Where Is Spring?!

The cold wind gnawed at my ears and neck as I walked the dog Sunday evening. I slipped the sleeves of my winter coat down over my hands as I walked, realizing I had prematurely removed the fleece-lined gloves from my pockets a few weeks ago in anticipation of spring. I am amazed to see snow flurries whipping past. “It is April 15th in the Heartland,” I said aloud to myself, “Can you believe there is no green on these trees yet? Where is spring?”

As you may know I enjoy making sense of the cycles of my own life as they are paralleled in the natural world. Or more likely perhaps my cycles are inextricably interwoven with the cycles of nature. Either way, I am contemplating this odd season. What does this late spring bring up for me? For us?

What I’m noticing is that I am turned inward. I have been reluctant to be active as these cold days drag on, not too keen about jumping out of my warm bed in the morning. With little motivation to get out and start new outdoor projects or go camping in the woods, I have continued to be in an introspective phase more reminiscent of short dark winter days. I am hesitating, waiting. It is like there is some inner work that needs to be done yet before the budding forth.

Looking inside I easily find the ongoing fear I have been feeling. Not really about spring being late, but definitely about the world around me. Hopelessness is just there under the surface. Despite the powerful activist work that I dedicated to at the Expanding Inward Lilith event last month, a big part of me still wants to bury my head under my pillow and yell until things shift.

The choice is before me. Am I going to shut down or am I willing to cry out for renewal? I remember Johanna Macy talking about apathy in her Work That Reconnects. Apathy, she explains, means an inability to feel suffering. The antidote is to acknowledge what we feel, breaking its stranglehold by naming and experiencing it. Through that process we gain distance from the intensity of the feeling so that we’re not at its mercy any longer. This frees us up to act from our love.

Completing the set of simple sentences she offers serves to bring me right back to the Lilith work I did…
1. “When I see what is happening to the natural world, what breaks my heart is…”
2. “When I see what is happening to human society, what breaks my heart is…”
3. “If I could access all of the power available to me through the web of life, the one thing I would do is…”

In this is a ritual, a spell, a prayer! As I find my answers to the first two questions I feel deeply the pain of loss, the deep well of hopelessness. I can sit with that awhile. Then as I complete the third sentence I feel the sap of active hope rising in me. I know my one thing and I am dedicated to doing it. I trust that the power of the web of life will work with me. I am going to take a deep breath, and let spring rise up within me in the form of action.

I’m wondering how this long slow spring is touching you. And how you would complete these sentences; if you find motivation through your answers.

Johanna Macy in Active Hope:
“Active Hope is not wishful thinking. Active Hope is not waiting to be rescued by the Lone Ranger or by some savior. Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life on whose behalf we can act. We belong to this world. The web of life is calling us forth at this time. We’ve come a long way and are here to play our part. With Active Hope we realize that there are adventures in store, strengths to discover, and comrades to link arms with.”

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