Stillness on an Early Spring Morning
It is less than a week old and this is already a challenging spring.
We have grown accustomed to thinking of spring as filled with new life and vitality. An early spring morning is like a gift which we open outdoors. Our days become warmer and lighter and we grow eager to spend time in nature.
Many of us remember each early spring morning as an opportunity to get out and explore. The snow was melting and the skies were clearing. Some of us headed to faraway locations on a Spring Break. We were ready to get outside, get active, have some fun, and make some noise.
This spring is not going to be like the springs we have experience in the past. We are encouraged, or required, to stay at home. An extra layer of stillness encases our mornings this spring.
Each early spring morning this year we stay still. Even those of us who venture out to wait in line at stores do not speak to each other. We stand apart from each other and avoid even eye contact.
Our spring mornings are like the buds on trees which are waiting to open. Full of potential, they do not appear to be particularly encouraging. It is early spring and we have more waiting to do.
Our stillness is wrapped around us and protects us from the dangers of the world. We are not yet ready to burst forth in a flash of color.
Staying at home, sitting still, listening to sacred stillness, we are being prepared. Even though we are getting eager for the warmth of spring it is not yet time.
We need to spend more time at home listening to the stillness within us.
Waiting on an Early Spring Morning
The sun dawns a little earlier on each morning of spring. Every day of spring brings a little more light and a little more warmth.
We want to fold up winter and put it away for a few months, especially this year.
We wake up to more than sunlight on an early spring morning. As we practice opening our eyes we realize each morning is more than a list of things to do. A cup of tea helps us see hope on an early spring morning.
Each morning reminds us it holds more than we expected.
Some of us have lost our hope during this long, cold, challenging winter. It is all we can do to keep getting out of bed each morning.
It can be easy for us to miss how spring turns the world around us brighter and warmer each morning. Some of us are exhausted by the changes we are already experiencing.
Winter may have taken so much out of us we are not certain we can handle spring. We may have been burned by hope in the past and prefer to live without it.
It is enough of a challenge for us to deal with what we were already expecting. Why would we want more?
When we are ready to listen we sit for a few minutes and appreciate the stillness and hope of an early spring morning.
Drinking our tea we slowly open ourselves to the early spring morning around us.
Spring creates each morning with its own unique flavors. We taste each one, rolling it around in our mouths before we swallow.
We glance through our windows to see the early spring morning waiting for us outdoors.
Each morning of spring is its own particular gift waiting for us to open it.
Hope on an Early Spring Morning
Some of us believe hope is unrealistic, possibly even the opposite of realistic.
Some of us may be convinced we need to face the bleakness of our prospects in all their stark darkness. We focus our attention on the challenges threatening to hold us back. Some of us are committed to do whatever it takes to completely understand the depth of how hard it will be.
Difficult situations do not inspire us. Hope inspires us. We remember we have dealt with issues like this before, or we know people who have, and we find hope. Hope pushes us forward, helping us find ways through or around what threatens to defeat us.
Hope can feel small. It is not the bright flame of persistence or brilliant analysis. Hope is the spark which lights the fire. With no hope the fire would never be ignited in us.
Our hope may feel small or weak because we do not practice exercising it. It may help us when we step into situations which stretch our hope. We may help build more powerful hope in other people.
We live in days which can feel hopeless.
Breathing in Hope on an Early Spring Morning
We breathe in hope on an early spring morning the same ways we drink our morning cup of tea.
Some of us draw in hope one sip at a time, savoring its flavor on our tongues. Each drop is a delicious experience of flavor. Others of us gulp our hope down, trying to fill ourselves with as much as quickly as we can.
Spiritual life assures us hope is not something we need to hoard or protect. We have an abundance of hope at our disposal waiting for us. There is no need to conserve hope, saving it for a more hopeless time. Each of us, all of us can revel in hope every morning. There is no deficit of hope, no matter how we might feel.
Our hope is renewed and replenished each day. We breathe in hope as we listen to sacred stillness.
Breathing in the hope of an early spring morning is a contemplative practice.
Hope sparks the fire of inspiration within us on each early spring morning.
Where will we find hope on an early spring morning today?
When will we experience hope on an early spring morning this week?
[Image by marneejill]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He has served as an assistant district attorney, an associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.