1: to grow luxuriantly: Thrive
2 a: to achieve: Prosper
b: to be in a state of activity or production
c: to reach a height of development or influence
3: to make bold and sweeping gestures
Flourish (v.): c. 1300, “to blossom, grow” (intransitive), from Old French floriss-, stem florid “to blossom, to flower, bloom; prosper, flourish,” from Latin floorer “to bloom, blossom, flower,” figuratively “to flourish, be prosperous,” from flor “a flower.” Metaphoric sense of “thrive” is mid-14thcentury in English. Transitive meaning “brandish (a weapon), hold in the hand and wave about” is from late 14thcentury.
“For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.”
Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005, Jewish human rights activist and founder of Vienna’s Jewish Documentation Centre; he was a prisoner in five Nazi concentration camps and dedicated his life to the search and prosecution of Nazi criminals and to the promotion of Holocaust memory and education)
“The extremely wealthy have disproportionate influence on policies that impact us all. This corrupts our politics and leads to poorer people being denied the economic opportunity to flourish in life.”
Winnie Byanyima (b. 1959 in Uganda, executive director of Oxfam International and leader of women’s rights, democratic governance and peace building)
“Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, class, caste or any other social markers of difference.”
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013, anti-apartheid South African revolutionary, philanthropist, and first black President from 1994-1999)
“Love and work are to people what water and sunshine are to plants.”
Jonathan Haidt (b. 1963, social psychologist, NYU professor, and author of books like, “The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom”)
“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”
Alan Watts (1915-1973, prolific author and speaker, one of the first to interpret Eastern wisdom for a Western audience)
“Science is an enterprise that can only flourish if it puts the truth ahead of nationality, ethnicity, class and color.”
John C. Polanyi (b. 1928, chemist and educator, received Nobel Prize in 1986 for Chemistry for his contribution to the field of chemical-reaction dynamics)
“For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.” — Simon Wiesenthal
When I fired from my job nearly four years ago, once I arrived home I cried this, “I may have lost my job, but I did not lose my soul!”
For decades, I’ve worked hard and was determined to stand in my values and principles. Losing one’s job can be a big setback, but it’s much more devastating to lose one’s self, voice, and ability to live one’s purpose.
That’s why it’s so refreshing when brave women and men speak their truths.
I recently viewed a video of a young black woman gay congresswoman from Colorado, who spoke boldly about the rights of LGBT community. I am always delighted to witness brave leaders speak up for social justice.
Btw, my word! I just finished watching the Games of Thrones’ second episode of the 8thseason, and that knighted scene was riveting in every way, which spoke so eloquently about bravery.
My apologies, I digressed… A dear friend invited me to her home to see a movie entitled, Can You Ever Forgive Me? starring Melissa McCarthy. It’s based on a true story about Lee Israel, a manipulative and washed-up author, who plagiarized the letters of famous authors for boat loads of money. Israel could no longer write in her own voice, but she was also fearful of being criticized. She built a wall between her and the world.
Living one’s calling not only requires imagination and courage. It requires vulnerability, commitment, and trust, not only in one’s abilities, but in one’s relationships. Like all of us, Israel had to learn to love and to develop herself spiritually. The more loving, open, and curious we are about life and its possibilities, the more we can to tap into our truths and flourish.
Let’s open our arms, sojourners! Let’s listen to our hearts’ desires and then speak and act for the good of our world!