Shannon Jackson Arnold: Flowering

In the brief time of the Summer Wisdom Series, I’ve encountered someone whose work is so aligned with our Blooming theme that I couldn’t resist adding an extra day, just for her.

Though we’ve just met, and by ‘met’ I mean, just encountered one another through Facebook and Twitter, Shannon Jackson Arnold has been one of the most supportive and active Wisdom Series supporters we’ve ever had. She’s shared links, left comments, engaged with other community members.

I thought that her bright spirit and her beautiful work would add a lovely grace note to the end of the series. For me, Shannon’s is the wisdom of engagement – and, as you will see, of blooming itself.

I am pleased and proud to introduce her to you today:


– – – – –


I am more Queen Anne’s Lace, than windowsill violet.

I want to grow wild into the meadow, sowing my seeds with abandon where I please.

Let me burst open in an abundance of blooms. Become a saucer of receptivity and spaciousness, soaking in the sun, holding up the ladybug, providing refuge for the spider.

I do best in open spaces, thriving in the heat of summer and swaying with a languid flow to the kiss of the wind.

Some call me a weed, but part of my journey is claiming my beauty and place in the kingdom of treasured flowers.

Of course, I am not only Queen Anne’s Lace. I can be a pretty peony or a dangerous black iris, too.

But the wisdom of the Queen’s Anne Lace is a place of rootedness I can come to again and again to reconnect with my core self and a deeper wisdom.

I can ask for her guidance. Listen to her messages. Glimpse into mysteries of God and life.

I ask often, and I’m never left wanting.

Queen Anne’s Lace knows about life, trust, love, interdependence and the underlying rhythms of life.

She reminds me about the unique matrix of humanity and Divinity that I am and that everyone is.

Queen Anne’s Lace is a totem flower for me. It’s a flower I connect with as a guidepost and a pathway into not only her wisdom but also my own.

Your flower might be different.

After all, there are more than 250,000 species of flowers and more than six billion humans to love them.

I love what I love. And what you love will be uniquely your own.

(Even if you love Queen Anne’s Lace, too, we will resonate differently to her.)

I want to know the precious flower you are through what you love and the wisdom you hold.

So tell me, please, what kind of flower are you? What blooms do you love?

What does your favorite flower say about you? About your gifts and soul essence?

What does your favorite flower know about life, love and the pursuit of happiness? About what you desire to bring forth in your life?

What seeds of wisdom does it offer you?

Tell me, what flowering wisdom do you have to share?

Shannon Jackson Arnold is the author and photographer of Flowering Wisdom: Inspiring Thoughts on Life, Love & Blooming Big. A devoted student of the flower, she has taken more than 3,500 flower photographs and writes about seeing life through the lens of flowers. In addition to writing and other creative endeavors, she teaches, speaks and offers private consults to inspire others to bloom fully in their lives. You can learn more and sign up to download a free .pdf of her book at

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Showing 22 comments
  • Erin Margolin

    I love Gerbera daisies. And tulips. I am on vacation in Cape Cod right now and the hydrangeas are amazing. That’s probably too many. But overall, I’d say Gerbera daisies are so “me.” Not sure what that means. Beautiful post!

    • Shannon

      Oh Erin,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share (especially while on vacation!!)

      Both tulips and Gerberas are such beautiful flowers…for me, the colors of these two are so vibrant, lovely, so feminine, and alive.

      Imagining the beautiful hydrangeas on the Cape cod…{sigh}

      And I say love all the flowers you are called to….can one really love *too* many flowers? {I think not!}

      big love,

  • Sally

    Shannon ~ how I love how you see the world around you. Honestly, could we be Soul Mates? I think it’s possible.

    Thank you for the gift of wonderful reflection you’ve just provided me this morning. Last Summer, I was introduced to the concept of an Animal Totem – and I was so excited when my own Totem appeared to me when I gave it the quiet space to present itself. (It’s the Giraffe.)

    And today, you’ve introduced me to the concept of a Flower Totem – which initially made me a bit nervous because I’m not all that versed in the wonder of flowers. But then, I realized THAT didn’t matter – all I had to do was express a willingness to meet my Flower Totem ~ and it immediately came to mind.

    For me, it is the Forget-Me-Not. Fortunately, I came up with all my own reasons for connecting to this flower before actually Googling its symbolism – True Love? That would have felt very wrong for me and I’d have spent the rest of the day trying to ‘think up’* another Totem.

    I love the way Forget-Me-Nots appear in the most unexpected places. I love how they somehow germinate, grow and bloom whether or not they are tended to and/or cared for. I love how they can grow as easily through cracks in the sidewalk, up through rocks and also in more anticipated places like soil.

    I love the Forget-Me-Nots very name. It’s not ‘Wow, Look At Me’ or anything limelight-oriented … but more, ‘I serve while I am here and hope to have left something meaningful and memorable in my wake’.

    I love their soft, yet rich, colour – their delicate bloom yet hardy countenance and their call to the Reflective: Remember, Honour, Forget-Me-Not.

    Thank you so much for the Wisdom you have shared and for wonderful start to my day that you have gifted me.

    *Mint best represents my thoughts. Given the conditions to do so – they can take root and then proliferate to such a degree that they take-over just about everything, choking the very life out of beauty and potential. I now grow Mint in its own Pot ~ and thoroughly enjoy its contributions to my life. I’m trying to do the same with my thoughts.

    • Shannon

      Sally, what a beautiful flower you are…I read this sentence:
      ‘I serve while I am here and hope to have left something meaningful and memorable in my wake’.
      and boy, that sure sounds like you…what a nurturing and encouraging soul you are. I find forget-me-nots incredibly beautiful in their delicateness…kind of a like how a star is more radiant because it pulls its light into a small point…as you are brilliantly radiant, too.

      I also LOVE the insight on mint. Definitely need to get my weedy thought potted and contained lest they take over the whole garden. 🙂

      thank you for sharing your flowering insights in such a beautiful way.

      with love,

      • Sally

        I am carrying your words in my heart ALL WEEKEND Shannon. Thank you!!

        I did not know that about stars – and I love the analogy. I will be using that to help lift the spirits of others along my journey too.

        And the Mint!! I find IT best served when infused with boiling water and left to steep. Not unlike my thoughts ~ they’re best left to steep infused with reality all around me at the time and then enjoyed for exactly what they are – drama and emotion now diluted.

        So grateful for this conversation. And, for you.

    • Kim

      Soul mates? I think so. I couldn’t wait to read your answer, Sally. Forget-me-nots fit you perfectly, appearing in the most unexpected places, and definitely not forgettable. I can definitely see you as a giraffe too – perusing the scenery and seeing things others don’t.

      • Shannon

        Soul sisters, all around here. {what a lovely gathering ground Amy has called in for all of us}

        Sending waves of love & gratitude & flowers & connection & goodness to all of you!

      • Sally

        Thank you!!

        La La La ~ can you HEAR that? It’s my Heart SINGING!!!

        I am adding your take on the Giraffe to my own. I like the fact that it somehow manages to find a Graceful Elegance with its head in the clouds – and its feet on the ground.

        Too often I’m fully engaged in Either place and have not quite yet figured out how to elegantly flow without a feeling of Straddling Two Worlds with Grace.

        I do like the Observer aspect A LOT. And, the fact that Giraffes don’t speak.

  • Shannon

    p.s. how does one get their photo with comments? So lovely to see everyone’s faces…but I’m not sure how to do this myself.
    Any tips?

    • Sally

      Hi Shannon. If you go to ~ you can create an account and upload a picture of your choosing that will automatically be used in Comment Sections like this.

      • Shannon

        thanks, Sally (and Amy who was kind enough to email me on this!) I’m all hooked up now…very cool! 🙂

  • Shannon

    Fiona, I appreciate your insights on the cutting off the mess of the stamen of the tiger lily. For me, it opens me to look more at what messy parts of myself need love and what parts it might be time to love into wholeness and healing. Thank you for sharing this with me as I gave me new insights on the lily to sit with.

    Dove, oh, the strength, power and beauty of the rose — and you captured it all so beautifully with your description. I hadn’t fully connected with the “thorn-y” power of the rose until you wrote that…I’m hearing in both your and Fiona’s writing an opening for me to look at my own power and how to stand strong in myself with all part of myself. {thank you for sharing this with me today!}

    And Kathi, I can see the essence of lavender in your words and the beautiful flower you are through your connection to her. From your description, I’m taking in the resilient persistence of lavender as medicine for me today.

    To all of you beautiful, radiant, special flowers, keep sharing your blooming wisdom with the world.

    much love,

  • Kathi Instone

    I have never thought of a totem flower, but I’m intrigued with the idea. I love lavender. It’s delicate and flexible in the slightest breeze, bees gently buzz through the blossoms collecting, whatever. But lavender is strong and hardy too. It returns year after year expanding its territory, no matter what harshness the winter throws at it. And, all the while it keeps the most intoxicating, calming aroma that it shares with all who pass by. Yes, definitely lavender…

  • Dove

    The rose comes to me in this moment. Soft, sensual, passionate… She’ll take you to heaven if you treat her gently, love and respect her. But she’ll cut you if you aren’t careful with her. I love that contrast, her beauty and her strength.


  • Fiona Leonard

    Hmmm, the first flower that came to my mind was tiger lily. I love them. And then I thought how appropriate that was – the way you trim off the stamen part because it can make a mess/stain. And it occurred to me how appropriate that was – the tendency to cut off the productive part because sometimes it’s messy…

    Maybe I’m just over thinking it…

    Nice food for thought though.

  • Shannon

    Kim, I love your Tulip presence…how gorgeous!! Your comment about their turning toward the light gave me chills… Thank you for taking the time to comment!!

    Amy, I {{love}} your beautiful description of the yin-yang dance within you — both hydragnea and lavender…I hear bit of the violet flame of spiritual wisdom in both your flowers. And I love the Divine synchronicity of the hydragnea sighting..Thank you for providing this beautiful space for all of us radiant flower to bloom more into our own wisdom. {big love and gratitude to you!}

    And Nicola, PEONIES!! ORCHIDS!! yes, yes, yes! I see soft, sensual and mysterious feminine beauty in both of these flowers, too..

    Thank you all for taking the time to share your flowers with me…in them, I feel honored to see each of you a bit more fully through them.

  • Nicola

    A totem flower. What a wonderful idea! I love it too.

    I love peonies! But as they’re only around for a short season for the remainder of the year the orchid is my totem flower. I like it because it’s exotic but also, without flowers, quite plain and unassuming. Surprisingly orchids need minimal care yet have these stunning flowers that I like to gaze at imagining what Georgia O’Keeffe would make of them!

  • Amy

    I love the idea of this – and I’ve been trying to choose between hydrangea, exuberant and wide and multi-stemmed; and lavender – almost the same color, yet expressing it quietly, as if all of that wild big joy were contained, reserved, held within. Such is the balance of my dance: eager and open, bountifully bright one day; intense, blade-like, interior, and precise the next. ( A little Grace note: Just now, a woman walked by my cafe table carrying a vase of beautiful hydrangea. What are the chances of that?)

    • Sally

      I think you are probably Both, And Amy. Both a Hydrangea AND Lavender.

      How I LOVE this post!!

  • Kim

    Such appreciation, recognition and love you show for Queen Annes Lace. I love it!

    I relate to tulips. They bloom after a long, dreary winter, making hearts lift. They are colorful, receptive, and always turning towards the light.

    • Sally

      I think this is a very apt flower for you Kim ~ I definitely see you as a Tulip!

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