Easter in New England is always questionable as to what season the climate will decide to be. This year, it gray, cloudy, but at least it isn't snowing. The kids Easter-egg hunted in pants, and they've been happily playing inside as it rains off and on.
It is quite a different experience than the ones I had, growing up in California. In California, by Easter time the flowers are in full bloom, and the sun is almost always shining. Easter egg hunts are always done outside, and kids run around in short-sleeved collared shirts and tank tops.
I miss the warmth that Spring generally brings. The cloudy days have felt endless, as one storm and then another passes over us. I long for the days of sitting outside with my cup of coffee, listening to the birds as the sun hits my skin.
Regardless of whether or not the weather is agreeing with the season, the plants are showing signs of life. The daffodils are finally blooming, the trees have buds, and the tulips are even starting to peek out of the ground. The local nature center excitedly posts on social media about frogs waking up from Winter slumbers, and birds returning. Last week they posted that hummingbirds were spotted in New Jersey as they migrated up North, and to, "get your feeders ready!"
It is these simple joys that make the hard Winters of New England worth it. Regardless of how hard or dark Winter was, Spring always comes. I feel like it is an analogy for life. We all go through hard times, but the hard times will end. It may seem like some of us are in a prolonged Winter; our paths will wind and curve, but there is always a time where the journey will stretch straight forward, and the light will come forth.
What can we do when we feel the darkness stretching before us without any sign of Spring in sight? We must look elsewhere for signs of light, even in the smallest crevice. If you think about your life, there is somewhere, something that is giving off hope. Perhaps it is how your dog always greets you at the door when you come home, or the smell of the food you spent time cooking. Maybe it is the simple act of sleeping and allowing your mind time to rest that gives you a brief feeling of hope when you wake up.
I mention on occasion in my readings the simple idea of "pivoting" to adjust our mindset. It generally doesn't take much to see goodness. Once we discover one crevice of hope, it is merely the act of connecting the dots to find the next bit of faith, and then the next, and then the next. Before we know it, we can see where our journey may be evening out a bit- but it does take searching.
I am not a glass-half-full type person. My entire life I have seen the glass half-empty. Each day, it takes a conscious effort on my part to make sure I am looking at life in a more positive manner. It is easy to look at the coldness of Spring or the dreariness of the day and the clouds overhead. It is harder to spot the grass that is growing right under my feet or the new type of woodpecker that has taken up residence in the tree in my backyard. I must consciously not just spot the woodpecker or the blades of grass, but I must acknowledge their presence. Likewise, if you say,
"I am grateful that I have a job and I have my health."
It doesn't do anything.
You must genuinely feel your breath come in and out of your lungs and feel your heart steady beat. You must consciously type words on your keyboard at work, making the decision each day to commit to whatever it is that you do to make a living.
To honor my path, I also need to honor myself. That means I must take care of my body as well. When we feel stuck in darkness, it can be easy to ignore the simple tasks such as washing our face or our hair or putting good food into our bodies to nourish ourselves. The simple act of washing our hair can be very therapeutic. It is the action of scrubbing the dirt and grime and allowing it to rinse away, which is symbolic for dealing with negativity. To get out of the darkness, we must "clean it out" of our lives, letting go of past pain or hurt.
When I am sad, I always forget to wash my hair. I put it back in a ponytail, and I forget about it. Just like in life, washing my hair forces me to deal with my problems head-on. The dirt gets under my fingernails when I scrub, which then causes me to scrub my nails. It's a pain. I know I can't ignore the dirt though- it'll just continue to build up. When I ignore my problems, they too continue to build up. At some point, I need to deal with my issues whether I like it or not.
I wish there were a more straightforward solution to moving past the darkness, but this is the only way. We must cleanse our soul by releasing the pain that is holding us back.
What is holding you back, today? Are you able to see the small slivers of light in your darkness? It is easy to get caught up in our negative thoughts. It is harder to find the goodness when we are used to thinking in terms of a half-empty approach, but it is possible to find it.
Reply below with something that is giving you hope, or respond on the Facebook page under this blog post. Let's help each other find the light in our darkness.