids; Until the kids go to
school; Until you retire; Until summer; Until spring; Until winter; Until
fall; Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy.


toya said...

you are so right, I wrote something like this for a CJ I am in and it is a very strong life lesson.

Keianna said...

Um, great read. I am sure there is a dream we all have that we have been putting off. Thanks for sharing.

Renee said...

Fantastic post Fran!

Anonymous said...

I have found on google that the author is :
Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards


Lynn Anne said...

Dany, thanks for posting the credit. Francine, you've got me tearing. Thanks for sharing this.

And totally off topic...check with the scrapblogs person. The link to your blog is messed up (it shows up at the end of the scrapblogs addy, instead of on its own, so it makes an error) Just so you know. And while you're there, you can let her know my name is spelled Lynn (no 'e') Anne ('e') :)

Have a good night!