Living the Lilac Principle


Ahhhh... lilacs. My favorite flower. I'll bet some of you thought my favorite flower was the rose. Nope. Lilacs are my fave, hands down. But because they only bloom once a year, roses are a great second-best flower that blooms more often.

You know the old phrase, "Stop and smell the roses"? I think stopping to smell the lilacs is even more important since their luscious blooms only happen for a short time each year. I have to remember to jam my nose into their blooms (checking for bees first, of course) and drink up all their sweet fragrance often before it's gone.

As I walk by the lilac hedge that grows along one of the main pathways from the garden to the garage and the front of the house if the lilacs are in bloom I slow down... pause... drink in the lilac's fragrance and beauty... then try to let that fragrance and beauty soak into my core so I can hold it there for the whole year.

I'm learning at the ripe old age of 45, I need to adopt that same approach with other things in my life besides the lilacs.

I've decided to call it the Lilac Principle.


My personality tendency is to find the fastest, most accurate, and most efficient way to accomplish anything (and I mean anything). But whether I like it or not my body has been forcing me to slow down. In the last few months I've discovered that I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. The two are often companion autoimmune issues particularly in women whose bodies have been hammered with the stress of advanced endometriosis. For me, the pain of the fibromyalgia is manageable with prescription medication (thank goodness) but the chronic fatigue apparently isn't. Chronic fatigue has to be managed with nutrition and lifestyle changes.


For years I've operated like a racehorse. When I'm feeling good I pile on as many physical projects as I can and go-go-go until I reach the finish line. Then, like a racehorse that's been run hard, I'd collapse in exhaustion and say to myself, "It's a good thing I got all that done before I felt bad again."

I can't do that anymore.

Chronic fatigue can be treated by light exercise and reducing stress. More than one source has stated that it is important to not overdo it on days when one is feeling good or the rebound crash will make things worse.

So instead of allowing myself to be like a racehorse (like I naturally want to be), I have to learn to be more like a plow horse that plods along at a slow and steady pace getting a job done but doing it much slower than a racehorse would like.

That's hard.

But I'm learning it is possible if I apply the Lilac Principle. Slow down... pause... drink in the moment... let the peace of the moment soak in to my core... and repeat.

Does anyone else have a way that you deal with chronic fatigue?
I'd really appreciate your insights

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  1. Oh, these are sooo beautiful! I think lilacs are my favorite flower too, followed closely by peonies and ranunculus.

    I don't really have any advice to offer for your chronic fatigue symptoms, except to say that I would focus heavily on your diet. I have a huge interest in diet and how it affects health and I truly believe that a lot of illnesses can be cured based on what a person eats...just my thoughts :)

  2. Cindy,

    So sorry you are having this health challenge right now. Hope you feel better very soon.

    The "Lilac Principle"...Lovely idea!

  3. Hello Cindy,
    The Lilacs are beautiful:)
    I too understand only too well the difficulties of living with a chronic illness, I have ME/CFS, have had this for over 15 years.
    I also do too much and then suffer for days and weeks afterwards.
    Running a business is a real challenge but I am so fortunate to work from home.
    There is a good website here for lots of info.
    Life becomes even more of a challenge as we age.
    I have a very restricted diet because of many food allergies and my only help is herbal medicine.
    If you wish to chat more I am happy to share with you.
    Wendy x

  4. This plough horse worked steadily for 6 weeks, with a week off when my back took over. The Apple Creek has been cut back. An hour or two most days, little by little - and it is done. Now, he has fresh landscaping ideas!

  5. My girlfriend has both ailments, as well and I remember many times hearing how she overdid it the day before and now she's paying for it in pain & suffering. Slow and steady wins the race. Be the tortoise, not the hare.

    I LOVE lilacs and I'm delighted that my mom has several bushes in her yard. I can't wait for them to bloom so I can inhale their heady scent. Peonies are another favourite of mine that don't bloom for long. She has some of those too! Heaven!

  6. I discovered peonies as a favorite flower only a few years ago. They don't grow well here outside. I have to get them as cut flowers to enjoy them. Lilacs have been a favorite since I was a little kid.


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