Monday, May 12, 2008

The Daffodil Principle

( I received this from my friend Richard Sutton and it has always been a favorite of mine.)

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 call.

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.

'But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks,' Carolyn said. 'I'll drive. I'm used to this.'

'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 its 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 home.' 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 world .

'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 tomorrow,' 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. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don't need money. Love like you've never been hurt, and, Dance like no one's watching.

Have a great week everyone.


At 1:26 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I know this story well, and love it---It is so inspirational...! Thanks for the reminder Lucy. This is such a great peice, isn't it....?

At 2:25 AM, Blogger Diane J. said...

This is one of my favorites too, Lucy. :o)

Hope your Mother's Day was a good one. Have a great week!

Love and hugs,


At 9:48 AM, Blogger Putz said...

until get arrested and go to jail

At 3:44 PM, Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Lucy ~ If only this would have had a picture of the Daffodil Field, it would have been perfect. But its principles were PERFECT! ~ jb///

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Oh great One said...

What a lovely story! I've never heard it before. Thank you for sharing!

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Never heard this one, either. I now know what to quote when I act the way that I do.

Unfortunately for the Missus, I've never waited and sometimes jump off the cliff when she's still not ready. But, in my life. it's always worked out when I decided not to wait.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Jim said...

That's good, Lucy. I have received it in e-mails a few times.
I had forgotten how the field got like that, thank you.

BTW, can't have you in jail until you pass your ham radio test.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Jess said...

I want you to know that I really needed this... I needed to hear (read) this story...thank you so much for sharing this. It really touched my heart and has really inspired me tonight. I hope I will be able to sleep with my mind going nuts with thinking.

Hope you have a wonderful rest of the week.

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I've read this before, but I read it again because it is well worth re-reading.
Start tomorrow - I like that part!

At 11:18 PM, Blogger Cliff said...

Nope...I'd never seen this . I liked it. Thanks. Great message indeed.

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Ralph said...

Great, great story. I really liked the 'Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking', cause those are exactly the questions I most likely would have asked. There is also a lot of wisdom in the Daffodil Principle.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Jan said...

I literally had goosebumps. That was a beautiful story for sure. I just think we can all learn so much from that sweet lady that made the world a better place one bulb at a time. Greatness does come in the small things. Thanks for sharing this impacting story Lucy. And thanks for stopping by my blog.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Putz said...

do you know what i like better than daffodils?????as field of dandilions...i like weeds as well as i do could have...a philosphy of before you jump...before you speaad, don't do things before you see, beofore you hear, before you love, before you

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

I had seen this but it's been a long time ago. A great message and so true. Thanks Lucy!

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

I saw this on some Aussie lady's blog. It is inspirational. Some day I'm going to put it to use.

Hmmmm, that misses the point though.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger J C said...

Great Post! I makes me want to do something! Today's the day Donna and I entertain old folks (yeah, like we're young) at the senior center. I have wondered why some of the more infirm folks always manage to show up for lunch. Maybe experiences like yours are the reason!

At 8:18 AM, Blogger CA said...

'oops'...what jc said...

At 2:48 PM, Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

Loved this, Lucy, although I had read it before!

It's just wonderful!


At 9:27 PM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...


Long time since I came here to you very wise and inspirational blog.

Happiness is indeed a journey, moment to moment, heartbeat to heartbeat.

Blessings to you and your family,

At 1:26 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Just stopping by to tell you that "the answer" is up...So pop on by if you get a chance.


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