Although our lives are radically different from those of our ancestors, virtually every culture, past and present, has acknowledged and celebrated the arrival of spring. It’s no surprise that in most cultures the egg - an obvious symbol of birth – has been used to herald in this season of rebirth and renewal.
While the Vernal Equinox formally announces spring’s arrival, the changes in nature seem to arrive at whim. Ancient trees randomly begin to sprout new leaves while daffodils from old bulbs miraculously pop their heads through the earth.
In the animal kingdom, we humans also perk up when spring arrives. Longer days, warmer weather, and a change in the sun’s rays trigger neurological changes that cause us to feel greater motivation, energy and optimism. As a result, music, literature, theatre and art are replete with spring-driven themes.
So let’s take a page from nature’s playbook: If our garden perennials can sprout anew, why can’t we do the same thing, age and circumstances not withstanding? Although change is never easy, the feelings of confidence and satisfaction we derive from taking positive steps forward in our lives are worth their weight in gold. The possibilities are endless; here are a few ideas to consider as you revel in this season of renewal and growth:
Spring cleaning is an age-old tradition in many cultures. Why not go through your basement, drawers and closets; decide to part with the stuff you haven’t used in the last 10 years and won’t in the next 10. And since your “trash” may be someone else’s treasure, donate to a charity of your choice. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief and maybe help someone else in the process.
Take a personal inventory. Are there unhealthy habits you’d like to break but somehow never do? This season of renewal provides a perfect opportunity to cut back on caffeine, junk food, TV, internet use and misuse, or any other troubling behaviors. Give yourself permission to enlist the support of friends, family or a professional.
Are there relationships or activities that no longer provide you with satisfaction or happiness? Although everything in life has its ups and downs, if certain circumstances and people are consistently bringing you more pain than pleasure, spring is a good time to rethink them. Letting go of these situations can be done gradually and probably doesn’t have to involve confrontation.
Is your life out of balance; maybe all work and no play? This might be the time to plant the seeds of a new hobby or interest. Have you always loved exploring in the city or hiking in the woods? Maybe this is a great time to incorporate these activities into your regular routine.
If you’ve been miserable at work, why not use this time of rebirth to reinvent yourself professionally? It may seem overwhelming but if you break it down into bite-sized chunks it may be a doable and rewarding adventure.
Finally, are you tired of that old look? Why not buy a new jacket, boots or some colorful scarves and notice the lift it gives you? If money is a concern there may be a treasure trove waiting for you at the nearest consignment shop.
Take some time to notice, appreciate and care for what’s already working in your life. Chances are they’re the things you take for granted; maybe your health, job or primary relationship.
Get back in touch with old friends before those relationships wither on the vine. Even a quick email is a step in the right direction; meeting for a drink or cup of coffee is even better.
In short, find the spring in your step, take control of your life, and harvest the fruits of your labors!
Here's to New Beginnings!
by Maud Purcell