An optimist is the human personification of spring.
-Susan J. Bissonette
February is over. Winter has tired herself out with surprising snowstorms, plummeting temperatures, and of course plenty of rain. Now she is looking longingly at the door, starting to say her goodbyes, and will soon be leaving the party for another year. Spring is tapping oh-so-gently on the door, ready to make her entrance.
Perhaps more than in other years, we are all looking forward to spring. After the forced isolation in our homes due to the pandemic, soon we will be able to spend more time outside – seeing friends, moving our bodies, and just breathing air that smells like real nature rather than the scented candles that are supposed to smell like nature.
As winter gives way to spring. I have three simple, but perhaps profound suggestions to help you reflect and grow as we welcome the warmer weather.
Be Intentional about Looking for Signs of Spring
First, whenever you are outside, try to find at least one sign of the changing season.
Search for those small slivers of green unfolding in the still-cold mornings, seek out those tightly closed, tiny buds that will soon bloom into flowers. Notice how the sun feels on your skin as the weather warms. Listen to the call of birds. Breathe deep the scent of newly fallen rain (the gentle spring rain which smells distinctly different from the torrential downpours of winter) Note how the days are getting longer. In some parts of the country, you might have to really search for these small signs, but they are there.
When you notice a sign of spring, enjoy it for what it is. New buds are beautiful. The warmth of the sun is pure delight after a long winter. We have busy lives. It’s easy to miss these things. But take just a moment to really feel the end of winter and the start of spring. Savor the coming season.
For me, when I see a small sign of spring, it gives me a little jolt of joy and then a deeper feeling of gratitude. Gratitude for making it through another winter. Gratitude our amazing and beautiful planet. Gratitude for another day to live on it.
Consider the Bigger Picture
Second, take a few minutes to consider the bigger picture of new life growing, repeating the pattern of the seasons that has been going on for longer than we can imagine. The world right now is complicated, often cruel, and certainly in turmoil, but nature is still beautiful, persistent, and consistent. No matter what your spiritual beliefs, the coming of spring, each and every year, is nothing short of miraculous.
On a personal level, if you happen to be in a place of making yourself miserable by ruminating over problems that seem like they matter, considering the wider world and the changing seasons can give you a new perspective. Perhaps your problem is not such a big deal after all. Maybe you can just let it go in favor of taking a walk and enjoying the brisk, nearly-spring day.
If you are in a place where your problems are indeed big and do indeed matter, taking time to consider how nature continues to soldier on, no matter what else is going on in the world, can be an inspiration for you to do the same.
Reflect on New Beginnings
Third, think of the new beginnings in your own life. What is starting to bud? What needs to be nurtured? What can you do to help it to grow strong?
Budding ideas and new projects can be fragile things. It doesn’t take much – a word of criticism from someone who thinks they are being helpful can ground a new idea into powder. Self-doubt is equally destructive and twice as sneaky.
But nature never doubts herself. Buds do not worry if they will be pretty enough once they have bloomed into flowers. Seeds sprout in cold, hard ground, never doubting that they will find their way to the sun.
As the winter recedes, take your cue from the coming spring and nurture all that is good and growing in yourself.
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