“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.
“After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” – 1 Kings 19:12
In the past few weeks, we’ve had unseasonably warm temperatures so all of the November snow has melted. This week, the weather people have been showing off all of their computer weather models and predicting with confidence and certainty that we will have a “brown” Christmas which apparently happens 70 percent of the time. Lots of pining and consternation amidst the hurry and hustle of what is meant to be a season of reflection, anticipation and joy.
When letting the dogs out this morning, I was surprised by a beautiful fresh coat of snow, laying quietly on the ground. And, yet again, God enters softly and says something much different than our chatter. Reminding us for the 499th time (only an estimate, probably higher, should check a computer model to be sure) of who’s really driving. And if we would let go of the wheel that we are gripping oh so tightly, we might enjoy the ride.
“All of nature begins to whisper its secrets to us through its sounds. Sounds that were previously incomprehensible to our soul now become the meaningful language of nature.” – Rudolf Steiner
On this eve of Christmas eve and in every ordinary day, God is present waiting patiently to be found by us. And when we are spinning like a top going nowhere, He whispers with a fresh coat of snow making the world and all in it new again.
He has already claimed us unconditionally. And when we stop putting conditions, rules and judgment on our life, we come alive. So with moments to spare, what God says has the final say. As it should. Merry White Christmas.
“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!” – Thomas Wentworth Higginson
There are things in our life that change us forever. Loss of a father, mother, sister, best friend, divorce, career changes. The depth of loss can bury us. Which is alright if we know that we won’t and shouldn’t remain there. We are meant to be changed, especially through the difficulty. What was has gotten us to now and has prepared us for what’s next.
And after we go through the mourning of life shifts and earthquakes, we gradually and then suddenly awaken to gratitude to what remains and hope in what is to come. We need to go through transitions, and keep moving, to open to transformation and grace.
In the midst of your winter, always remember that the gift of spring always comes. And there are gifts in winter as well. Fight the good fight.
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” – Albert Camus
Mid-April and 17+ inches of snow in Minnesota this past weekend. No doubt, it has been one long winter that continues on. Circumstances, other people, the weather take up too much of our time. We lament and try to change things that we can’t change. In the midst of this effort, we are missing out on our life.
It’s pretty simple, yet we’ve made it hard. We either hibernate or we find the invincible summer inside and burst out into the world, regardless of what’s in our peripheral vision. Our ability to focus our attention and time on what’s important and of meaning has never been more important.
If 17 inches of snow can defeat us, we need to work on our resilience and more importantly our sense of humor needs some exercising. Flex your joy muscles today and bring summer to the winters that surround you, even in July. However, I am not convinced that snow is not possible in July based on this past winter. Bring it on!
Sometimes, you need to get the lawnmower out in the snow.
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy
“I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed… Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” – Henry David Thoreau
A 5 degree swing and April showers turn into 7 more inches of winter. So often our expectations are out of line with reality. And we get stalled where we thought we should be. But where we are now in this very moment is where we are meant to be.
When we let go of our expectations, assumptions and fears, we open up to joy and delight even in the middle of a third Winter and delayed Spring. And what we thought we should have is less than what we receive in due time.
Under that fresh clean swath of brilliant white snow are seeds on their way to sprouts and buds. Remain in today with assurance and confidence that Spring will spring when it’s good and ready, as do we. Patience and time.
“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