First, I look at the colors ­– cream fringed with pink; deep scarlet; and then, gold, peach and salmon, like a sunset.

I lean forward to breathe in the fragrance of each one. If I smell only blank air from a flower, I move on to sniff the next one.

The bouquet I decide on – the sunset ones – holds its own loveliness and subtle scent and the promise of more unfolding gorgeousness in the days ahead. Like most items I buy from Costco, the bouquet of roses is extravagant, plentiful.

At home, I pull an old serrated knife from the block and saw a couple of inches off the end of each sturdy stem. The exposed fresh fiber will act as a swift conduit of the water to the buds.

I arrange the roses in a clear vase and decide where to place them. Usually I put them in the middle of the black coffee table, where they can show off their beauty to maximum effect.

Each day, I look at my roses and smile. I lean down to inhale. I change the water. Within a couple of days, the buds open to blossom in unabashed glory and release the full force of their fragrance.

One or two buds remain tight, like a soft fist. I keep hoping they’ll unfurl, but they don’t. The heavy buds start to droop on their stems.

Within a week or so, all the flowers are drooping and dropping petals.

But the buds hold onto their petals.

Eventually, they all reach the same fate – stuffed into the kitchen garbage can.

I think about those buds, holding onto their petals.

All that inner life is important. I’m a huge advocate of cultivating the inner life.

During this protected stage, the buds are generating the energy and resources for their next phase when they will interact with the world in a bigger way.

But every now and then, flowers – like us – get stuck in the bud stage.

And stuck is what it feels like, yes?

I’ve been a bud many times in my life, holding myself tight, not risking, not stretching out, even when there’s a force within dying to burst out.

It takes a lot of energy to hold back. But that feels safe, even though, as evidenced by the trajectory of my bouquet, holding tight to our treasures doesn’t give us an edge in life.

Opening up can feel like showing our soft underbelly, risking exposure. Why on earth would we want to do that? It makes us vulnerable!

Except it doesn’t.

When we explore and start reaching beyond the circle of what feels safe, we’re surprised by where our courage takes us. We start to perk up. Others are drawn to us.

We find some glory in living this life of ours, engaging with the world and sharing our gifts.

Four years ago, feeling bud-like, I risked stretching outside my comfort zone and trained to become a coach. It’s been a journey of budding and blossoming, budding and blossoming.

But there’s one constant in my work as a coach: I get to witness my clients embrace their inner gifts and live their lives in sync with what’s important to them.

With the right coach, you reconnect with your strength. You become more of who you are. You contribute more to this world of ours.

You blossom.

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If you feel ready to explore your potential and would like the support, insight, and accountability of a coach, I’m currently taking new clients. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute strategy session with me – let’s see if we’re a fit: https://melissapage.acuityscheduling.com/




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