Spring in the Lowlands is a painting come to life. The azaleas burst like fireworks in shades of fuchsia, orange, and crimson. The white Ibis return to the salt marshes and so do the dark alligators. Massive oak trees give birth to new growth and the dull brown seagrass slowly returns to life. And I do mean s-l-o-w-l-y. At the beginning of March there was only the faintest hint of mint green at the base of the marshes and now, some six weeks later, the hues of forest, lime, and shamrock green are noticeable, making for a colorful ballet when the wind blows. But the brown tips are still there, too. It reminds me that transformation is a process. Even in this age of instant technology, the re-birthing process takes time.
Trees return to fullness one leaf at a time. Flowers open one petal at a time. Days progress one minute at a time. Humans are no different. Change occurs in degrees, stages, and cumulative encounters. My husband and I moved to Hilton Head Island from Los Angeles in September and I’m still trying to settle into my new life. Still trying to make new friends and connections. Still discovering where I want to shop. And still searching for furniture and art work to compliment our home. Sometimes I get impatient. Creating — like changing, revising, evolving, and renovating — takes time. Lots of it. And energy, too. Yet, every step — and misstep — along the way serves its purpose. Life, after all, is change, even without moving from one location to another. Evolution never stops, nor should we. Learning and growing from our everyday encounters should be expected, even encouraged. Yet, hanging out in comfort and security seems to be a consistent human longing.
Welcome the smooth times, the relaxing moments when life hums along, but when hard work, chaos, or trouble knocks on your door, don’t panic. Try not to complain. Destruction precedes rebirth. Remember the Phoenix, that mythological Greek bird? It rose from the ashes of its former self, which begs the question: What might arise from the cinders of your life? We’ve all been knocked down or trampled upon by someone or something, and most of us immediately complain. Sometimes we cry or run in fear. Don’t stifle the emotions, but don’t get stuck there either. Instead, be curious. Be aware. Be grateful. Welcome the opportunity to learn something new. Staying locked in old patterns of thought and behavior can be stifling — and harmful.
Remember how once upon a time being left-handed was considered evil? How healing with herbal remedies was viewed as witchcraft? How animals were considered unintelligent and devoid of reasoning skills? All are outdated modes of thinking that once was deemed truth. As science continues to expand into the realms of quantum physics and to tune into frequencies beyond our physical world, more and more new ideas and practices will emerge. Life as we know it will evolve. Are you willing to be transformed? Open to new ideas? Agreeable to possibilities?
Without change, growth stops. But embracing change isn’t merely a mental attitude. It’s also a practice of learning to pay attention to your emotions, of listening to your intuition, and of trusting the intelligence of your heart. Body, mind, and spirit are required. Just for fun, try this experiment for the next week: refuse to judge anything as either good or bad. The moment you label something as “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “bad,” the door to new insights begins to close. Instead, look for the lessons and blessings in whatever comes your way. Maybe you’ll find light in the darkness. Maybe you’ll create healthier attitudes in the midst of an illness. Maybe rejection will spin you towards the affirmation you seek. Think of it as a cosmic treasure hunt for the golden egg of acceptance and gratefulness for the way things are, even as you continue working towards something different. Be like the sea grass: absorb the nutrients you need for change and shed your old, no-longer-useful ideas bit by bit until you can dance in the sun with a shimmering transformed self.
Want to find more clarity, inspiration, and momentum on your own journey of transformation? Join me and my friend Erika Isler, former editor of State College Magazine and certified Equus & Life Coach, for some summer fun at Camp Arion, a two-day workshop where we’ll explore the power of story, the intuitive nature of horses, and the sparks of self-discovery guaranteed to fuel some creative insights.