It's Spring here in Chicago. Anyone who has lived in the Midwest has experienced the playful dance that is Spring. Nature loves to tease us - one day, it will be sunny and 70 degrees, and the next, we'll be seeking shelter from a sudden hail or snow storm. We plant beautiful pots outside, only to bring them in at night to protect them from the frost. One step forward, two steps back, until... finally... summer arrives.
I used to get really frustrated about these weather setbacks. As a result, March and April were my least favorite months. I'd ask myself, "Why was it snowing in April? Who thought it was a good idea to start Spring sports in March? Why - oh, why - did we move from California 18 years ago?"
But recently, I've learned to welcome these ebbs and flows. When the sun is out (like it is today), I'm literally skipping as my dog and I go on our daily walk, savoring the sights and smells of the first buds of Spring. I leave my AirPods behind, opting to listen to the music from the birds instead.
And when it is suddenly cold, windy and rainy, I'm reminded that progress isn't always linear - and how patient the flowers, trees and plants have been. All Winter long, even when we can't see them, they are growing. They are evolving. And they are preparing to share their brilliance when the sun finally comes out.
This past winter, I've also been in a period of evolution. I will turn 50 years old in May. And I wanted to honor this year by getting really clear on what beliefs, thoughts, behaviors and habits are serving me well - and what might need to shift for this next chapter of my life to be as vibrant and alive as my Spring walks feel.
Over the last four months, I have often felt like these dormant plants. (Lucky for me, I have been huddled up in a cozy house rather than the frozen ground.) And the path has certainly not been linear. I have realized that much of my identity is tied to output, achievement and the thrill of checking off a good to-do list. This journey has been very different... with lots of time for writing, reading, reflecting and thinking. There are days where I can see real progress - when I have clear insights, feel great, and can connect with my deepest values of love, connection, gratitude, growth and faith. And there are other days when I hear my inner critic, telling me that I haven't accomplished enough, and when I'm tempted to fall back on bad habits, limiting beliefs, and a sense of fear.
But just like we believe that Spring will come, I believe in this path. When I work with my clients, I get a front-row seat to witness the shifts that are possible - first, within themselves, and then over time, with the behaviors, habits and choices they make. It's not always linear, it's not always visible at first, but over time, it can be profound.
And just like Spring, each morning, I get a chance to start anew. What a gift and blessing this is. These fresh beginnings remind me that this growth - even if it's not always visible and linear - is possible. I am realizing that I show up better for my family, my friends, my clients and myself when I am grounded in the belief that there is enough, that I am enough, and that if I choose love over fear, I might be lucky enough to share this gift with those around me. And - while the sun is out and the birds are singing - there are a few things on that to do list that can probably wait.
If you give yourself the gift of starting anew, what might be possible for you?