“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
We often think that we are done with something, it’s over, and then it comes back again. Sometimes finishing takes a bit longer and it’s more of a circular rather than linear path.
We allow outside circumstances and people to limit and control our own outlook, keeping us from seeing the full beautiful, complicated view. Our outlook begins and always remains with what’s inside. We own it. Our view of the world is in our hands not others so stop trying to pass off the responsibility of ownership.
Kids have their Ph.D. in a joyful perspective, and so many other areas as well – multidisciplinary to be sure. They know how to suck the most out the present moment and simply engage in possibility.
It’s the second week of April, the start of Spring. And, yep, one more round of winter. From 50s to snow, ice and cold. When visiting my nephew Liam yesterday, I asked him if he wanted to build a snowman. It took 10 seconds for him to rush the closet in search of his boots. And being the sweet, intuitive guy that he is, he handed me a hat from the hat bin before he put on his own to ensure I was prepared for this adventure as well.
And thus the launching of a special memory and actual fun amidst the “catastrophe” of winter’s return. We can flip our perspective in but a minute and turn our winters into “invincible” summers by doing the opposite of our natural inclination to complain. Dive in and make some fun.
Snow? Go build a snowman. Rain? Go dance in it. Sun? Go soak it in to refill your inner light.
Winter, again? Preparing for the brightest of Spring blooms. Start budding.
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!’”— Robin Williams
“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”— Gertrude S. Wister
It always takes longer than we want, but the snow always melts. Winter releases into spring inviting the flowers to awaken and work their way through the frozen ground. With a slow and steady thaw, the gifts of spring unfold and ensue. Suddenly the birds are singing with glee and nature awakens to a new season inviting us to join the party. Winter bids adieu making way for spring to make its long anticipated entrance.
Many gifts appeared for the girls this week as the sun did it’s work on the thaw revealing a few dozen balls, bones and toys trapped by the grip of last bit of ice. A bouquet of balls and confetti celebration welcoming long days ahead to soak up the sun, chase balls and delight in outside endeavors.
We can even enjoy winter while going through when we trust that spring always awaits our arrival in due time, filled with the promise of transformation and celebration of fruition. Winter builds resilience, spring is the reward. Let’s party.
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” – Genesis 3:19
Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent, the seed planted that over 40 days transforms our winters to springs. If we allow, we are called deep within to reflection, waiting, listening and reconnecting to our deepest self and God within. To search and find lasting value and meaningful joy that the world will never fulfill. A deep joy and contentment that remains and lingers through the roller coaster of life.
Like New Year’s Day, (without the hangover), Ash Wednesday is the first day of a journey of possibility and promise through reflection and repentance. A time in the desert of contemplation of how to become our best selves, to find that person hidden inside our impatient, busy and chaotic daily life of doing more and getting less.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust – from beginning to the end. What am I doing and who am I becoming between the ashes of birth and death? Seems worthy of 40 days of focus and reflection leading to the resurrection of Easter.
“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” – William Alexander
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1
As the snow continues to pile on and winter lingers, beneath the insulation of the snow lies the earth quietly preparing for spring. Preparation, waiting and anticipation are fundamental to the seasons in our life to unfold as they always do in due time.
We grow weary in the waiting and must insulate our minds and hearts from the blustery winds of negativity and fear. We know spring comes yet we get caught in a winter-mindset. A bad day turns into a “bad” life. A snapshot into the photo album. A scene into an entire movie. We turn temporary bumps into insurmountable mountains.
We long for change and then fight it when it arrives. There’s comfort and safety in the familiar to be sure. And yet that yearning inside incessantly whispers to us that we are made of more than we allow ourselves to be.
Insulation keeps the cold out but it also breaths so we don’t suffocate. In order to enjoy each day, no matter the circumstances, we need to be porous, letting the fresh air in and keeping the stale, cold air out. We need a Tigger mindset in an Eeyore world, with a spring in our step and spring in our heart.
Never let anyone’s opinion or narrow view define your life. Each of us is called and expected to define our own life, make our own way, help others along their journey and become our true self in the process. No matter where you are at or how old you are, you can always change your perspective, outlook and path.
“If nothing ever changed, there would be no such things as butterflies.” – Wendy Mass
“Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring.” – Terri Guillemets
We are about to enter a deep freeze in Minnesota. Schools closing in anticipation of -35 degree temps coupled with additional -30 degrees wind chill in the next few days. The weather, circumstances and the world can freeze us in place.
While we should prepare and hibernate when weather gets severe to be safe, we should do the opposite when stuck by our own thoughts, others’ opinions and life’s challenges that rise-up, keeping us frozen in place.
It is precisely then that we should risk moving out of our comfort zone, to crack the ice, thawing to keep our hearts open to the ebb and flow of life. Worry and fear are thieves that steal our joy.
Frozen in place? Look up to the sun and let the thaw begin. And spring soon follows in due time.
“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.” – Oscar Wilde
“Every thought, word and deed is a pebble in a pool. The ripples circle outward. They eventually reach the shore and then return to us. We are the creators of the life we are living. If we do not like our present circumstance, we have only to look within to see the choices we have made that have brought us here. Only through inner change can we hope to transform our external experience. The work always lies within. – Ann Mortifee, In Love with the Mystery
As the seasons change, so must we. Summer awakens as spring lets go into blooming flowers. Fall’s chill is tempered with a tapestry of vibrant leaves floating to the ground. Each season has its purpose, its job. Transition calls for acceptance so we can move fully into what’s next, into transformation.
Fighting change only slows the journey and steals our daily joy. Let go of the consternation that is rooted in fear of change. Grasp it, fully confident that it is leading you exactly where it should, where you need to be.
It’s within you. Go there and become new.
“Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.” – Augustus Hare
The morning sky broken open with rain, not leaving much hope for outdoor activity. And then it ceased but the clouds lingered into the afternoon. While not perfect, the pontoon will only be in the water a few weeks more, so we launched to capture one of the last rides of the season.
The lake was windy, offering the perfect invitation for sail boats to harness the wind. And many accepted the invitation. So we weaved around and watched them dance across the water with speed and grace.
The beauty of freedom with the art of holding the sail just right with the shifting winds. One of the sail boats missed a cue and fell over. Boats stopped to check and waited until they went upright. With just the right pull, the wet sails arose, ready to join the others in the pursuit of the wind again.
Soon the clouds dissipated, and blue sky broke through. What started as a rainy day transformed into a beautiful afternoon.
Our start is not where we finish. And when we join in even in less than perfect circumstances and patiently wait for things to unfold, we discover the joy in the wind and the surprise ending filled with blue.
Blue skies always are behind the clouds, eventually and always.
“The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfilment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall.” – Helen Garner
The girls always find time to enjoy their time. Even on a rainy day. Wrestling with a toy, gazing out the window, laying around belly up. No matter the weather, no matter the conditions, there’s always an opportunity to remain in the moment and grasp delight.
“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” – Langston Hughes
We live in extremes. Too fast that we can’t see what’s right in front of us. And on a rainy day, too slow that we try to fill the quiet so as not to hear our own voice telling us that we are going too fast. Slow and fast. Quiet and noise. But life is not simply an either or. It is a weaving of all of it. Whether sun or rain, we have the choice to see the beauty in all and to enter completely into the moment. Even, perhaps especially, on a rainy day.
“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
“The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.” – Saint Francis de Sales
Joy is a choice and our highest calling. When we can find joy each day, despite our circumstances, we have found the sweet nectar of a good life filled with gratitude. Float lightly in search of nectar and the honey will follow.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spring comes softly with a slow melt. Winter holds a bit longer. The transition lingers, unfolding rather than rushing. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, 6-8 inches of more snow. Life ebbs and flows and then turns upside down in a moment. And the only thing promised to us is this very moment.
So whether in the storm or in the slow melt, find the current and enter into the flow. Hear and feel the music in the melt. Running through the puddle season is coming. Slowly but surely.
“Music comes from an icicle as it melts, to live again as spring water.” – Henry Williamson