An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
Yesterday, in my CT Watchdog post, I pondered how spring is a time of transition and we can often experience stress in our transitions in life and throughout our day. Today I’d like to explore the metaphorical opportunities of spring.
We wait a long time for spring in Northern, Vermont. There is still snow on the mountains and skiing and snowboarding to be had. The lowlands are flooding with the snow melt and signs of spring are just starting to emerge.
Spring moves from lifelessness to life and we move from lifelessness to life in each cycle of breathing.
Spring is an especially volatile time in Vermont. It can snow, rain, and then sun within a few moments of each other. The wind can howl and does. It is cold at night and the warmth is shy. In Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness I likened this volatility to our moods that likewise can be changing in reaction to events both external and internal.
If we know change is going to occur we are in a better place to accept it. If we expect things to stay constant we are vulnerable to frustration, disappointment, and resistance.
Spring is also a metaphor for forgiveness. Whatever happened in the last season, life begins anew with no carryover resentment from the past. Spring reminds us, as Pema Chodron says, to start where we are.
Spring also teaches us to lean into the future with a sense of optimism. We can imagine the warmth and the freedom that will come from moving through the world scantily clad. (And it would also serve us to remember how we long for warmth at winter’s end and not to complain when it is 90 degrees and humid).
Spring shows us the cycle of living and dying on a bigger scale do. Everything comes into being and goes out of being — changing its form. Ruki is now ashes. Spring invites us not to become attached to things, even the most precious things in our life.
How can we be not be attached to something that is precious? The invitation is to love things wholeheartedly with the awareness that they will not be with us forever. And, indeed, we, ourselves, will not be here forever. The invitation is to not be afraid to grieve when that grief becomes necessary. Grief is, at times, the admission price to the present moment.
The renewal of spring is the healing from grief, from the inexorable impermanence of things.
Spring also demonstrates the tenacity of life and encourages us to persist in whatever we are doing.
So welcome spring and your multifaceted metaphors for mindful living!