Last year my son bought me an orchid for Christmas. It was a fairly tall orchid, with a long slender stem and 5 magnificent flowers. When he gave it to me the flowers were in full bloom and they lasted for absolutely ages before gradually fading one by one and eventually dropping gracefully off. Having never owned an orchid before, I dutifully looked up what to do with my orchid and followed the instructions that I found, which said to cut the stem half way down after the last flower has fallen.

It was around this time, that whilst out watching my son play football, I spotted another orchid that someone had left next to a rubbish bin. There were no flowers on this abandoned orchid and although it was simply a small stick, stuck in a disposable plastic cup of dried dirt, I had a sense of rescuing something that was very much alive. I carefully picked it up and put it in my car. When I got home I put my newly acquired orchid next to my other orchid on the kitchen table. My partner said, “It’s a shame that orchids are so ugly when they don’t have flowers” and he was right. When there are no flowers on an orchid they are pretty much just a plain old stick: sure, the leaves can be seen as beautiful, but nothing stands out at all about an orchid that is not in bloom, and what’s more, there is no indication whatsoever of the beauty that lies within.

The kitchen table is where I have most of my meals and for as long as I can remember, when I ate by myself, I would eat in front of the computer. To be honest I never really gave it a second thought, I simply saw it as an opportunity to get stuff done. Recently however, I had been noticing more and more the mild palpitations that I felt in connection with getting what I perceived to be ‘my work’ done. There is not one single moment that our bodies are not reflecting how we are feeling back to us – even in sleep the narrative continues. There have been times, for example, that I have peered at my computer screen through smeary glasses or perched uncomfortably on the edge of a cushion, the anxiety that pricked away at my chest combined with an insistent drive to keep ‘moving forward’ seemed to prevent me from pausing for a moment to either clean my glasses or adjust my cushion, however the fact of the matter is, I could have chosen to care for myself at any moment, it’s just that I didn’t.

As a result of my increased awareness around my anxiousness, I made what for me was a radical decision: I chose to stop having my meals in front of the computer and chose instead to start having them with my orchids. Now initially it was me and a couple of twigs, one whose splendour was known and the other that was, at this stage, still somewhat of a mystery. With each meal that I had, I would sit and observe the development of my orchids. It was my rescued orchid that showed the first embryonic signs of life and I was fascinated to see that my original orchid responded within days with its own tiny stirrings.

With the first glimpses of the flowers came another realisation about the level of anxiety that I felt on a daily basis. I noticed that although I was now choosing to sit and eat without distraction, I barely managed to swallow my last mouthful of food before I was scraping my chair back and launching myself into whatever I perceived needed to be done next. On realising this, I chose to shut my eyes soon after swallowing my last piece of food and to then physically surrender my whole body as deeply as I could. I did not sit for long, but it was long enough for me to feel the skin on my head sinking back towards my muscles and my muscles sinking back towards my bones, as opposed to the usual panicky petrification that I felt as my muscles sprang away from my bones and my skin leapt away from my muscles.

Over the next few weeks my orchids and I continued our slow unfoldment. Each bloom seemed to have its own independent sense of timing and yet the synchronicity between the blooms was evident. I could sense that each flower was involved in its own development and that although it had its own unique relationship with itself, it still remained very much part of the whole plant; this included the other flowers, the stem, the leaves, the roots and the soil, as well as the water that it received from me. I also got to feel how I was part of the process too, whether I chose to use filtered water or water from the tap, how often I watered my orchids and the energetic quality with which I actually poured the water.

Each bloom was radiantly beautiful in its own right and once opened seemed to stand in almost regal stillness. Eventually, over many weeks, all of the blooms on both orchids were fully open and the effect was nothing short of spectacular. My rescued orchid turned out to be a glorious purple and it had a holding quality that reached deep within my body.

The glorious detail with which orchids reflect the most intimate parts of a woman’s body is for me symbolic of the fact that orchids serve as a gentle reminder to both men and women of the femaleness that lies equally within us all. Every orchid silently conveys the vast stillness that makes up the very fabric of our being, yet despite the great beauty that each and every orchid reflects, it is but a mere fraction of the unfathomable and unwavering beauty that is inherent in us all.

By Alexis Stewart, Care worker with the Intellectually Disabled, Yoga Teacher, Mother of a Stunning Boy, Partner to a very Tender Man, A Woman who is finally remembering who she is, Sydney, Australia

Related Reading:
Nature: The Ultimate Reflection
Nature – Life – Responsibility
All of nature is here to support us to return to who we truly are





650 thoughts on “Orchids

  1. “Every orchid silently conveys the vast stillness that makes up the very fabric of our being, yet despite the great beauty that each and every orchid reflects, it is but a mere fraction of the unfathomable and unwavering beauty that is inherent in us all.”
    There is such a quality of deep stillness that an Orchid plant reflects back to us, but as you say Alexis this is nothing to the utter unfathomable grace and beauty that resides within us waiting to be rediscovered.

  2. The potential in the abandoned orchid is a reflection of the potential of magnificence that is innate in all of us.

  3. I’ve recently been given a baby snake plant. I love watching how it grows and checking with it each day. Now I am curious about my relationship with my own growth. Do I enjoy it as it is or place expectations, deadlines and milestones to it?

  4. As humans as we explore our essences we open up to the deeper realm that lies within and like a lotus we open to the world and can then leave the murky-ness of the watery grave we were in and live from our Soul-full-essences and remain radiant in all we do as you have so Lovingly shared Alexis.

  5. Alexis after reading your wonderful blog I will look very differently at orchids and at nature around me. It seems that everything in nature is “telling” us something important – something to understand ourselves a bit deeper – what a wonderful gift our nature is.

  6. Over the years my husband has had many orchids but they wouldn’t bloom for long and die, or so I thought so I would throw them out. After reading this some time ago, I keep the one from last year and have been talking to it and low and behold it has started to make a lot of new fonds. So we wait in anticipation for it to flower again, but in the meantime, we have given it a friend to stand next to another orchid.

  7. I love the symbolism of the orchid – when in its ‘stick’ form not to judge life by the surface appearance and hence not to judge at all and when it is in flower not to hold back expressing all of one’s beauty.

    1. At the moment I am surrounded by so many orchids in human form. There are people all around me coming alive and literally bursting into magnificent bloom. It is beautiful beyond measure.

  8. I recall when I was a child and we had the opportunity to see a special flower bloom in Africa. It was a bloom that only bloomed at night and only for that one night. As a family we set the timer on and woke up at night to see how the bud had opened and released the most magnificent white flower accompanied by an incredible scent that perfumed the whole surrounds. There was something very special and magical about this.

  9. Alexis I love this blog because I love my Orchids and they love growing in my house. There is always something new to see, a new shoot or a new Arial root appearing, when they shoot out a flower stalk I check them every day and watch as the buds grow into fat green pods that turn white then they pop open and reveal their delicate flower and within there is a variety of the most exquisite colours. My sister has just given me another Orchid to add to my collection some are sitting in my front window and they are my companions as I work at my desk. To me they optimize the saying never judge a book by its cover.

  10. Alexis, I love this; ‘I chose to shut my eyes soon after swallowing my last piece of food and to then physically surrender my whole body as deeply as I could. I did not sit for long,’ It is very gorgeous to sit and be still and allow the body to surrender. In the mornings after getting ready in the bathroom I love to stand for a minute and settle into my body – feeling my legs and feet, I notice that if I do this then I leave the bathroom more steady and connected and less in a rush to get on with the next thing. it feels great to do this in the day to take these moments to stop and surrender rather than getting caught up in busyness and momentum.

    1. Beautiful Rebecca. It is what we convey with our bodies that gets registered and so I feel that in these moments we are making a clear statement with our bodies that we are not getting caught up in the illusion of time but that we are choosing to be with our bodies and therefore in the truth of space.

  11. Love the simplicity of the orchid when is not in full bloom as well. This time of repose reflects me that it doesn’t matter the shapes and colours you wear, we all are innately beautiful from inside. What we do or say on the outside doesn’t change this fact.

  12. Recently I received a bouquet of flowers. Observing them, I realized how different they were, each one had a unique colour and scent, there was a different expression, but I could not choose what was better than others… and it came a revelation for me…I couldn’t choose one upon another because in essence there is no better or worse, just an emanation, an expression of the natural beauty that is in each one. I find very inspiring the simplicity in how they were sharing its gorgeousness, no time for competitions and jealousy, but a togetherness that inspired me so much.

    1. I love this sharing Imna that we can all be different with our different ways of expressing our natural beauty and this is a huge reflection back to us all that we are also uniquely beautiful and how we can all complement each other so that there is no need to be in competition or jealousy as everyone has a different reflection or angle of God to bring to the world.

  13. Thank you Alexis, your sharing makes me realize how much beauty I can take for granted and almost forget along my day. This beauty from the orchids you talk about is there, and also inside us but how much do we stop to appreciate it? It seems like there is no time to do such things…but seeing how revealing was for you opens up my curiosity and inspires me to embrace the inherent Beauty inside all of us and around. Actually it’s everywhere as it is where we come from.

  14. I love that how each flower was involved in its own unfoldment, but still remaining part of the whole plant. We cannot be without each other, and the whole.

  15. It is surprising what is revealed when we give ourselves space, love, nurture and then share/express that love.

  16. Alexis this is a good reminder to me to sit, and take stock before going launching into dinner. I have been super busy at work lately and I have let my standards slip sometimes eating lunch standing up half on the go.

    I love that it is just a choice and I am offered the opportunity everyday to choose more lovingly.

  17. For me there are so many lessons within your very powerful blog Alexis, but today’s one is ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and in this case don’t judge an orchid by its outer appearance, when its not in bloom. So often in life I feel that we walk by people who we judge before we even know them and maybe in the process we miss out on getting to see and to know the beautiful ‘blooms’ that they actually are.

    1. Ingrid this comment is very true some people are so contracted by life that they live very closed off from the world. If they where shown tender loving care they could potentially release the nervous tension and bodily restrictions and blossom into the most graceful beauty-full beings. I remember years ago watching someone walk and they walked in such grace and beauty totally connected to who they were and it shone from them you just had to stop and watch such a fluidity of graceful movement, and we all have that potential.

      1. Mary I was a person who was always happy, seemingly very alive, a person that thought that they embraced life. It was a total shock for me to realise that underneath all of that external exuberance was a very contracted person. Most of us have a very set image about what a contracted person looks and presents like but I feel it’s true to say that most of us are living in contraction.

  18. I love how orchids do synchronise to each other, we have two orchids too and they just started to make new flower stems a couple of weeks ago both in the same week. You could say it is luck or the time of the year but it feels like they are aligned to each other and show how we all are aligned to bigger cycles that govern us more than we are currently aware of.

  19. The beauty of femaleness is out of this world. It is a type of beauty that blossoms within and that then reveals its timeless beauty to everyone and which silently, but also loudly, invites others to open up to their own femaleness.

  20. I love the unfoldment you describe here Alexis, how you allowed yourself (and your orchids) the needed time to unfold, to take space and how in that you all blossomed. How you describe muscles away from bone, away from skin was very telling as I could feel how when I’m anxious that’s exactly how it feels and to allow oneself to nestle back into our bones, when I remember to do it, it’s amazing and you remind me that this is how I can be.

  21. Orchids seem to love my house and they are a constant source of delight to me, I love to watch for the possibility if a bud that at first looks like another aerial root but then on closer inspection it is the start of the flower stem. As the flower stem grows watching how the flower buds form and the colour changes because everything is in slow motion as it where there is time to appreciate every stage of the development. All my orchids have white flowers which at first are green and then they turn white as they slowly unfurl and in the centre of the flower there are yellow and red tinges. The flowers are so graceful and full of beauty. When they are dormant this doesn’t matter to me because I know their potential and it is so worth waiting for. As a reflection we could say that Orchids can reflect back to us our own potential that lies dormant and the offering that if we were to wake from our deep apathy we too would be full of grace and beauty naturally so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.