Winter with its snow and cold temperatures is holding on. In a few weeks we will experience the Spring Equinox. I suspect that the spring will begin to arrive and shortly after the equinox I will begin to experience the buddings of spring. Every year I enjoy the transformation spring brings. For perhaps the first time in my life I’m not living in the anticipation of the future. (Although, I would welcome no more snow days.) I am instead appreciating the opportunity to winter, to reflect inward, to spend some time in self-discovery and healing. I am not yet ready to show the world the fruits of my solitude and inward reflections.
I struggle with wintering because I have a tendency focus outwardly. I see the dysfunction of our world; I see the inequality; I see the costs civilization asks people to pay with their soul; I see the commodification of the sacred. I see these things and I weep. I came to this program because I wanted to learn how to be an instrument of healing. Somehow it never occurred to me, before I got here, the importance of finding my own wholeness.
As I reflect on what the equinox means to me, I am asking myself what do I need to be ready to bloom. I want to be able to take the wisdom of my wintering into the blooming of my spring. I want to be able to see the sickness in the world and still be whole. Holding these seemingly opposing parts makes me think of the quote by Mahatma Gandhi:
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
I believe these words point to truth. I also hold that often we see ourselves through feedback from others. This is what makes the therapeutic relationship so powerful (according to the six classes I’ve taken thus far) and negative feedback is just as powerful. Pop culture’s shift of the quote to “Be the change you want to see in the world” glosses over the complexities of life. In such a way it denies many people’s realities.
If therapy is all about helping others become their whole self, then I want to lead by example. In this way perhaps my discovery of how to hold seemingly contradictory things together will allow others to honour their realities no matter how contradictory. In this way I welcome the Spring Equinox, a day that reminds me that winter and spring do (no matter how briefly) co-exist.