There was a man who once walked a very lonely path. He shunned other people and nearly all human contact.
This man was happiest when he was at peace with himself. This meant, ironically, that he was almost never happy. Happiness was to him an elusive ghost. Something that flitted across his vision like an anguished wail. He realised very early on that happiness would forever be something that eluded him. True, blissful happiness was not something he knew, nor that he expected to ever know. His life was best when he was away from the noise and smells and sounds of civilisation. The man was not evil. Nor was he conceited. He was not spiteful and he was not malicious. What he was...was very sad and he could not bear the thought of being too close to other people. They would, he believed, hurt him and betray him. They would leave him, use him and maybe even take from him. Other people caused pain and misery to this man.
So he left civilisation.
He found a desert and found a shack and a small oasis of water near the shack. He set up home there and for once he was at peace with his life. The freezing cold at night and the scorching heat of day were things he could bear...because he knew they were going to happen and he could plan ahead, every single day, for their arrival and departure. As one finished, another began. And so was the cycle.
He lived alone and he ate what he found near to his home and his life became for once a peaceful and serene place. He was as happy as a man without happiness ever could be.
Then, one day he saw flowers and he thought they were beautiful. They were a gorgeous red colour, bright and vivid. He thought they were the colour of life itself. They grew in the shade near his shack and they were so very vivid. He wanted them to grow more so he watered them and tried different ways to make them strong, to survive such a harsh landscape. They did not thrive on his attentions. The water made them grow but the other things the man tried, like mixing vegetation and minerals and his own food to give to them...it did not work. The flowers died one by one and the man was truly sad. These flowers were the closest he'd ever come to true happiness. Seeing them every day had made the numbness in his bitter heart soften and become open. He was sad and so, with just one beautiful red flower left he stopped trying so hard to make it stronger. Instead the man gave it just water. He sat and looked at it in the evenings as the boiling sun sank over the vast horizon. He saw it when he woke up in the mornings and it was something that made his whole day seem brighter. He gave the beautiful flower nothing more than it needed and it then flourished. From a small flower, the last one left, it thrived and grew and its petals bloomed. Vivid streaks of purple and green criss crossed the surface of the flower. It's stem was a beautiful, strong green. More flowers grew from that one and the man continued to give it just water and his unconditional love for the joy it brought to his life each day. Eventually the flowers grew all around the shack. The shimmering sun did not harm them, they were strong and they took root in the desert and spread out. In a few months they were surrounding the shack in every direction.
Now the man woke every day to the joy that his flowers brought to him. He did not try to change them or make them different. He loved them for what they were and for what they were, he was truly grateful. For the first time in years he smiled as he saw the beauty that his simple actions had brought to his life.
He realised that it is possible to do anything with acceptance and an open heart.