More than a few years ago, I gained a very special nickname, The Sunflower Princess. It was written on a note tucked into a bouquet of sunflower blossoms from my then-boyfriend. “To my Sunflower Princess,” the card read.
Upon seeing those words, a complete story downloaded into my mind. I wrote it down immediately, barely able to get the words out fast enough to keep up with the narrative pouring into my head. I knew as I wrote it, the story would become a book, though it took me more than a decade to get it into print.
Once published, The Sunflower Princess: A Healing Fairy Tale opened the door to a world of sunflower lovers I did not know existed. As people read the book, many began sharing their affinity for the beautiful flowers, gifting me with cards, pins, pictures, and more bouquets. As I learned more about sunflowers, they became an even more inspirational symbol to me, especially because of the visible way they turn their golden heads toward the sun.
A few years later, I released another book with Sunflower in the title. Sunflower Wisdom: Find & Follow the Light in Your Life is filled with personal stories which show my ongoing choices and turns to face illumination instead of darkness. I hope it inspires others to do the same.
Sunflowers continued to brighten my mood and remind me to stay focused on the warmth and goodness in the world. Recently I learned Sunflowers are also Ukraine’s national flower, and in folk imagery represent the warmth and power of the sun.
According to the website www.floresdelcorazon.com (or flowers of the heart I believe), "Ukrainians believe that these flowers look towards the sky looking for hope and well-being, while at night they lower their heads to reflect on their lives." With what is going on in Ukraine right now, the country’s love and beliefs in the sunflower are incredibly meaningful.
Today, I have no doubt sunflowers are growing in meaning for the whole world. This morning I watched a widely shared video of a Ukrainian woman trying to give sunflower seeds to Russian troops in her town. While protesting what is happening in her home, during a moment when her very existence is being threatened, the woman is sowing seeds of hope.
It’s as if, in her mind when the soldier falls and the Ukraine prevails, the sunflowers that sprout will be the living, blooming proof that Ukraine is the victor. Or perhaps if the country of Ukraine does not prevail, the sunflowers will be a living, blooming reminder for the
Ukrainian people to continue to look towards the sky for hope and well-being.
For me, sunflowers will always signify the strength and bravery of one woman, of the Ukrainian people, and of others who have spoken out against the conflict, even when doing so may threaten their existence. To me, sunflowers will always be about standing up and sharing warmth and goodness in spite of the darkness.
Video link (don't watch if triggered by profanity, guns, camo, or the conflict in general)