May is in the air. Whenever I see May on my calendar, I remember two things:
Lily of the Valley – Maiglöcken or Maybells and Mothers Day.
Lily of the Valley symbolizes Return to Happiness. It is one of a few flowers that grow in the dark. It can teach us how to follow her lead, from the dark into the light.
I found inspiration and guidance on how to return to happiness, again and again, following these little flowers lead and in the story “The Three Questions of the Emperor.”
First, my Lily of the Valley – Mother’s Day story.
I grew up in Germany. Saturday before Mother’s Day, our dad took us on our bikes to the woods down by the River Rhine to pick Maiglöckchen for mom. It was like a treasure hunt because the little white bells were hiding in the dark under their leaves. Picking them and framing them with their leaves in a bouquet for mom gave us so much joy. “Who’d win the prize for the biggest bouquet?” On Sunday, the four of us handed mom the flowers. Her face lit up as she had never seen anything so beautiful! She always put them together into her favorite crystal vase on the dining room table.
Whatever trouble we were in the days before, Lily of the Valley did her magic – a return to happiness lit up the room!
And here’s the story of the three questions as told by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoi.
The Three Questions of the Emperor
A long time ago there was an emperor 👑 who was looking for the purpose of life. The religions and philosophies of his time did not meet his requirements. He needed the wisdom to understand and guide his country and himself better. People were unhappy and often on edge with each other.
So he tried to find his philosophy in life’s experiences. At some point he realized that he only needed answers to three questions:
- When is the most important time?
- Who is the most important person?
- Which is the most important thing to do?
At long last, which btw takes up most of his life, the king set out to meet a hermit and he found the answers.
Before you read on pause a moment to hop on a
🌴Tiny Island – 1 min per question
Switch your posture from slouching – I see you😆 – to upright with your feet on the ground. Relax your body including your eyes.
Smile… you’re taking care of yourself!
Read the first question again. Close your eyes and look inside👓. Take one deep breath… What’s your answer?
Don’t give up because if you have no answer, or sitting still gives you the wiggles. You do have one minute!
Repeat with questions two and three before reading on.
Here are the answers:
First Question – When is the most important time?
We know the answer, but all too often we forget it. It is, of course, “now” because now is the only time we have.
If you need to say I love you or forgive me to your partner or anyone else, don’t find excuses why now is not the right time. Tomorrow or in five minutes can be too late. Seize the magic✨ of the moment.
Second Question – Who is the most important person?
This one is very profound. When I read it first, I came up with a list of names of people dear to me. Starting with my daughter Sarina to my two sisters. Oops! 😉 Let’s rewrite that…starting with my daughter Sarina, my husband💙, (that’s more like it) my two sisters, and my friends. Especially the ones who need help right now.
But the question asked was meant for one person and not a village. I couldn’t make up my mind, and I learned:
“The most important person is who you are with, the person next to you!”
What do you think?
Do you know the feeling that your partner is not listening? He or she is in the same room with you, and you feel what you’re saying is not significant enough? You can role change here and be the one not listening instead. Exhale, nod your head yes, smile, and read on.
👉 Tip – Together aspire to listen 100% to the person you are with. This person is the most important one at this moment. Imagine how our world changes. And yes, more happiness will be in the air!
👉 Wisdom – Who do you spend the most time with? Breathe… yes, it’s you. You’re important and the first person you are aware of when you wake up! “Do you ever say “good morning” to yourself? And “I’m happy you’re here… have a beautiful day!”
I honor myself like this every day and it works!
Third Question – Which is the most important thing to do?
The answer is: “To care.” To care for the person you are with 🎶 yourself included 🎶! That’s of course why we are here on this planet, our purpose. It’s our “why!” And if we can embrace our why, hardship will not disappear, but we’ll find meaning in it.
Do you agree?
When I read this story a few years ago, I felt a strong heartbeat. As a lifelong caretaker for my daughter, I had all the answers to these questions, but where was I in this picture? And my journey to create the 🌴Tiny Islands to take care of myself began.
I reflect on the three questions often. And always find the promise of Lily of the Valley to show up and lighten up my life!
Let me know in the comments if you took the time to reflect and answer the questions. I’d love to hear about your experience!
Sending lots of light✨
and big 💗, Manuela
P.S. In my soon-to-be-published book 🌴 365 Tiny Islands, I share rituals for self-care. Tiny and big moments that you can include in your day to activate your body’s natural healing process. To care for your body, mind, and soul is not optional. It’s crucial to your health, happiness, and healing.