THE HOPE OF SPRING
Today as I write, the many faces of spring are making themselves known. Spring has that reputation of constant change. Sun with beautiful daffodils in the back yard one minute, then snow so fine that the camera cannot pick it up. More sunshine and white fluffy clouds against the blue background, and then an hour later, the large dark clouds roll in again leaving only cold, strong wind and darkness. The next morning, snow cover all around, and the daffodils are matted down. Sometimes our lives are just like this weather.
Parker Palmer is a well-known, prolific, author and creator of the Courage & Renewal retreats that have changed the lives of teachers, lawyers, police officers, CEO and leaders of corporations, and many “ordinary people.” Aren’t we all just ordinary people living our lives in the ways that we are inspired to create? Palmer, with the help of so many others, has created something that is called the Courage Way. Author Shelly L. Francis has worked with Parker Palmer at the Center for Courage & Renewal, and in her resent book called The Courage Way, she describes the ‘how’ of these retreats and the very respectful ways of sharing in a group that leads to “Leading and Living with Integrity.” It is a process of cultivating trust in ourselves and in each other. I have been attending Courage & Renewal retreats and mentoring in this process for years. In these retreats, the seasons of nature are used to reflect the seasons of our lives. Parker Palmer has written an essay on each season and I am drawing from this material as I write.
“Most of us have a metaphor, conscious or not, that names our experience of life. Animated by the imagination, one of the most vital powers we posses, our metaphors are more than mirrors of reality – they often become reality, transmitting themselves from language into the living of our lives.”
Terry and I in our blogs have talked about the idea – we believe it is fact – that our thoughts create our reality. Our thoughts can become what we experience. Isn’t that what this quote is saying with different words… Take a look at your thoughts. Are they encouraging you, or dragging you down?
The beginning of spring in the mid-west is slow and can be discouraging. Often it is full of mud and muck. Yet in the hardened soil that is matted down by the excess water, the smallest tender shoots insist on their own way. They push through even rock-solid soil. They climb through the darkness and into the light.
Though the beginnings of spring come slowly, once Spring gets going the growth is abundant. The blue bells, the crocuses, the daffodils and the tulips usher in the hope that we are craving. Their mere appearance is always the harbinger of hope.
As with our boots – our spirits sometimes get stuck in the mud. This spring we all have been experiencing the effects of the virus around us, and it is easy to get discouraged, to feel ‘stuck in the mud.’ It is a very hard time for those that are losing their loved ones and for those that cannot be with their family member as they struggle for life. Many are over worked and tired. It is hard to find hope until the bigger picture can be seen, until the light can shine through, and we begin to see and feel the green shoots of new life. It is a time to trust in the selfcare you are giving. Within, your true self is inspired and wise. Life is trustworthy, as are the repeating patterns of the season. Trust and belief in the goodness of life can take you on the path to hope.