Friday, April 19, 2013

The Daffodil Principle

This is a repeat of a forward by email in 2009 to me. I do not have the sender’s or site's details. But I wish to share with you as it has a great message for all of us
Several times my daughter Carolyn had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.'' I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.
"I will come next Tuesday", I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.
Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Nevertheless, I had given word. Though loath to make the journey, I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house, I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.
"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn. The road is invisible in these clouds and fog. There is nothing in the world, except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"
My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."
"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!"
"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. Sensing my incredulity, she added, “Don’t worry, mother. I'll drive. I'm used to this."
Soon, we were sputtering our way through the grim mist. Only a desolate road in sight and a howling wind for company. I glowered at my otherwise sane and sensible Carolyn, who was so hell-bent on this daft venture.
"Carolyn," I said sternly, "Please turn around."
"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read: "Daffodil Garden". We got out of the car, each taking a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped.
Before me lay the most glorious sight.
It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns: sweeping swathes of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each differently-colored variety was planted in large clusters such that each swirled and flowed like a river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.
"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn.
"Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, petitely sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.
On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the caption in flowing, cursive letters. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."
For me, that moment was a life-altering experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met; who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.
The daffodil garden taught me one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and aspirations one step at a time -- often just one baby-step at a time - and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things, even change the world.
"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago, and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"
My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual, plainspoken way. "Start today," she said.
She was right. It was so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration, instead of a cause for regret, was to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"
Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting...
Until your car is paid off...
Until you get a new home...
Until you organize the garage...
Until you declutter your desk...
Until you lose or gain weight...
Until summer/spring/winter/fall...
There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
Don't be afraid that your life will end. Be afraid that it will never begin!


  1. Not procrastinating on whatever we want to do is an important quality that all of us need to pick up. Doing things on time and doing them efficiently are very crucial. These two qualities offer rich dividends to us, later on.

    Destination Infinity

  2. Each day lived with the best you have to offer it is a life of excellence. And if some of us still hasn't learned that, we can always begin right now learning it.

    Yes, I have read this before too and glad to read it again. Thanks for posting this because we all need to be reminded of it again and again and again.

    Blessings to you and your family.

  3. An apt msg. Sounds great but to put into action requires a lot from us given the circumstances we are in. Wow a post a day! Great!

  4. Beautiful! I will start right away! Today! Thank you KP!

  5. Very interesting! This is a lesson for me too! I often think that my days are over and now I am not meant to do anything new.

    Thanks for the post, Partha sir!

  6. This is a beautiful lesson taught. Point taken will start today, infact now. Thanks.

  7. Beautiful fact, I missed visiting the Daffodil Hill this year :-) couldn't make it on two weekends and when I could make it, it was closed due to rain...

  8. padmaja has left a new comment on the post "The Daffodil Principle":

    What a spectacular message needed for me at this hour..I will keep remembering this story everyday and move ahead!

  9. Daffodils attract not only Wordsworth but the laymen also.The message 'Little drops of water make the mighty ocean' is very evident in the story. Nice post.