Longevity

"Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice." - E.M. Forster

A small collection of Phalanopsis orchids is scattered throughout my house. They have broad roundish leafs and striking flowers that are round, large, and colorfully diverse. Beyond their beauty, what I like most about them is longevity. These orchids can live for centuries and the flowers can bloom up to four months. A yoga participant gave one to me a year ago and now it is growing a new spike of flowers. They inspire and motivate me to live, in all ways, long-lasting.

Symbols of longevity such as elephants and tortoises are revered in the East. Longevity is a catalyst for growing wisdom in Taoism. I grew up in a tradition where seniors were held in high esteem. Each year we honored the dead forebears and asked for blessings from the elders. I abhor mindless deference. Respect and admiration, to me, are to be duly given when truly earned. Living long enough to be older than me doesn't equate wisdom nor all the good things that come with it. True longevity isn't aging but maturating in body, mind and heart.

In time and space, with the sunlight, water and nutrients, through the senses and thoughts, we grow into something refined like the orchid flowers. I'm getting better at caring for my orchids. We are nourished by those who inspire our existences, and we in turn inspirit others. It takes awhile for something or someone to rot away and expire due to the lack of nourishment. But that isn't growing. Longevity is wisdom when it transforms truth into vision, creativity into diversity (beauty), and relationship into goodness. Knowledge sprouts from vision, diversity, and goodness. May we live long in order to grow and give tremendously.