Lessons from late-spring snow
Spring in the north woods finds me desperately looking forward to dry ground and green grass as I barely tolerate a seemingly endless season of mud. The dogs and our footwear treads don’t seem to mind, though, as boundaries between the outdoors and inside flooring disappear.
Spring is like making a change, learning a new pattern: Just when it seems like we’ve made it through and are done with the old, we get dosed with another wallop of More Of The Same.
It can be so disheartening. Yet there is a deep lesson here.
Spring is a detailed diagram of a perfect path.
Let’s say I want to make a change. To release Old Patterns and create New Patterns. For example, maybe I want to level up my sense of intimacy, connection, and relationship with my spouse. Winter was great, and I’m ready for summer now.
I consciously decide to change how I first see my partner. To release Old Patterns of mentally criticizing negative behaviors and to create New Patterns of appreciating positive behaviors. Instead of noticing that he didn’t vacuum the floor while I was gone, I can look deeper and see that he repaired the walkway. As I begin to practice this, it feels like two steps forward/one step backward. Yet I’m uplifted when I think of what I want–even greater relationship with this person. Frozen ground thaws, moisture releases, old solid footing first becomes sloppy and messy. Every day is action and existence toward summer.
My New Patterns are coming easier. I spend way more energy appreciating the positive. I’m feeling deeply connected and partnered. And then, I plumb the depths in profound conversation with a friend in which we richly share our processes. Although we do focus on our elevated outcomes, there is no denying our existing challenges. And I wonder if I have again made the negative front and center, slipped into Old Patterns? The mud has dried up, the residual snow banks have disappeared, the shovels are put away, the grass begins to green up. We are over the hurdle. And then… Unexpected accumulating snow.
It can feel so defeating. But, look again.
I was chastising myself for slipping into an Old Pattern. An unseasonal dumping of snow, more thawing and mud to follow. But the divine message is that it’s all part of the process. Sometimes we have to revisit the Old as part of the way to get to the New. This snow cannot last long.
Two steps forward/one step back is still actually forward. With greater awareness of how to navigate our steps.
As a spiritual practice, Old Patterns will pave the way for New Patterns. Spring’s inevitable outcome is indeed Summer. The process just has to go through this sloppy middle ground. The process is this sloppy middle ground.
Just keep intentionally placing your feet.
What path of change are you experiencing this Spring? Are you living two steps forward/one step back? How about one step forward and two steps back?!? In what ways are you still all going forward?