“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
“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
No matter what the season or the day of the week, there’s more underneath the surface of our daily grinding. We need to trade in the grind for joyful daily living. In the moment, present to all that is being offered and confident that beneath the four feet of snow, Spring is in there coming in due time. In the meantime, we can make snow angels and dive into the pile of fresh snow. That snow shall do its job and awaken the ground with living water. Do your job. Enjoy this day and bring that joy to others.
“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” – Sitting Bull
“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley
“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.” – John Burroughs
Even in a -25 below day, the sun remains casting light, warming the earth, reflecting off the crystals. No matter the weather, no matter the circumstances, light always remains whether we see or feel it in that moment. Knowing that puts our shadowed frigid moments in perspective as they serve their purpose of transformation. Light always remains. That pull, that thread, that knowing is called hope.
We all have our seasons, our winters to testify to this truth. So, if you are in a -25 below pocket of time right now wandering and lost, suffering and empty, light remains holding you and patiently waiting for you to find it again. Always with you, never letting go.
Winter shall pass when it has done its work, preparing you for the transformation of spring. Grit and resilience breaks the frozen ground to bloom anew to discover yet again the depth of light.
“Spring stirs under silent snow.” – Terri Guillemets
Spring comes sooner when you get out and stir some snow, break a new path. Winter lingers with hibernation. So whatever winters you are going through right now, break out of the pattern of hibernation and get out into the middle of it.
In the midst of our difficulties, there are pockets of joy to burrow into and accept if but for a moment to plant seeds of hope. Spring is stirring. Easter always comes.
“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” – Frank A. Clark
“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
In the midst of it all, in the heat of the moment, we see only the height of the mountain, the width of the rift, the depth of the valley. Time and its companion patience eventually bring a fresh perspective, new priorities. We find our perseverance, grit, faith and strength to overcome, to withstand, to rise once again.
Life is often a series of starting again, getting up once more. But it is never starting over or from the very beginning. The journey, places, circumstances and people along the path, bring us to a new beginning, whether we realize it or not. We are moving forward to where we should be, never frozen in place.
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”- Muhammad Ali
If today was less than expected, if you are in the middle of the desert parched and searching for the oasis, it will come in due time. In due time, all starts anew. Spring comes and melts it all into the river of life.
“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
Seeds hibernate to survive winter. Dormant, in waiting, quietly preparing for the ground to warm to break through to take in the light. Time passes, the sun lingers longer and the soothing rains turn the frozen ground soft. Soon the sleeping seeds awaken, unfold and diligently work their way through the crusted ground, revealing the miracle of life reborn yet again.
“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
The seeds achieve their potential, rejoicing in brilliant color and delicate texture. Strong enough to survive winter and fragile enough to show their depth of beauty. Seasons change on cue, the cycle continues, the struggle of transformation fades and the joy of fruition takes its rightful place.
Cycles, seasons and life ensue.
“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” – Gary Zukav
“Too many of us go to our graves with our music still inside.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
As I looked at my house light tonight at dusk, I noticed the image of a butterfly as the light spread its wings. What we choose to see guides our day, our way.
To release our music before we go to our graves, we must keep pushing through the cocoon to go from the caterpillar to the butterfly. Transformation takes time and then suddenly, it enters softly like a whisper.
Keep pushing. You never know when that last ounce of pressure and persistence will be your breakthrough, the tipping point. Release your light, your music, your true self – the butterfly.