There are few living things as beautiful and as fragile as the rose. As it becomes undone, it becomes more beautiful – with each fallen petal symbolic of happiness and openness to life’s changing seasons.

How do you consider the nature of the rose, which as Rumi says, “celebrates by falling apart”? Here are some thoughts to get started…

The rose as a symbol of impermanence. Every one of us must go through changes, and the rose represents the order of our universe – that nothing stays together forever, and that everything is part of a cycle of life and death. The rose symbolizes beauty in the breakdown – a concept that encourages fearlessness on our paths.

The rose as a symbol of openness. Often in life we cling to illusions of appearance, hesitant to laugh loudly or love fully in fear of becoming undone and “losing our petals,” so to speak. The rose, instead, represents the joy in falling apart – reminding us to live fully and unfold ourselves until we are truly open to life’s experiences.

The rose as a symbol of shared life. We are naïve if we believe our petals only belong to ourselves. Letting our outer layers fall away not only reveals our true character, but spreads beauty and laughter to all others we encounter. Like the candle which lights other candles, our unique beauty is never diminished through sharing.

No one says we have to fall apart completely in this moment, today. But by observing something as simple as the character of a flower, we can start to release our hold on the “petals” of our own character, learning one step at a time to be unafraid of opening up to the universe.