Buttercups & Mindfulness Article


Today is a beautiful day in Ireland. The sun is shining and there are very few clouds in the sky. This is a perfect opportunity to get out into the garden and enjoy what it has to offer.

And yet !!!… even though it is a Saturday and most people I know are on a day off, I still feel compelled to work. It takes me awhile to convince my internal workaholic to rest easy and take some time… So I took my yoga mat and suntan lotion with me up the garden, found a beautiful space and lay down my mat with gratitude. While doing a slow mindful yoga sequence, something caught my eye. I decided to ignore it at first, as I was practicing focusing on my breath and body sensations.

While gently moving my body through a mindful yoga sequence, I moved moment by moment listening to each breath and inhabiting each movement with sensitivity.

When I was finished, I decided to investigate what had been catching my eye. A humble little buttercup was smiling up at me from the grass.

I decided to use the mindfulness practice of Stop, Open, Listen and Trust the Emerging. Slowly the Buttercup began to reveal it’s message, inviting me into awareness.

I was struck by it’s form. It wasn’t what would normally be considered pretty and in the Prime of its life. The petals were curled back at the edges, and beginning to lose their colour. White streaks appeared where vibrant yellow used to be. The centre was beginning to go to seed and the ground was parched and dry around it. This was a Buttercup in the latter half of its life cycle.

I noticed an urge to look for a ‘Better’ specimen and went off searching through the grass for one I would deem beautiful. I came across a clump of buttercups all in their youthful Prime. As I bent over to photograph these beauties, a fly bit me on the lip. Then another fly bit me on the leg. Suddenly I got the insight that I was honouring the wrong Buttercup.

I Began to giggle with insight and awareness and returned back to the initial buttercup, which had invited me into the conversation in the first place. I photographed this buttercup with gratitude.

Her simple invitation into mindful awareness, showed me my reluctance to sit with my own ageing body and the aches and creaks that were showing themselves while doing mindful yoga. It showed me an internal habitual search for eternal youth, and a subtle resistance to ‘be with what is’. (a body which is naturally aging).

The process of Stopping, Opening, Listening and Trusting the Emerging gave me the precious insight I needed to hear at this time, on this day in sunny Ireland.

Thank you dear sweet buttercup… X

Written By: Una Keeley MBSR Mindfulness Instructor & Professional Artist