On this very auspicious day known as Good Friday I am mindful of a time in our year when we are asked to stop and appreciate that we can choose to come out of the shadows into the light. We take time during the spring holidays of Easter and Passover to think about renewal, resurrection, and rising up. We become mindful of what it means to be liberated and to stand tall in our birthright of freedom from bondage of any kind. And we recommit ourselves to aligning our earthly spirit with The Great Spirit of Creation.
This is my favorite time of year and in my own life I find myself in re-creation mode, coming to my days with a freshness I’ve been missing. And I’m enjoying every moment of “feeling new”.
STRETCH: In this season or renewal take time in your day to notice how Nature displays its commitment to coming out of the darkness into light. Notice the tiny spouts emerging from the depths of Mother Earth; notice the little buds on the trees and the beautiful early green and yellow colors of baby leaves; notice the sweetness of the smell of Spring and the gentle breezes and soft rainfall that encourage grass and crops to grow. Allow yourself to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and feel the reassurance that life is a sacred gift every day that we can choose to savor and celebrate. Give thanks for the opportunity to begin again.
Since the time change here in New Jersey I’ve noticed a drastic increase in my energy level (after the initial shock and loss of sleep the day after, of course). After only one week, I feel the gift of extra light and the infusion of hope and excitement this annual change brings for me. I have worked with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for most of my life. This can show up in different ways for different people. Some folks do better in the darker months and feel awful when the light returns and some, like me, revel in the light. I’m a Leo…the sun is my ruling planet…so yay for all of us sun peeps. We’re back!!!
I mentioned in an earlier post that we have a friend and colleague who had been treated badly and to our great disappointment has lost her job, the result of mean-spirited handling of a conflict that could have been resolved with love and kindness and instead was taken to a very dark place. The dichotomy of light and dark have been noticeable in the last few weeks and I’ve heard stories from many friends who have encountered equally dramatic examples of these extremes in their lives.
Of course we know that without darkness we don’t know light and vice versa. But when we’re in the midst of the dramatic extremes it’s hard to remember that they are equally part of the whole. Which brings me to this week’s stretch:
STRETCH: As the light slowly returns remember that the shadow is equally part of our being. Embrace the shadow as you would an old friend, knowing that within the darkness is the gift of light and within light is the gift of darkness. As our friend Andy Dooley says, “Celebrate the contrast!”
This has been a turbulent week to say the least, with some extreme emotions bouncing all over the place. From the joy and honor of officiating a gorgeous wedding ceremony and meeting with a wonderful family preparing for a wedding we will officiate in the fall; to disappointment and anger upon hearing news from a dear friend about a tremendous disservice that has been perpetrated on her by an organization I have known and served for many years; to sadness at news of yet another death of someone we care about. It’s the gamut and I admit it’s been exhausting. Bob and I were in bed asleep at 10 p.m. last night, wiped out from holding so much energy.
Walking Sophie on this delicious spring-like morning, I couldn’t help but notice that what I sensed weeks ago – burgeoning plants and life taking shape beneath our feet – has begun to show itself. The promise of spring is beginning to emerge in the form of tiny green buds on trees and shrubs, little green sprouts breaking through the ground, and an aroma in the breeze that reflect the freshness that accompanies this time of year. And what does it all mean? Change. Change happens as a natural part of existence, and it effect all living things, including all of us. And the week we had is evidence of just that – change. So often circumstances of change are unwelcome, like the death of a loved one or loss of a job. And our emotions in response to those circumstances are all we can focus on until time passes, grief and loss abate, and we can adjust our lives to that change. Only then, when looking back, can we see that life continues and we have found a way to integrate it and move ahead.
As we approach the day we “spring ahead” I offer the following:
OUR STRETCH: Notice how your life circumstances are changing along with the emerging season. As you encounter evidence of spring…the gentle breeze, little buds, tiny sprouts, more and more light in your day…breath in the energy of change and breathe out any circumstances that need to be released to bring about whatever changes serve you. As you enjoy the unfolding of yet another spring, give thanks for the gift of witnessing the processes of Mother Nature.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of commitment lately. We offer the members of our spiritual community, Common Ground, an annual opportunity to think about their commitment to the group and reflect on whether they want to renew that commitment for another year. While drafting the email to our Common Grounders this week asking them to consider that commitment I found myself reflecting on many of my own commitments. Right now I am committed to a number of pursuits, some of them spiritual, some of them business-related, some personal and family-related. There is a lot on my plate and I am considering all of it seriously so that I can move ahead with authenticity and integrity. Knowing that my energy is precious and sometimes limited, my aim here is to assess how it is being spent and if I’m truly able to maintain it all and bring my best.
I haven’t come to any conclusions yet as I’ve only just begun to look at these commitments with a critical eye. But, I am in the process and feel that with spring approaching and light returning, I want to be ready to make a fresh start with clarity of intention. Right now my commitment is to take time to consider all of my commitments realistically and assess if and how they fit into my life. We “spring ahead” this week and bring more light into our days (Hallelujah!) and I thought this would be a great time to S t r e t c h!!!!
WEEKLY STRETCH: Take some time to consider your commitments. You might want to list them on a piece of paper and categorize them in some way, perhaps those that are firm and those that are optional. Think about those that are optional and reflect on how they serve your life. Check to see if your energy is being spent in ways that enhance your sense of well-being and joy.