For this coming month, I thought I would continue with the theme of change.
Here in Vermont, March is a month of unsettled weather. One minute we are having snowstorms, cold temperatures, and the next, springlike weather. The sun is warmer, the days are longer and there’s a sense that Spring is beginning to challenge Winter.
The cycle of the seasons is a reminder of the movement of life. Winter is generally time of going deep, of reflection, and of waiting. Spring brings with it, vision, and hope. The vision of new life, of growth, and the hope that this will be sustained.
We too have cycles. We are acted upon by the weather of our lives. This means there are times when we feel settled, comfortable, at ease. And then there are other times, when we sense that we are being called to change direction, to do something differently, to let go of old patterns and behaviors. And with those moments, if we choose to, we try out something that feels a little brave. When we make these choices, a step at a time, there is the possibility of new growth and a different perspective.
Experimenting with doing something differently, moving into some new experience, a new behavior, takes energy, intention, patience, and the willingness to know that it is likely that missteps will be made.
There is no shame in making mistakes. What is toxic are the feelings and thoughts that can be associated with these moments, of feeling less than. This can take over the mind, creating critical thoughts and destructive emotions moving in an endless loop. Sometimes those missteps will be interpreted as failures by you and by those around you.
Buddhist teachings describe these moments as …
Pleasure and Pain
Gain and loss
Praise and blame
Fame and disrepute.
Come and go like the wind.
to be happy, rest like a giant tree
in the midst of them all.
When we feel buffeted by these storms, our meditation practice supports us by inviting us to find a place to rest – to be quiet – to be still. To spend some time noticing sensations in the body, the movement of breathing, a way to stabilize the intention to be present. And when we feel ready, we recognize and experience the movement of the mind and the heart, acknowledging critical thoughts, and challenging emotions, with understanding, kindness, steadiness, and patience. It’s like wrapping a warm blanket around ourselves.
We find solace in stillness. We find strength in steadiness. We access kindness and find hope and resilience in an awareness that understands the movement of letting go, and that nothing stays the same.