Thursday, March 26, 2009

The heart of the rose.

There is an empty vase standing on the filing cabinet next to my desk. A couple of weeks back it had a glorious bunch of colourful flowers in it - courtesy of news ed C-for-Serious. She bought them for me after we'd had a long discussion about stress-reducing strategies. I told her about this super cool exercise I'd read about in "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari". It's called The Heart of the Rose, and involves taking a bit of time out to sit in peace and quiet so simply contemplate on a rose. It's supposed to help you train your mind to become focussed and disciplined.
And so I arrived at the office the next day to find a magnificent bouquet on my desk, placed in a blue vase swiped from the office of Ballerina, the graphic artist. I was a bit confused about who might have been giving me flowers, but then C-for-Serious arrived and told me she had bought them and we were going to use them - plucking one flower each a day - to sneak off quietly and spend some time in contemplative meditation. The intentions were good, the enthusiasm was there - but hey, this is Jozi and we work at a daily paper! Stress is our life!! So, alas, the entire bunch died before we contemplated the heart of even the longest lasting dried out blossom before the whole lot got tossed out after it was identified as the source of the manky smell suddenly infiltrating the newsroom. It's that bad, I'm afraid.
"So what is it with flowers? Is it a white thing or what?" my colleague Diva remarked when she arrived this morning and noticed the as-yet unreturned vase on my cabinet.
"I'm not sure. I just know I love getting them. Don't you?" I asked.
"No ways! I don't own a vase and I don't see the point in why someone would actually want a bunch of flowers. Some guy bought me this whole big thing of flowers on Valentine's and I was like 'What the hell am I supposed to do with this?'" Diva stated.
Ah yes - her utter confusion brought back memories of an old colleague, a Swazi princess. She, like Diva, had never been excited by flowers - no matter how elaborate.
Years ago a Frenchman met her at Kippies in Newtown and was smitten. He called her and then sent her a fabulous bouquet. She was not moved.
"I am an African woman. I like fruit and vegetables. What the hell am I supposed to do with flowers?" she told her besotted admirer.
She went on an overseas trip, came home and stepping out into the arrivals hall she was greeted by a Frenchman bearing a tray filled with with incredible vegetables.
"Now that is a fantastic story!" Diva remarked, sounding as impressed as Swazi Princess - who now lives in France with her Frenchman husband and their children.
On my way home from work I popped in for a visit with my best friend. On my recommendation, she has been reading "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari".
As I left she gave me a perfect pink rosebud. Tonight I am most definitely going to contemplate The Heart of the Rose.


  1. Enjoy your flower-contemplating - hope it helps you to destress. Just dont get stressed when it dies!

  2. There are other good reasons to have flowers on your desk. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the story goes, never wrote without yellow daffodils on his... apparently yellow stimulates the brain, and, I guess flowers are always very nice.

  3. I did do a short contemplation - and can honestly see why they say it is an exercise in training the mind. It was tough, but lovely thanks momcat.
    elizabethnoire - I do love flowers, and that is a brilliant motivation. Thanks for stopping by. :)