When we align ourselves with the primary action of each season, we can harness the energy that permeates the natural world and, thus, facilitate our own transitions. During autumn, as we witness the falling of leaves, we open to the energy of shedding and ask ourselves, “What is it time to let go of?” In winter, as we watch the stillness settle over the land and notice the hibernation of our own soul, we ask, “What arises in my quiet and solitude?” In spring, the literal and metaphoric seeds that lay dormant for several months tentatively poke their heads through the warming earth then burst into full bloom. And in summer, we celebrate the fruits of our labor and enjoy the days of water and sunshine, asking ourselves, “What is it time to celebrate?”
On the threshold of spring, we begin to notice a quiet awakening within. The intentions that we set during the long days of winter, both for ourselves and our children, may have lain dormant these past months, but now we see the first green heads pushing through and realize that the dawn of something new is upon us. Spring is the season of hope and renewal when, encouraged by the increase of light and warmth, we find the energy to take the necessary action that can push the tentative new beginning into full awakening.
Now is the time to ask yourself: “What is longing to be born? If I set intentions on New Year’s, how can I draw upon the energy of renewal and call those intentions into action? What changes and rebirths do I observe in my children? What seeds of new beginnings were resting in the underground caverns of my child’s mind and are now bursting into fruition?”
Spring is green, tender, and alive. It’s the childhood stage of the seasons of transitions where innocence and purity permeate the atmosphere. (For a more detailed and graphic representation of each season, please see my Seasons of Transitions diagram.) As nature wakes from her winter slumber and you observe the first pale green leaves unfolding out of the buds, ask yourself, “What is childlike inside of me that wishes to come out? What is it that is longing to be born? What do I see in my child that is aching for release?”
Sometimes simply noticing the change of seasons is enough to facilitate an inner change. For example, last year I was counseling a mother of two girls. The younger girl enthusiastically threw herself into every new activity and seemed to exhibit little struggle with life. The older, on the other hand, was more cautious and sensitive, and had been struggling the previous summer with mastering the skill of riding a bike. The girl wanted desperately to ride a bike and join her neighborhood friends in their fun, but something was holding her back.
As spring neared and the weather warmed, my client and I discussed saying to her daughter, “Spring is here to help you learn this new skill. Just like the first crocuses that bravely show their heads even when the threat of winter is still near, you can find the courage to try to ride your bike again even when you’re scared. Perhaps you just weren’t ready last summer. I think you’re ready now. What do you think?” The girl said yes, she was ready and yes, she was still scared. The two of them then planned a special hike together in the early days of spring to observe the ways in which the season was birthing herself. They noticed the tiny green buds on the trees and the delicate blades of wild grasses popping up across the hillsides. They hiked for a few miles, then rested on the earth and felt the warm sun on their faces. When they returned home, the girl rode her bike alone for the first time successfully.
The early weeks of spring often bring a quality of restlessness. As hopeful and optimistic as this season is, there’s always an element of discomfort in the world of transitions. Said bluntly, change is hard, so even when the change is positive – like birthing a new part of yourself or watching your child master a new skill – there’s an itchiness of psyche that occurs when the old self or skill level falls away and the new one hasn’t fully emerged. In summer we celebrate with joyous abandon, but spring is still tentative, and there may be days when winter settles her snow over the land and we’re pulled back into the silent, underground world. When we understand these natural cycles of death and renewal, we can make space for them in our inner lives and help our children make sense of the process of change.
If winter was a season of sorrow, allow the light winds of spring to wash away the residue of grief. If winter was a season of sickness, let the freshness of spring restore you to health. If winter was a season of loss, notice the new life and rebirths that surround you. If winter was a season of silence, invite the birds of spring to bring song back into your life. If winter was a season of hopelessness, connect to the perennial signs of hope that rise up in the natural world as if to say, “Today is a new day. Today I can start something new and find that place of beginning within. Today I am alive and for that I am grateful. Today I see love manifest in the miracles of nature and I whisper a quiet but certain ‘Yes.’”
Through her websites Conscious Weddings and Conscious Motherhood, her blog Conscious Transitions, and books, Sheryl Paul helps people traverse the tricky terrain of transitions. She’s the author of The Conscious Bride and The Conscious Bride’s Wedding Planner and has appeared several times on The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as on Good Morning America and several other international newspapers, radio, and television.