Life lessons from a dying thistle

It’s one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen. So unexpected, so precise, so amazingly perfect. Yet on the outside it doesn’t look like much, just a bit of white fluff where the flower once was, poking out of a prickly base. And to look inside you have to brave the prickles, and then pinch the white fluff just at the right time. But if you do you are rewarded with something quietly spectacular.

People like to use dandelions as an effective image that has similar seeds that spread with the wind. But I think thistles are a much better life metaphor precisely because they’re hidden and require a bit of investigation to appreciate their beauty.

Because I risk bashing all life out of it and giving you a spiritual lecture I’m not going to spell out all of the great things dying thistles can show you – I’m sure you can do that for yourself! There is one point I do want to make, and forgive me if it reads like a telling off, but sometimes we need a carrot AND a stick!

A thistle is just one flower in a whole world of flowers. It lives. It dies. It’s gone. And while it lives the beautiful moments of its life are displayed and are obvious to others, yet the fullness of its living experience may remain a secret forever.

Thistle Seeds

Don’t live your life like that.
Don’t let your life be a secret to you.
Don’t revel in the beautiful moments but gloss over the fluff.
You are not a check-list of good moments.

Dive into the unattractive bits of your life and seek out the beauty within. It’s there, you just need to look for it.

Explore the bits of you find unpalatable and appreciate the uniqueness of your life experience. No one else will experience the crunchy perfection of life exactly the way you do. That’s why you’re so important. That’s why it’s so important for you to really engage with your experience, and not just let it pass you by.

Don’t live in the mistaken belief that only the flower is of value to the world. Through the fluff the extent of your value knows no bounds.

Be curious. Engage. Explore.
The rewards will be richer than you could ever imagine.

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