Time for Renewal…
For many of us, spring is our favorite time of the year. And the arrival of April allows us to welcome a period of re-birth or renewal. While this is the Easter season, you do not have to believe in the resurrection of Jesus to see nature’s own transformation, re-birth, and renewal right before your eyes. Spring is the season we talk about these terms and often they are used interchangeably. (Thesaurus.com defines renewal as re-birth; re-generation; revival; resurrection; recharging; refilling.)
Nothing is static or unchanging. Today, every academic and professional discipline recognizes change, development, growth, and some kind of evolving phenomenon (Richard Rohr). Each of the four seasons has distinct attributes that can teach us something about our own personal growth and development. Spring provides us the opportunity to look closely and see new opportunities for letting go of old habits and patterns and embracing new ways of being. Spring tells us that the dark, cold winter is over. Now, trees are blooming, flowers are showing off their beautiful colors, and birds are singing their joyful songs. The sunshine is brighter, the grass is greener, and we are putting away our heavy winter wardrobe in exchange for lighter garments which give us a wonderful degree of freedom, literally and figuratively.
We approach this season with openness, hopefulness, and optimism. It is a period of re-awakening in nature and in our own lives. At this time we find courage, hope, and strength for our journey that lies ahead.
I experience a healing growth in springtime as I watch nature clearly renewing itself from the barrenness of winter. Each spring, nature continues to create and recreate itself from the inside out.
For me, renewal is also about the re-birth of the soul. Spring can brighten your outlook on life. It’s a good time to challenge yourself by learning something new. If you do not observe the Lenten season, instead of giving something up, try adding something new that makes you happy, contributes to your growth, and enriches your life.
Some of you may remember the old milk commercial, “There’s a new you coming every day.” I believe that’s true. We live, we grow, we make tiny little changes every day, leading someone to say, “At the cellular level, I’m really quite busy!” Those who do not fear change but instead embrace it as a normal part of life, can find this idea reassuring.
Spring allows us to see more clearly that every day is an opportunity to change our life. Every morning starts a new page in our personal story. A Buddha said, “Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” Springtime helps us see and remember this.
The dramatic changes that spring brings allow us to see that the key to successful self-renewal is the willingness to let go of our existing self-image and our current outlook on life, if we desire change. Spring can provide us with the inspiration to create, to renew, to liberate ourselves from old ideas that no longer serve us well. It allows us to experience the gift of letting go, and making way for new life to ‘blossom.’ What we thought was ‘dead’, in the spring, shows new life.
Nature teaches us so much, if we are open to seeing and listening. I like to think about the seasons as metaphors for the ‘seasons’ of our lives. From re-birth/renewal in spring, to a more relaxed playful summer, with vacations to the mountains or the ocean, and backyard cookouts, to the glorious fall colors showing off their brilliance before dropping their leaves as winter approaches.
Winter offers a time of hibernation, of meditation, reflection, and regeneration.
During winter, some of us stand in awe as we look at tall, stately trees stripped barren of their leaves, presenting their nakedness to the frigid elements. Throughout what seems like a period of darkness, these trees are preparing themselves for the green leaves and fruit which will come forth from their branches in the spring.
Out of darkness can come light. I find lines from the song The Rose quite comforting: “…just remember in the winter/ far beneath the bitter snows/ lies the seed that with the sun’s love/ in the spring becomes the rose.”