Well, we did it. We limped over the vernal equinox and we made it to spring. That being said, I’m clear that even though we’ve jumped our clocks ahead (can we just stop this already, please?), at least here in North America, and crossed the 21st of March off our calendars, many people are still skeptically awaiting any evidence that Spring is on her way, while they continue to shovel snow from their doorstep.
We pass the date on the calendar and we expect CHANGE! We feel relieved (“Winter’s finally over!”) or frustrated (“If it’s spring, then where the heck is the sun?”), even though the weather patterns have no obligation to dance to our not-even-universally-agreed-upon annual schedule.
Isn’t it amazing how much relief or consternation we can experience from a decidedly subjective, human-designed construct?
Aldous Huxley once said that “most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” I’d have to agree, at least if I take an honest look at myself. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to get there that I spend a lot of my life missing out on being here, now. I’m not just talking about spring and I don’t think I’m alone, either.
Our adorable humanity aside, I am more and more struck by the infinite wisdom of Mother Nature as she follows her yearly routine rides around the sun.
I notice that where I have frustration, disappointment or boredom with a season (or a day, or an hour, or a task or a person), it’s because I have an expectation that it go differently than how it is actually happening. I feel frustrated when I can’t change my circumstances or I think they should be different. I make myself a victim to the season, just as surely as if I went out in the rain without a jacket and got upset with the weather because I got wet.
The more that I hold Nature with reverence and not expectation, the more beauty, magic and wisdom I discover.
As unpopular an opinion as it seems to be, I love Winter deeply and I always have. It is a season of deep magic and mystery to me, with all that darkness and anticipation. The older I’ve become, the more I’ve grown to appreciate the quiet, the dark as an invitation to hunker down, get cosy, and empower a season of rest and recovery. Getting intentional about going within has me ready for Spring, even if I do feel a little bit of grief at the passing of Winter.
Here’s the thing: the more I learn to match my energy with whatever Nature is creating outside, the better I feel and the more enjoyable my experience of Life tends to feel to me. I mean, no, this doesn’t solve every problem I encounter, but not fighting the planet, the weather, Time and my own damn self does alleviate a certain degree of my general frustration.
First of all, Nature rests WAY more than I tend to allow myself. We’ve just left Winter, a season of deep rest and recovery, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all go, go, go now. Spring is waking up slowly, one unfurling leaf bud at a time.
Some of Nature is moving slowly, making me wonder if my garden outside has survived the cold of winter, but I remember that I’ve wondered that each winter before, too. And still other parts of Nature are moving more quickly, like it’s excited to greet the sun. My rhubarb thrives in complete neglect (which is a great survival strategy when it comes to plants in my care) and is the most eager to get this party started, like NOW.
I notice that the lengthening days create fresh energy in me, too: I want to be outside more, making use of the evenings as they stretch later, bit by bit.
And still, I notice I want to go slow, getting lots of sleep and taking care of my well-being. I want to ensure my personal conditions are optimal, just like the garden beds I’m tidying and readying for planting. Maybe it’s the wisdom of growing older, but I am no longer interested in burning the candle at both ends to get where I want to be.
If I look to the season to inspire my intentions, choices and actions, I find that it’s no different than looking outside and deciding, based on the weather you see, what to wear for the day. I can see and feel what the conditions of this present season and moment are calling for from me, and I’m reveling in the experience of BEING with Nature and taking her cue, rather than fighting her, which is only fighting myself. I am Nature, too, after all.
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate attire. And we can clothe ourselves unsuitably with our thoughts and beliefs just as surely as we can wear a t-shirt in the rain when we were hoping to stay dry.
What is this season calling for from me? It’s calling for action, certainly, but gently, thoughtfully and slowly. I’m feeling the pull towards action that is aligned, intentional and enjoyable. I want to savour my time, not race through it, as my driven nature often compels me to do.
Most of all, what this season is calling for from me is to examine my attachments, including to my stuff. I’m taking an honest look at my tendency to collect and keep, which is an unhealthy expression of my survival mechanism. I’m relinquishing the relief and safety I have found in accumulating stuff, which was a really helpful trauma response when I was growing up in poverty, dysfunction and uncertainty. It is no longer serving me, and thankfully, no longer necessary, either. One more thing I can let go.
So for me, it’s spring cleaning time. I’m letting go, simplifying, decluttering my space and my soul. I’m going through my closets, bookshelves, emails, garden beds and garage. I’m going to reduce my distractions and let myself fall in love with what I have, rather than seeking out more. I’m going to use things up and stop saving my favourite things for special occasions.
Life is a special occasion, in all her seasons and all of mine, too.
What is Spring calling for from you? What do you feel pulled towards, energetically, as the days begin to get longer and the sun climbs a little higher in the sky?