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Peonies & Potential…?

By Esmee Samara • 1st August 2021 • Reading time: 3 minutes

So what have peonies got to do with potential (and even Pilates) you may wonder?

Pour a cuppa and allow me to tell you a short (and true) story.

Picture this. Before I had renovated the garden at my house in Box many full moons ago, the front lawn was only a small grass bank that sloped down to the pavement. On top of the slope were two peony bushes. Planted no doubt, many more full moons back by the previous owner.

My knowledge of gardening at the time was very limited. Except that I knew what a peony bush was. As a child, their blooms fascinated me. Whenever windy weather blew their petals away, I always felt sad as they seemed to take forever to blossom from their compact ball-like heads (but still an opportunity to make ‘perfume’ from them!)

It was a calm sunny evening toward the end of May. My boys had been out for a while on their bikes with the other boys in the street. Hearing voices from my living room window; ‘Kick it to me, no, to me…’ I went out the front to remind them to play football down the bottom of the road, ‘on the green’ away from the cars.

I stood on the doorstep. Horrified. No football insight. But instead the helpless head of not one, but two peonies being booted and tackled between a bunch of 9-year-olds. Reluctantly I looked at my peony bush only to confirm what I already knew. Two headless stems with nothing to show.

I made some quick moves towards the gang of boys (including my own) now standing still in their tracks, faces down, hands in pockets. Mindful of needing to control my anger. I asked who picked them. Of course, no one was going to own up. ‘Ok. So do you realise how long it took for those buds to even get that far? And then one of you come along and pick it off just to kick it around?’ I felt the bubbling inside. ‘How would you like your head to be picked off your shoulders and kicked about? Boys, get inside now! And if any of you dare think about picking anymore, then every football of yours I ever see will mysteriously get punchers.’

The thought of no blossoming – not even the chance for the petals to be blown too early away – made me want to cry. But why? I asked myself. The answer was clear; I was having an emotional response to wasted potential.

Potential is not about what it is, but about what it can become. Happiness comes from using our potential. Untapped potential leads to wasted opportunities, regrets and even depression.

Continuing our journey out of lockdown, among the uncertainty of further C-19 variants emerging, is not too dissimilar to deciding to bloom and blossom – knowing that at any time a storm can blow your efforts away. But still, you press on.

The famous poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling reminds us in the first line. ‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs….’ It’s a poem to inspire and remind us to stay calm in adversity, and worth a read if you’ve not read it before, or in a while.

And so I wrap the end of this story up by drawing your attention to this photograph of.., well, you’ve guessed it – a Peony. This is one that I discovered last year under some stone slabs in my new garden. Unfortunately too late to help it flower then. But the resilient plant made it back to full health this year and went on to blossom and bloom brilliantly.

Are you burying your potential, I wonder? Or letting your surrounding circumstances keep you from achieving it?

Could a beginners Pilates course kick start your new journey and help you to get back in touch with your body? Remember – nothing grows in a comfort zone. Now is the time to move into action… Where will you bloom and blossom next?

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