Articles by Jim Gainan

As published in the Billings Gazette

The power of flowers yields happiness, inspiration and comfort

The power of flowers yields happiness, inspiration and comfort

JIM GAINAN Growing Up | Posted: Sunday, January 24, 2010 12:00 am

Last week I shared a personal reflection with you about our young son and his friend Emily.  It was rewarding for me to hear from adult readers all over the state via email or in person who felt touched by the lesson these two children under the age of four provided.

Equally as alarming to me is how easy it could have been for me to ‘miss’ that moment with Landon if I had been in my normal ‘rush’ mode.  An indelible mark was made in my soul when I saw how much that little guy needed me to hear him.  I know that as he grows, he will feel less comfortable sharing such events with me, making this tender period that much more precious.  

Life has a way of ‘hardening’ off our emotions just like a gardener in the spring with a tender plant.  

Many of us take that process a little too far in an effort to protect ourselves from life’s complications.  It just takes a couple of children to remind us that we all still possess what it takes to resolve issues, but we have to take the time to look within and sometimes, ask for a little help. Oh, and take a quick dose of vitamin ‘F’orgiveness!

Vitamin ‘F’lowers is another way for us to enrich our lives.  According to A New Earth author Eckhart Tolle, “Flowers would come to play an essential part in the evolution of human consciousness. Flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them... not linked in some way to survival.  Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless... Using the word ‘enlightenment’ in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants. “

Studies by Texas A&M, Harvard and Rutgers Universities have revealed the true power of flowers.  Each study revealed that people who give or receive flowers and the underlying sentiment experience happiness, inspiration and less stress.  When reviewing the study it becomes clear that the flowers are the vessel of that sentiment.  One supporting fact in the study was that if a person receives flowers, they immediately experience increased happiness, comfort and less loneliness. 

Further benefits were indicated from the ensuing “thank you” note or telephone call.  The positive effect was reinforced many times because the recipient looked at the flowers hundreds of times each day.  With each glance, they were reminded of the message the flowers brought to them, such as “You are loved”, “You are in my thoughts”, “You are my friend” to name a few.

I notice the power that flowers have with relationships everyday. The scene plays out like this:  A young man who looks like he’s been up all night, circles the cooler in our downtown store.  The hospital wristband reveals the purpose of his shopping trip.  Greeting the mother of his new baby with a bouquet of tulips or roses is one way that he marks the special occasion. His bouquet will be the first of many she will receive that day, but the bouquet from him with his sentiments will make those flowers some of the most important she will ever receive.

Jim Gainan is VP/Shareholder of Gainan’s Flower and Garden Center in Billings.