Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Winter to Spring

Every day brings new possibilities. Even when one day stinks, every fresh sunrise provides a new opportunity. The weather is improving and I would like to think my outlook is brightening with it, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I feel melancholy for no discernible reason. And maybe I don't need to put my finger on the why. Part of what I'm learning to do in this season is simply feel emotions which have been forcibly buried for too long.

Part of embracing who I am is accepting that my feelings come and go with a viciousness that terrifies me. I would prefer to have control over how I feel, good or bad, and I tried to manufacture that for most of my life to this point. Now I am working to reconcile who I am with how I feel at any given time, and it can change so quickly that I lose all sense of gravity and balance.

Staying frozen in my feelings was one way I exerted control over myself, but that deep freeze also translated to the good things. I know that the depth of joy I can feel is directly proportionate to the range of sadness I allow myself to experience. I anesthetized myself in many different ways before, and that kept some of the pain at bay, but it also forced me to stay at arm's length from the kind of happiness which bubbles up and provides a lightness in our soul.

I have decided that I want to feel more, but that includes being baffled sometimes by the strength of the emotion. There is an element of slowing down and embracing the present moment, without stressing over the past or rushing headlong into the future, which offers a unique window into how you feel at any given time. I'm feeling my way through this new experience, hands outstretched in front of me, the way you feel in a hallway with no windows when the power goes out. It's dark, and unfamiliar, and I'm afraid, but the stakes are too high to quit.

I have to reacquaint myself with my own feelings, and recognize that they may be overwhelming, but eventually the bad stuff passes, and you are left with the good. I'm waiting for that, and I hope to recognize it in a new way, like I have felt the hurt in a much keener sense because I am not running from it anymore. There are worse things than experiencing your own emotions.

I would love to sit on a beach in silence, with a fruity drink, and nothing but my own thoughts so I can work through this stage. The day-to-day push and pull of my life does not allow for this kind of freedom, but I can be patient and gentle with myself, and allow for this work to be completed in its own time. It's not on my time, and I can't rush it through and then check it off my list. It is internal, and important, and not neat in any measurable sense. It is the dead of winter when you are longing for spring, and just when you can't stand being cold another moment, the robins appear and you know that you have made it through once again.

Literally and metaphorically, this is the time period I am in. Winter to spring. Hibernation and hurt to new growth and stirring beauty. We don't get the wonder of spring without the harsh realities of winter. One hinges on the next, and so the seasons turn, in life and in our lives. One set of feelings trades itself for another. Nothing lasts forever, either good or bad, and the only way I know I can survive is to keep walking. Keep hoping. Get from winter to spring.

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