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The Secret Life of Spring

Mysteriously, seasons change. It’s not that they change but how they change that’s intriguing. To begin with, they change intuitively. They trust when to step forward and when to let go. Unlike people, they don’t doubt their timing. Seasons also change without a fight. Summer knows it needs autumn, and winter makes way for spring. They don’t resist the inevitability of change. They trust that, ready or not, change will bring unknown blessings. Through it all, seasons change with grace.  Rather than hurriedly viewing times of transition as a means to an end, they uphold beauty along the way - a budding rose here, a patch of wildflowers there, golden leaves, and falling snow. Seasons change with acceptance whereas people, with tender hearts, tend to change with resistance. And so it is, with each season a different instructor, they have lessons to teach.

Winter is our first teacher, patient and quiet. She allows space for nothingness, and it’s in the space she provides, the so-called dead of winter, that life percolates under her watch. She teaches us how to listen to ourselves and sit with ambiguity. There are no answers to be found in her course, only questions. Will the trees and flowers bloom? When? What will they look like and call for this season? Winter resists our pleas for certainty. She waits for and nourishes discovery.

Spring appears like a breath of fresh air. She is a kind and hopeful teacher, and it’s no wonder she’s thought of fondly. She’s wrapped in color, and she tosses answers to our questions into the air like rose-colored confetti. When she steps into our lives, the ambiguity of winter fades and we begin to live in color. We feel relieved by her clarity and enthusiasm. In the joyfulness of Spring, we can sometimes overlook her most valuable lesson. More on that momentarily.

Because Summer cannot wait! With warmth and passion, she teaches us about the value of hard work and what it takes to become fully formed. She takes the buds of Spring, warms and washes them, and guides them into fruition. She is the season of self-actualization and new heights. Alongside her effort, she teaches us how to savor. She does not rush to get where she’s going. She shows us how to strive then she helps us celebrate - with a drive in a convertible or a picnic in the park.

Autumn is always around the corner, and she’s always glad to see you. With welcoming eyes she teaches the difficult skills of  appreciation and acceptance. She is guide to the bitter-sweet of life. She shows us how to turn toward endings instead of pushing them aside. She encourages us to look back upon our lives while not losing sight of the present moment. She teaches appreciation for what was and what is. Her breeziness draws us closer to one another and closer to home, teaching us to warm one another’s hearts.  She reminds us that we don’t have to let go alone, we can do so surrounded by love. She reveals to us that letting go can be beautiful. 

The end. 

Except the endings never end. Our lives are filled with endings, from the close of our first breath to the finality of our last.  The seasons of life simply do not stop.  Some of them feel glorious. Others feel uncertain, exhausting, demoralizing, and frightening. Knowing that each season begins with uncertainty can make starting again scary. Knowing the effort required to overcome the challenges and learning curves of change can make starting again feel insurmountable. And knowing that anything meaningful resulting from change will inevitably end can make beginnings painful from the outset. We are fearful of, exhausted, and saddened by change. Sometimes this powerful concoction of emotion results in never trying, staying put, or giving up. 

Living fully requires courage, and courage grows abundantly in the secret life of Spring. 

Far from being frilly or naive, Spring turns out to be a gritty and challenging instructor. First, she reminds us that the beauty we see on the surface pales in comparison to the fortitude buried within.  She is a reminder that no one’s life is without pain, and no one gets anywhere worthwhile unscathed. Second, with vulnerability and imperfection, she shares her story: 

The beginning is always the same. She starts off buried, half alive, under a layer of thick ice. Part of her knows that if she tries to break free, she might not crack the surface. She bloodies her hands anyway. Part of her knows that if she manages to emerge, growth will be an uphill battle. So she prepares to climb.  Part of her knows that if she reaches great heights, the view won’t last forever. She accepts that choosing to grow means breaking her heart. It is this realization more than any other that gives her the strength to break ground.  Somewhere within her, she knows that abiding fear would lead to a more painful, passive demise. In defiance of the inevitability of endings, she decides to lead the way. She determines that if she is going to die, she is first going to live. She breaks free, and every year she returns. She is the instructor with soiled hands and flowers in her hair. Against all odds, she dares us to grow. 

Wishing you a Resilient Spring, 


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