Sunflowers and My Worldview

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

May 16, 2024

If you’ve been reading my blog in the last few years, live anywhere near me, or have met me in person, chances are you know my love of sunflowers. Every year I plant dozens of those beautiful plants. I love the amount of space they demand and the colonies of bees they attract. And in about five more weeks, I get to watch this year’s assortment bloom and reach for the sky. Watching them grow from a tiny seedling to a ten-foot sentinel is one of my favorite parts of late Spring and early Summer.

Experiencing the beauty of my sunflowers’ transformation encourages me to contemplate my own transformation and the ways I affect the world around me. As I’ve aged and experienced some of life’s inevitable ups and downs, I’ve realized how simple it is to make my world a better place. I, too, can take up space in meaningful ways and attract those who will assist in my growth and nurture my soul.

A Relational Mind

As Dr. Daniel Siegel wrote in Mindsight, “The mind is both embodied and relational.” This means that despite the work I’ve done within myself and the transformations I’ve embodied, I will still be affected by the people I allow in my life. I agree with Dr. Siegel because I’ve been able to witness the effects of having certain people come in and out of my life. My mindset is defined not only by who I want to be but also by who I surround myself with. And to extend that thought, I absolutely influence those around me.

As Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote in Ulysses,

“I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.”

I agree. I’m a part of all whom I’ve met. And like the sunflowers in my garden, as I dig my roots deep into the Earth, I can provide shade to those who may need my protection. I can provide nourishment and hope for those I attract. And I can continue to reach for the sun, knowing I will become wiser with every bit of growth I undertake.