March 23, 2011

Spring Fever.

Times of Transition Challenge Our Ability To Stay In The Moment.

Spring fever hit around our house over the weekend. I’d been noticing over the last several days that the sun is lightening the sky earlier and earlier. On Saturday morning, though, even the kids and the dog were up much earlier. Something was in the air!

The early morning 40-ish degree temperature felt pretty good to me after the past several weeks of cold, but not as good as it felt to my daughter, Katie. I looked out the window as we were getting ready to head out, and she was tearing around the back yard in Capri pants, a short sleeved t-shirt and flip-flops. Obviously, spring had sprung in her mind.

It took some talking (actually, some arguing, if I’m honest) to get her more appropriately dressed as the temperature took a nosedive later in the day. In hindsight, what I was doing was bringing her back to NOW – early March, late winter – from the springtime she so desires.  No wonder she was fighting me!

Times of transition can be some of the hardest times to stay present and focused on the moment. Our practice on our mats can really help with this. Even if the next pose in the series is our absolute favorite, we stay focused on the posture we’re in and give it our all for at least five breaths. We give our full attention to our practice, even if we’re really excited because we’re meeting a friend for a movie afterward. Even in the midst of our last Sun Salutation (surya namaskar), when regulating our breath is a little taxing, we gently control our exhalation by stretching it out long and slow rather than letting it “whoosh” out so we can get onto the inhalation and gulp more air!

This willingness and ability to stay present that we’re cultivating on our mats will serve us well during times of transition off our mats. Think about how hard it is to give our all at work once we’ve taken a new position or decided to retire. Despite the coming change, our job does still need to get done. Co-workers and clients are counting on us! Consider how difficult it is to stay connected in our community when we know we’re moving away in a few months. But it would really be a shame to say good-bye a minute before we have to. Think about our willingness to help out at school when our child is graduating in the spring. Even though our child is moving on, the school still needs to hold the fundraiser we’ve volunteered to work on. Though anticipated changes like these are exciting and can demand their own share of our attention, we don’t want to waste the days, weeks and months leading up to them. We want to wring the most out of these times in our lives as we do of any others.

March is a great example of such times of transition. It’s still very much winter, with cold temperatures, blustery winds, snow flurries, and sleeping, brown gardens. However, unlike January and February, March often brings us days that carry a hint of things to come. Days when the sun seems brighter. Days when the temperatures are oddly warm. Days when we can smell the earth again as it thaws. Days that can send us hurtling ahead of ourselves toward things to come.

Days like Saturday, in other words. On a day like that, we absolutely relish every second of the teaser of spring. (We all do this in our own ways. My daughter chose to do this by running around like a banshee in short sleeves and flip-flops!) But, when our taste of spring fades back into late winter’s chill, we can relish that, too. After all, there’s a lot to be said for a rousing game of Uno around the dining room table inside our warm house!

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