Since I am currently a stay-at-home mom, I have been assigned the auspicious task of looking after the altar flowers permanently (as opposed to being rostered). This turns out to be quite a big task considering the large amount of flowers we usually get on the altar. Let me explain what it entails.
FIrst of all, when fresh flowers arrive from the market, I would need to arrange and offer them on the altar and in Mother’s room. I love this part of the job because I get to be creative and have fun with the flower arrangements. Then there’s the maintenance part which involves a lot of carrying the vases back and forth for water changing, taking out the old flower heads, disposing of the stems, and rearranging the flowers to make them look presentable. This can easily take up a whole lot of my free time (i.e. the time when my baby is asleep). As tedious as it may sound, I feel quite privileged to do the flowers, because when we offer flowers to the Goddess, our mooladhara (by the fragrance) and swadisthana (by the beauty) are being cleared out. Plus it feels like a Laxmi kind of thing to do.
We often offer roses to Mother because they are Her favourites. But the thing with roses is that they are covered with thorns. De-thorning roses could be quite tricky if you don’t have the right equipment, as in our case. I like to take out the thorns one by one with my own hands as I find that rather meditative, and very symbolic at the same time. I picture the thorns as my own faults and weaknesses, which I am removing one by one diligently before I can present myself in front of God. Sometimes if I am not careful or thorough enough, I would get poked by the hidden thorns, and I’d know that I need to work a little harder and more attentively. Similarly, the only way we can get rid of our problems is through our persistence in meditation and clearing. It is a gradual process and requires a lot of patience, but the end result is so beautiful and wonderful.