The Daffodil Principle- A spring story

by Mary Ann on April 14, 2011

daffodil principle pictures

The Daffodil Principle

It is spring! Oh I love this season with its newness and cleanliness. It is fresh!

In honor of this beautiful time of year I am sharing a spring story that I like from the book The Daffodil Principle by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

This little story reminds me of the 1% principle. We make major changes in our lives and families 1% at a time. We should never give up or quit on any worthwhile endeavor. We should just keep making 1% improvements and then, like the field in this story, miracles will happen.

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come and see the daffodils before they are over.” “I will come next Tuesday,” I promised…

daffodils flowers pictures

Learn to move toward your goals and desires one step at a time

We parked in a small parking lot adjoining a little stone church. On the far side of the church I saw a pine-needle-covered path, with towering evergreens and manzanita bushes and an inconspicuous, lettered sign “Daffodil Garden.”

We each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path…Then we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight, unexpectedly and completely splendid. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes where it had run into every crevice and over every rise. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.

“But who has done this?” I asked Carolyn. I was overflowing with gratitude that she brought me…This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“It’s just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

daffodils field pictures

Planted one bulb at a time

We walked up to the house, my mind buzzing with questions. On the patio we saw a poster. “Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking” was the headline. 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 very little brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”

There it was. The Daffodil Principle.

For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun – one bulb at a time – to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. One bulb at a time.

There was no other way to do it. One bulb at a time. No shortcuts – simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded.

Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and that bloomed for only three weeks of each year.

daffodils field images

We make change 1% at a time. That is what creates a miracle.

Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principle of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time – often just one baby-step at a time – 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. We can change the world.

The thought of it filled my mind. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the implications of what I had seen. “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 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 wise daughter put the car into gear and summed up the message of the day in her direct way. “Start tomorrow,” she said with the same knowing smile she had worn for most of the morning. Oh, profound wisdom!

daffodils blossom pictures

Take baby steps knowing they are taking you somewhere wonderful in your family

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nanette Niebergall May 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I love reading your blog; there is always a good message there. I shared the daffodil story with my boys tonight and connected it to the direction they are each headed. Your mother’s day message was good too. I started 24 years ago with a plan of how I wanted to raise my family. Well really it started on my mission as I watched families and began to realize I wanted to have a plan. I like to think that I did, and am still planting one daffodil at a time, just 1% at a time. My hillside isn’t filled yet but it is becoming a beautiful site. I would have added just one more layer to that story, though. A bulb isn’t a very pretty thing, it sure doesn’t look like the flower it will become. So sometimes even our 1% doesn’t even look like it will be worth it. Yet, even that one lone daffodil, the first color of spring, can gladden the heart. Why did we plant that ugly bulb? Because we had faith it would become a daffodil. We attempt the 1% because we are showing faith that it will be worth it. Thanks Mary for all you continue to teach me. I love you.


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