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A Periwinkle Pick-Me-Up

Aug 18, 2005

Progress: This is why we are on earth

There is a purplepink flower, with a star-shaped face that grows here. It?s called the Madagascar Periwinkle. (Periwinkle is a fun name isn?t it? Has a crinkle-eyed twinkling-ness to it that makes you smile. It ought to be the name of a lovable character in a timeless classic not yet written that will charm generations of readers old and young: Perry Winkle. Mister Perry Winkle).

The Mother accorded spiritual significances to flowers. At the ashram these names have replaced the botanical ones. At first it?s hard to grasp the purpose behind this (a rose by any other name etc.) But when you start paying attention, every time you see a flower?s face its given quality rises unbidden inside you. The Madagascar Periwinkle is Progress. I see it growing alongside the steps I climb to get to work. And I look at its crinkle-eyed twinkling cheerfulness and think Madagascar Periwinkle: Progress. And suddenly this small burst of blooming color becomes more than just that. Becomes a note of grace. A Post-It if you please from a place of light.

Progress. Not the word but its purplepink import, between swift-mounting steps blooms in me. And I think about change. And how even on stuck-in-the-mud my-soul-is-a-flat-tire days when it feels like I haven?t budged in weeks, something in me knows we?re here to move forward and we do- sometimes inspite of ourselves- and this is something that used to fill me with wonder - that I do so little and have got this far- and chastisement- that having got this far, I do so little(we are taught to understand that it?s the tortoise not the hare who deserves to win- so why then am I, who runs in such short hard bursts only to fall asleep before the finish-line self-complacent in the shade so richly rewarded?).

The truth is, sometimes even if you don?t lift a finger Life will give you a hand. And it is these clasped moments of uncomprehending gratitude that tempt me to be less lazy. That make me want to lean forward and say tardily- Here let me help you with that (My Life). And it is in these moments that I understand calibrations don?t count. Because I am not being measured for my worth (or lack thereof) I am just being treated as worthy. And the magnanimity of that bows my head. Because I know I am so often so much more (mis)calculating and less wise than that with my time and energy.

?The thirst for progress, the thirst to know, the thirst to transform yourself and above all a thirst for Love and Truth- if you keep that you go faster?Always ready to change everything, except that one thing: to aspire. That thirst?The fewer the formulas- the fewer the formulas the better. A need, a need, a need?which only the Thing can satisfy, nothing else, no half measure. Only That. And then, move on, move on! Your path will be your path, it doesn?t matter; any path, any path whatever." ? The Mother

Not that all this articulates itself in so many words between bottom step and top, but something of its spirit sparkles forth to be cupped in quick palms and drunk in one swift swallow- a Periwinkle Pick-Me-Up to start this day with.
(one could, you must admit, do worse).

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."