Chasing Light

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Every week I pick up fresh produce and sunflowers from the local farmer's market. I hand pick five or six strong flowers to bring home. I look for the flowers with strong stems and vibrant heads facing up. My bouquet feels like sunshine in my hands to enjoy all week long. And in a way, it is.

Sunflowers are known for their radiant color and happy demeanor. I recently learned that sunflowers turn their heads to the light. This fascinating phenomenon of flowers following the sun across the sky is called heliotropism. After more research, I learned that not all sunflowers do this. A sunflower needs to grow to be able to turn its head to the east. Young sunflowers turn their heads towards the west side during the day. With maturation of the sunflower, they learn to turn their heads to the sunlight.

“I don't think there's anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me that's because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that's such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.”

-Helen Mirren

Imagine if we constantly turned our own heads to light. Can you imagine how much happier and stronger we would look and feel? The fact that the sunflower turns it's head and chases the light to fully mature is symbolic. 

When I was in the midst of my darkest moment, I was also listening to music that didn't feed my spirit. I watched crap television (reality, gossipy or catty) and read gossip magazines. While it numbed my sadness temporarily, it did not serve me or the light I wanted to reignite. Once I recognized this, I made small changes that led to feeling better.  I began to trade hours of TV for podcasts and audiobooks that intrigued me.  On days I didn't have energy to work out, I meditated or went for a long walk with my dog  (we'll discuss the power of nature in Episode 4). 

At the end of the day, only you can decide what's lifting you up. You certainly don't have to stop indulging in TV or gossip magazines, I'm just sharing what helped me. I also think social media is worth mentioning. If you spend a large amount of time on it, be mindful of those you "follow" and try to make the messages you consume ones that bring you joy or inspiration.

I hope my meditations can be a part of your daily routine and help you find joy, peace and light. 

Julio Lara