My good friend Susan had a beloved aunt and uncle she credits with teaching her about joy and unconditional love. They ran a summer resort, and she spent her childhood summers there working, playing, and loving.
Each spring while hiking, she always pines to find a lady’s slipper orchid in memory of her aunt. But, alas, they are rare and hard to find.
One day while waiting for my daughter at an appointment, I drove aimlessly looking for a Starbucks and instead magically end up at a beautiful little nursery. The energy was great. A slight breeze; warm sun; beautiful, welcoming plants; and free coffee. I strolled with my warm beverage, feeling gratitude that I had received a gift from the universe.
The peonies were in bloom, and I lingered by the ones that had the most fragrant scent, knowing they are more evolved. I read years ago in a book by Lynn Andrews that the stronger the scent, the more the plant wants to communicate. I love that insight and now always feel kind of bad for the new hybrids that have lost their scent.
On a table right next to me, I saw them—lady’s slippers! $70 a pot! Yes, I guess they are rare and worthy of a big ticket. I snapped several artsy, Instagram-worthy photos. When I got in the car, I sent them to Susan and told her I found her a lady’s slipper! Then I added the warm feeling and thought that came over me, Tell her they are from her Aunt Olga.
The following year, around the same time, Susan asked if I wanted to go north about an hour to a trail she hiked in the past. I had a feeling I knew what was up and on further discussion it came out. “I know right where the lady’s slipper is!”
We never made it to that park. However, on a subsequent hike, while lamenting about our lack of lady’s slipper sightings, we came to a life altering realization. Could it be that “lady’s slippers are rare” is just a belief system? Why of course! What are we thinking? Apparently, that is the problem.
The next morning, I sat in bed researching lady’s slippers on my phone with an adventurous spirit. Simultaneously I received a text from Susan, “Hike?”
My response, “Maybe we’ll find a lady’s slipper!”
Her reply, “Exactly what I’m thinking!”
At the entrance to the park, our anticipation and excitement was high. Her aunt was all around us. We chose a new trail. After a small incline and a turn to the right, there it was: a beautiful pink lady’s slipper. I cut off Susan mid-sentence and in awe point to the treasure. Then we see them all, one right after another until we counted more than a dozen lady’s slippers surrounding us.
They seemed to be saying, “What took you so long?” I had to sit on the nearest rock I am so overcome. Susan experienced the same emotions, and we both wept with joy, amazed. I find during a spiritual awakening there is a lot of weeping.
Now many might ask what the big deal is, but we realize the greater magnitude of the moment. A simple limiting belief system kept Susan from experiencing a moment of joy—limiting because she believes she has to travel an hour north to experience it. A belief system prevented us from experiencing the magic that is all around us all the time.
We wondered: If we hadn’t changed our beliefs, would we ever have gone down the new trail? Would we have walked by the lady’s slippers?
Several days later Susan recounted her story to a friend. The friend’s response, “Oh, they sound like the wildflowers I have in my backyard.” Picture after picture of multiple lady’s slippers on her phone. I guess her friend has never heard of the rarity of the plant, let alone its name.
So where do we come up with these belief systems? Obviously, some species of lady’s slippers are listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern. Who gets to decide that? In Massachusetts, a 1935 law fines you $5 for picking one. (Cheaper than $70. I am NOT suggesting you pick them.)
What I am suggesting is you don’t have to buy (OMG, a pun!) into this belief system. And don’t think the lady’s slipper doesn’t have anything to do with this. Did you know you can get dermatitis by picking them? Maybe the lady’s slipper doesn’t want you to pick her and that’s how this whole thing got started. I bet the lady’s slipper believes she is worthy of a $70 price tag.
Later, I visited a friend’s woodland garden and commented about how beautiful lady’s slippers would be spread amongst her setting. Oh no, didn’t I know? Those are rare and endangered. I see.
And I do, on so many different levels.