Nature is making it abundantly clear that we are in a time of transition. Each of these elements: life, death, and rebirth are at play.
I see life in the trees and flowers budding and springing to life, in the baby ducklings scurrying to keep up with their mother as they somersault haphazardly off the bank, frantic to not be left behind. There is life in the call of the migrating loons on our lake – these visitors that are only here for a short while. The longer days with more sunshine and the skies filled with birds flitting busily about feel very much alive.
As trees and plants come to life, we can also see the ones that did not make it. The death and decayed material on the forest floor that now becomes the base of life for new growth.
Rebirth – the perennials and bulbs that miraculously burst through the ground after so many months of hibernation, resting, doing whatever magical things they do in the soil when the snow and grey days are here. The tiny lilacs, their buds the size of a tiny pearl, slowly becoming more vibrant, more open each day.
And I am reminded of these cycles that live within each one of us all the time. We are always in transition, whether we know it or not. Physically our bodies change every single day – as Wayne Dyer used to remind us, we are not the body we were at 6 months old, even though we are still the same person.
As we learn, grow, and evolve, our thoughts change. We find new ways. We unlearn old ones that are not helpful and maybe even harmful. We replace old, destructive habits with new healthy ones. We slip back. We begin again. Life, death, rebirth.
Bursts of inspiration and energy carry us toward possibility. Fear and doubt stop us in our tracks. Then we begin again, slowly gaining traction. Life, death, rebirth.
Dreams and ideas fall away as new ones come to light. Roles are abandoned or redefined. We step into a new sense of self, perhaps one that feels more aligned with who we are in this chapter of our life.
It seems in every group I participate in, people are talking about feeling “up in the air,” uncertain of the future. I sense a heightened awareness to the truth that we don’t know what lies ahead. We don’t know. Individually and collectively, we have no ability to see, with certainty, how our next move will play out down the line. For some at some times this brings fear and anxiety. We want to know. Our minds love to think they’re in charge and that if we craft just the right plan, then surely, we’ll be ok. We’ll be safe. Now we can go ahead. We forget that plans are destined to be changed.
Others are more comfortable with stepping out into risks, taking a chance, making the next move that feels like the next right or best step. We do what we can to set ourselves up for success. And, as we step into action, maybe we weigh pros and cons. We do the research, play out scenarios, try to prepare for all that could come up. (I certainly do that and have likely wasted a lot of time and energy in the past in this mental activity – somehow it makes me feel better. Gives me a false sense of security). Sometimes we simply take a leap of faith, trusting that if we don’t learn to fly, the net will appear.
On my last retreat I spoke about the sense that my heart just keeps breaking open. A friend asked what that looks like. The best answer I could give is that I’m filling with compassion to the extent that I can no longer tolerate things that are not Love. That I feel both a sense of urgency and also a call to slow down and savor. To pause and notice the teeny tiny buds, to listen to the birds, to not miss life’s unfolding. To really be present with a friend. To reach out and put everything else aside so that I can just listen and hear what’s going on in her heart. To stop telling my son what to do, but to get curious, ask, and give him space to open his heart to me. To share our thoughts, our feelings with a sense that what we’re up to is somehow very, very sacred.
And, also, urgency… I feel a pull to show up more and more authentically, to speak up, to speak out, to be part of the revolutionary work I am called to. To notice that there are more causes that need attention than I can even imagine, and if I try to take them all on, I will be completely burnt out and ineffective in everything I do. So, slowing down, asking within and getting clear on what causes I am here to serve. Howard Thurman’s words live in my heart:
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
The energy of these words pulses through my heart and veins. I can literally feel it calling me to life. Letting go of ideas I’ve had about who I was or what I should be doing – allowing them to die away so that I can be reborn into this new day. Aligning more and more with what Parker Palmer calls my “soul’s imperative…” That call which I cannot deny.
Can you feel this within yourself? This letting go or dying off of old things, old ways, as you step into new life with fresh energy, new possibility, new beginnings to be born anew as this next version of you?
When I witness people release a career that’s been bogging them down for decades and allow themselves to feel the excitement of a fresh possibility, as they allow their creative muse to take them to a dream that’s been hidden or a light that beckons, I can feel them coming to life! There is a tingling in the air when someone listens to the call of their heart or soul. When someone says “Yes!” to a dream they have no idea how to fulfill. When they simply take that first small step. Life in the making!