There is an initiation going on. I smell the damp earth as the first signs of spring are pushing up through the ground and trees are releasing their imprisoned buds to a new slant of light. The house appears brighter inside and so I decide: It’s time for spring cleaning. I see the dust and smudges more clearly now, the faded pillows and the worn out sagging leather couch – flaws I didn’t notice during the winter. A little dissatisfaction creeps into the happy picture. Everything good has something bad in it and vice versa. However, what I choose to give my attention to will color my overall perception. I decide to engage in a cleaning frenzy: vacuuming above and below, polishing, discarding and rearranging what I choose to keep. As I spring into action to de-clutter my space, I clear out my mind, to see my goals in a different light and I announce my intentions as a way to bring them into an objective reality.
Spring supercharges us with new energy and hope. It is time to activate that sunny disposition with thoughts of reinvention. Whatever you have been wishing for, this is the season to power it up. Don’t forget to check out your roots, your traditions and beliefs. Update the rituals which no longer serve you and honor those which still hold meaning for you.
Venture out on a limb
Metamorphosis is a traditional symbol of spring. Normally, we don’t consider an egg, caterpillar, or pupa to be beautiful. It’s usually the dazzling butterfly which lures our attention. On a butterfly farm in Costa Rica I experienced the magic of metamorphosis close-up and personal, where I realized that each stage of life has its own beauty. I saw pupae that looked like golden earrings and miniature Faberge Eggs. In fact, so did the entire community where the butterfly farm was situated. Murals on walls and shops painted by noteworthy artists honored the theme of mystery and beauty that wishes to fly free, yet trapped in a technological human world which is removed from nature. We must give up our need to control and exert force in our relationships (we can’t anyway) and consider surrendering to our animal nature, letting ourselves be overtaken by the real power of transformation.
For Pre-Columbian culture butterflies symbolized color and light. They were responsible for the renovation of life. When we contemplate butterflies, we see that we have the ability to interact with nature, remember its myths and embrace our changing identity instead of fearing the unknown.
When we think of butterflies, the phrase, butterflies are free comes to mind. However, we also have butterflies in the stomach – stress. We are both victimizers and victims of our own negative thoughts. When we are upset, those around us become upset. We must release those butterflies because they should not stay trapped within causing our gut reactions to become confused and disturbed. Similarly, we need to let go of negative behavior patterns which inflame our health and rob us of vitality. Letting go is hard because we are basically taught to possess. This is known as consumerism. No one teaches us how to let go. We must learn from nature.
At the butterfly farm I observed a caterpillar and butterfly on the same branch. It seemed like the past and future were looking at one another: What was and what will be. This magical moment inspired me to take stock of my heritage, while I get ready to give birth to myself again and again. It takes great energy to shed the cocoon and emerge pulsating with new life. For a butterfly this is a one-minute window of opportunity; otherwise, the glue within the cocoon will stick to its wings and the butterfly will remain stuck, unable to spread its wings and fly towards the light. What are we waiting for?
Let’s not get stuck looking into a window of the past. We can recall the old stories and lessons learned while we shed what no longer serves us emerging into a truer, natural self which does not suppress its colors. If other people remark, “What has gotten into you?” you are on the right track.
Let a butterfly remind you to:
•Push out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself and fly
•Accept change, even aging, as a natural process
•Release what no longer works for you to find fresh enjoyable nectar
•Fly towards the light and away from toxicity - this includes predators and energy vampires who rob you of time and space
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life, a stress-management specialist, the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City, produces a wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com