I came across this great piece today and just wanted to share it with you. It is an amazing image of transformation that I had never heard of before. We’re familiar with the butterfly caterpillar as a powerful metaphor of transformation. But the Peony is new to me. I found this on http://ideas.ted.com/5-poems-for-an-inauguration/. I would love to know if it speaks to you and if so what insights you gained from it. I need to come back to it and spend some time with it and reflect and journal with it. Watch now for all the ways this metaphor will come to you in the coming few days and weeks. The mind responds best and most easily to images and metaphors. They came before words and language – so they are a primal embedded form of communication. Great teachers use them to their best advantage. We just have to think of the teachings of Jesus and the gospels. He used them in his teachings and sermons all the time. Wandering off here – as I do…but it always intrigues me that Christ used psychology way before there was ever the science or subject of psychology. Metaphor and images are the key tools of hypnosis. Great hypnotists like Milton Erickson too used them as naturally as just having a conversation. Fascinating how the unconscious mind (us)  grasps their meaning intuitively.

Take some time to let this percolate into, in and around you magic unconscious mind. Then take some time to reflect and write down the gems that it stirs up in you.

Peony
by Robin Morgan

“This poem, written quite a while ago, arrived like a gift to me when I learned the horticultural truth about how peonies come to bloom. What a metaphor! The poem seems to come back at me again and again: humble, disarmingly simple, and useful in reminding us that bringing anything to life demands patience, collaboration and an individual, steely resolve willed by those who were never, ever expected — sometimes, even by themselves — to succeed. For me, in these dark, political days shadowing our republic, it is a reminder and prediction of the work we have to do, and also of our capacity to do it.” — Robin Morgan

What appears to be
this frozen explosion of petals
abristle with extremist beauty
like an entire bouquet on a single stem
or a full chorus creamy-robed rippling
to its feet for the sanctus —
is after all a flower,
perishable, with a peculiar
history. Each peony
blossoms only after
the waxy casing thick around
its tight green bud is eaten literally
away by certain small herbivorous ants
who swarm round the stubborn rind
and nibble gently for weeks to release
the implosion called a flower. If
the tiny coral-colored ants have been
destroyed, the bloom cannot unfist itself
no matter how carefully forced to umbrage
by the finest hothouse gardeners.

Unrecognized, how recognizable.

Each of us nibbling discreetly
to release the flower,
usually not even knowing
the purpose, only the hunger;

each mostly unaware of any others,
sometimes surprised by a neighbor,
sometimes (so rarely) astonished
by a glimpse into one corner
at how many of us there are;

enough to cling at least, swarm back,
remain, whenever we’re shaken
off or drenched away
by the well-meaning gardener, ignorant
as we are of our mission, of our being
equal in and to the task.

Unequal to the task: a word
like “revolution,” to describe
what our drudge-cheerful midwifery
will bring to bear—with us not here
to see it, satiated, long since
rinsed away, the job complete.

Why then do I feel this tremble,
more like a contraction’s aftermath
release, relax, relief
than like an earthquake; more
like a rustling in the belly,
or the resonance a song might make
en route from brain to larynx
            as if now, here, unleaving itself of all
            old and unnecessary outer layers

                        butterfly from chrysalis
                        snake from cast skin
                        crustacean from shell
                        baby from placenta

something alive before
only in Anywoman’s dreamings
begins to stretch, arch, unfold
each vein on each transparency opening proud,
unique, unduplicate,
each petal stiff with tenderness,
each gauzy wing a different shading flecked
ivory silver tangerine moon cinnamon amber flame
hosannas of lucidity and love in a wild riot,
a confusion of boisterous order
all fragrance, laughter, tousled celebration —
only a fading streak like blood
at the center, to remind us we were there once

but are still here, who dare,
            tenacious, to nibble toward such blossoming
            of this green stubborn bud
           some call a world.

Reprinted with permission from the author. Peony was also published in Death Benefits (Copper Canyon Press) and in Upstairs in the Garden: Selected and New Poems (W.W. Norton). All Rights Reserved. 

 

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