Where I live, winter is sticking around like an unwelcome guest. My mood seems to match the weather this year. Walking the dogs yesterday, I dodged ice patches as the sky spit snow at me. Usually at this time of year, I am tracking the signs of spring in my neighborhood. This year, I’m just trying to stay upright and warm.
I regularly turn to children’s stories for inspiration. In Arnold Lobel’s story The Garden, Toad plants his first garden, with help and advice from his friend Frog. When the seeds don’t grow right away, Toad encourages them by shouting: “Now seeds, start growing!” Frog suggests to Toad that he might be scaring the poor seeds. So Toad sets out to comfort the frightened seeds by singing and reading to them. Worn out from supporting the seeds, Toad falls asleep. When he wakes up, the seeds have finally started to grow. (From Frog and Toad Together)
This got me wondering: could spring be afraid to arrive? Maybe spring is late in showing up this year because we haven’t welcomed it.
So how does one welcome spring?
All over the world, people have different ways of welcoming and celebrating spring. (The Weather Channel put together a wonderful photo essay that depicts spring rituals around the world.)
Or maybe the better question is, how do we welcome spring in our own lives?
1. Dump the old. Many people welcome spring with cleaning—getting rid of the dirt that has accumulated over the winter. Why not dump the garbage that has accumulated in our minds this winter? What beliefs, mantras, or stories are you holding onto? Make a list. Look at each one and ask:
*Is it beautiful?
*Does it help me?
If the answer is no to both questions—then you can do one of two things:
*Toss it. (Cross it out, rip it up, just get rid of the dang thing.)
*Rewrite it. What if the opposite were true? Would that be beautiful? Helpful?
Whew—doesn’t that feel good?
2. Envision the new. What can you imagine happening in your life that would be delicious? Not okay. Not good enough. Not simply tolerable. I’m talking amazing, delightful, and life giving! Write down those dreams. Write in the present tense. Visualize it! (I often follow this activity with putting together a visioning board.)
3. Pay attention! How would you know if something new was happening in your life? How have you known in the past? Write down 5-20 signs that something new is blooming in your life. This might include things like: I whistle when I walk, I don’t worry as much, I buy flowers, I wear colors, people smile at me, and so forth. Once you have your list, make sure you take time to look for these signs every day!
Your turn: How do you use writing to let go of the old and welcome the new?