I was in Arizona over the weekend to see family that I hadn’t been able to see for almost a year. It was so wonderful to be with loved ones and take a break from “normal” life. I went for a hike while I was there and had a moment of curiosity.
As I passed a cactus, full of needles and waiting to inflict injury on any who dare get close enough, I noticed a gorgeous flower bursting in color. I thought to myself, isn’t this just like some of the relationships in our lives, they seem so prickly, yet in moments, can be so beautiful.
I allowed my mind to wander and think about the cactus family members and people in my life. How sometimes, I have looked at them as a barren desert landscape with nothing but spikes and injury to offer. I thought about how I showed up in that environment, certain of the inability to offer me anything but hurt, desolation and non fertile ground.
I wondered then, did I ever see the rare and totally unexpected burst of flora in that desert landscape. Did I notice the flower emerging from the spikes, or was I too caught up in my own self inflicted despair to even see it.
I can recall a time when someone particularly prickly in my life showed me a side of themselves I had never seen. One I had longed for, yearned for even. I recall where I was, how I felt and even the thoughts streaming through my head.
Did I accept that moment/time as the gift it was, or did I question its beauty, certain there was a spike poking through the petals. I can say with honesty, I looked for the spike within. I wasn’t able to offer myself the opportunity to appreciate the moment, feel the beauty and trust that if the spike poked through, I could handle the sting.
How could I have accepted the cactus in my life without wishing or needing them to be anything else? How could I have not wished the cactus to be a daisy – easy, uncomplicated, requiring little and offering so much?
Do you have someone in your life that is “your cactus”? Do you appreciate the rare desert bloom or steel yourself for the prickliness? Do you make their inability to be anything other than who they choose to be mean something about you? Do you let them inflict injury or do you just let their prickles mean nothing about you?
This metaphor was a powerful one for me. I was able to reflect and accept how I showed up within the relationship I mentioned and why I struggled so much. The desert landscape can look barren, feel endless, or we can allow it just to be what it is. We can make the cactus in our lives hurtful and spiny, or make their spikes mean nothing at all about us. This choice is where your power is within the landscape.
Do you have a cactus your life? If this resonated with you, comment below with a simple “I can let the cactus be a cactus”.