May 7, 2018

When Spring is a Way of Being, not a Season.

“Lately I’ve been feeling low
A remedy is what I’m seeking
I take a taste of what’s below
Come away to something better
What I want is what I’ve not got
And what I need
Is all around me
Reaching searching never stop
And I’ll say…”

~ Dave Matthews


Here in the Northeast, the seasons are changing and I feel the pull toward the future more than it seems the land does.

The calendar says spring and yet I still see snow. What I want to be happening does not line up with my current circumstances and I am getting a bit grumpy. I am impatiently wanting things to be farther along than they are. I am impatiently wanting myself to be farther along than I am.

My make-believe spring involves gentle weather, light, openness, and fresh air. In this scene, I am effortlessly doing cartwheels and handstands on the lawn, conquering summits, smelling mud, and eating fresh greens. My summer clothes fit perfectly, the house is always clean, the berries are abundant, there are no bugs, and I am calm, cool, and collected.

Also, the kids don’t fight.

How do we roll along when the elements are against us? What are some ways we can be spring year-round?

Maybe you are like me—craving warmth, but have had it with sweaters and soup. I’m finding other ways to warm up; like a vigorous hot yoga class, catching a minute or more in a sun patch, adding cinnamon to my coffee, and cayenne to my smoothies. I’m cranking up the tunes to rock my spring cleaning or have a dance party in the living room. When I get my body moving, I am warming up from the inside out.

If it’s been a long, dark winter or we’re just feeling bleak inside, a good sit by a window may do the soul good.

Even the slightest hint of sun gets us New Englanders outside. I know I always feel enlivened in the fresh air, even if it’s brisk. The running and biking trails may not be ready for us, but I love a walk down the long dirt road with my old yellow dog. When I stop to appreciate the sun setting over my favorite mountain, I become more aware of this special time of year when we can look at things from a distance.

Cartwheels and handstands might have come easily in our youth, but these days they take practice, just like anything else. And while not all of us are gymnasts, we can apply discipline and practice to any skill we want to learn or re-learn. I started running again recently and was reminded that whatever we want to do, we can start by practicing where we are in this moment, again and again.

Even if it isn’t hiking season, we can summit in our lives every day.

Setting goals and reaching them gives me the satisfaction of a good climb. By taking a class and learning something, I see new sights and gain perspective. This allows me to think out of the box, at work, at home, in relationships, and everything becomes an adventure.

Feeling lean can mean more than bikini season. I use this transition time to get lighter by letting go of what no longer serves. Maybe it’s donating clothes out of use, or household items someone could benefit from. Maybe it’s saying goodbye to relationships, ideas, or habits that hold us back. When we create space from our stories, possessions, or our friend list, there is more room for new growth.

“The way of cowardice is to embed ourselves in a cocoon, in which we perpetuate our habitual patterns. When we are constantly recreating our basic patterns of behavior and thought, we never have to leap into fresh air or onto fresh ground.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa

When we shift perspective and create warmth, sunny views, and mountains of ideas—we may be inspired to sweep the cobwebs out of the corners and clean out our metaphoric closets to get ready for whatever the weather brings.

How are you showing signs of spring in your own life?


Author: Leah Gartner
Image: Allef Vinicius/Unsplash
Editor: Kenni Linden
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman

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