Spring – the time of teeming possibilities – does not happen all at once – it slowly reveals its mantle of leaf, flower, colour, fertility, song and passion. So it is for us – our awakening to our true nature doesn’t happen all at once ….. we become. It can take a long time. Sometimes we can get stuck in the dark and cold of the winter of our discontent and, sadly, not emerge into the warmth and aliveness of Spring.
Spring beckons us with its emergence, growth, possibilities, beauty, freshness and, particularly, beginnings and newness. In his final book, Benedictus, the poet and mystic, John O Donohue, writes insightfully on beginnings:
“Sometimes the greatest challenge is to actually begin; there is something deep in us that conspires to remain within safe boundaries, to stay the same.”
How accurate John is when he speaks of staying in our comfort zone and not daring to step out of that protective box. But what a tragedy ‘to stay the same’, to not emerge like the Spring blossom in all its newness, freshness and beauty. Seneca, the ancient sage, puts it equally eloquently:
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
How is that what is in our nature – daredevilness, natural curiosity, love of learning, eagerness to know, adventuresomeness – have become buried under an avalanche of fear, doubt and uncertainty. What a loss to ourselves, others and the world when the creative and intelligent vibrancy of our lives becomes dormant – goes into hibernation – but does not awaken in Springtime. Each one of us needs to examine our story and discover what we put away of our true nature, all of which patiently awaits the magic touch of the courage to dare to unlock those endless possibilities. Belief, encouragement, support, compassion, celebration are some of the qualities that warm the hard earth of hidden hurts, fears and doubts. There is an old Irish saying ‘a good beginning is half the work’ but there is a hidden truth that needs resolution before ‘a good beginning’ can be made and that is that ‘the hardest work is to begin.’ The Socratic call to ‘know yourself’ is as urgent today as it was thousands of years ago. We put too much emphasis on the external world and little on knowing our true selves.
The other aspect of Spring that thrills me is its newness, which reminds me of the uniqueness of the individual. Martin Buber, the wonderful German philosopher writes:
“Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique. It is the duty of every person… to know and consider… that there has never been anyone like him in the world, for if there had been someone like him, there would have been no need for him to be in the world. Every single person is a new thing in this world and is called upon to fulfil his particularity in this world. Every person’s foremost task is the actualization of his unique, unprecedented and never-recurring potentialities, and not the repetition of something that another, be it even the greatest, has already achieved”.
Let the presence of Spring be the catalyst to saying ‘yes’ to the unique being that is each one of us and let the fertility of each of our never-recurring potentialities shine through for the benefit of all. I’m going to finish with yet another quote from another favourite author of mine – John Welwood in his book Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships:
“When life belongs to you and you belong to life, you are set free from hunger and fear. You experience the essential dignity and nobility or your existence, which does not depend on anyone else’s approval or validation. In this deep sense of union with love, you realise you are not wounded, have never been wounded, and cannot be wounded.”
What we are is hidden.
Dr. Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist, author, national and international speaker. His book Whose Life Are You Living is relevant to today’s article.