This was my first winter/spring in eight years not spent in Los Angeles, or the land of eternal spring as I like to call it. What I had forgotten is how bleak and dreary winter can be. In Texas, we did have an especially rough winter, with five or six ice days which the city was not prepared for. For all of January and February everything is brown – no leaves on trees, brown grass and even the sky was gray most of the winter.
As spring has started to emerge, even in the form of little weeds/wildflowers I have become giddy inside. Life is returning to the earth and I can feel it in every bone in my body. In the land of eternal spring, I had forgotten how much I LOVE spring. Don’t get me wrong, I and many people in LA appreciate the beautiful surroundings, but there is just something about going through a real winter that makes you appreciate spring so much more.
I guess it’s the whole cycle of life. We don’t appreciate the highs unless we have experienced some lows. Everything in life is full of peaks and valleys. What I wonder is, when we don’t allow ourselves to experience lows fully, like when a relationship fails and you move on to the next guy or girl immediately, do you truly feel the full affects of the next good time or high in life?
I am a feel-it kind of girl. If I’m sad, I allow myself to be sad; if I’m mad I also feel that emotion and try to not suppress it (suppressing anger definitely caused me some serious lows in the past). Luckily, I’m a pretty happy person most of the time and have learned how to see the positive side of even the most bleak situations, in the least that “this too shall pass.”
Just as the blooming trees and flowers come and go in spring so do our feelings of “high” or happiness or love wane as time passes. In Ben Shahar’s book Happier, he describes four happiness modes: the rat-racer, always thinking they’ll be happy if they just accomplish (you name it); the hedonist, thinking happiness is only in the moment so do what feels good now; the nihlist, no matter what they do, they won’t ever be happy; and finally ideal happiness – being happy with wherever you are and whatever you are going through. This may be tough sometimes, especially during the bleak winter but I think we can always find gratitude for something or someone in our lives. And I think that is a good place to start on the road to happiness.
I guess spring (for all those not in So. Cal or some tropical location) is our visual and olfactory reminder that things do get better, we grow, we change. So no matter how bleak your surroundings look at anytime, just remember that spring with all it’s newness, abundance and beauty is on it’s way.
Instead of sharing a yoga posture, breathing or meditation technique, I definitely recommend getting outside – take your yoga or meditation practice for a walk. Take your time thought, stop and smell or admire flowers in bloom. Give thanks and find joy for all the beauty God is surrounding you with.