In AA, as we work Step 4, we look deeply at ourselves to illuminate those things that we need to change or work on. I’ve also heard this called “shadow boxing”. Because it is the darker parts of our hearts and souls where these things reside. In the shadows…
This process is important. For many reasons. It is shining a light on our darkest parts so that we can see them more clearly and so that we can begin to grow in new ways and new directions. Because once those shadows are in the light they have less power over us.
It is said that in the midst of great loss, failure, and struggle we move from unconsciousness to a deeper awareness and consciousness. We feel an inner freedom. We find grace. And we see rightly. From darkness to lightness. A spiritual awakening.
Our souls grow best in the shadowlands.
In the light, there will still be shadows. But now they can reflect truth and radiate compassion for others who also have shadows. They allow us to love and be loved. They are what make us human and ever evolving works in progress.
Shadow boxing…another gift of sobriety.
As I write this, it is 20 degrees below zero. Spring, according to the calendar, is just a few weeks away. Somehow I think it might take a bit longer to arrive here in the north country.
It has been a brutally cold winter. Yet I know it won’t last forever. I also know that inside of me there is hope. Spring will come and we will welcome her with open arms.
I like to think that spring is eternal.
It is within us all. At any time of the year.
At any point in our lives.
Spring can be felt and experienced and shared.
Spring is rebirth, growth, unfolding, opening.
It is hope, faith, optimism, joy.
Spring is alive, vibrant, colorful, rich.
It is earthy, sultry, sweet, delicate.
Spring is so much more than just a season.
It is how life can be lived…eternally
Here in the north country, it’s been cold. Not just cold but brutally cold. Well below zero cold. The cold that you just can’t seem to warm up from. Cold that settles deep in your bones. And it seems there is no end in sight.
Yes there has been an abundance of sunshine.
Yes there has been an abundance of snow.
A perfect winter you think.
But it has also been cold. It is the kind of cold that prevents us from enjoying all that sun and snow.
And it causes a common ailment to occur:
Cabin fever begins with a slight feeling of agitation. Bundling up just to start your car in the morning and it sounds like a dying animal. This then leads to irritation and resentment. Complusively checking the weather forecast and then groaning when you see it. Next comes the glimpse of hope. It’s above zero. You go outside only to run back in because with the wind chill, it’s still below zero.
You feel trapped. You find inside things to do but feel a bit lethargic and unmotivated. You daydream about warmer times and warmer places.
You worship your wood stove and try to find gratitude in the little things…like having a wood stove.
Here in Vermont, we are hearty. We know how to dress for the weather. We know how to survive these cold spells. We have done it countless times before. Yet each year when it arrives again, we forget that we know what to do. We forget to have faith that this too shall pass. Because it always does.
So we do the best we can. We read and write and create and pass the time. We complain to friends and family and strangers and we eat more chocolate…we eat more period.
The weather forecast for this weekend isn’t horrible. 14 above for a high seems almost balmy. Perhaps there will be a chance to get out and play. Perhaps we can alleviate our cabin fever for a few hours. Perhaps…
I’ll let you know on Monday!
It truly has been a beautiful winter so far. Lots of snow. And an abundance of sunshine.
It is the sun that chases away the winter blues. Or perhaps it’s a little bit more than that.
January, a month typically dreaded here in the north country, is showing us a different side. Or perhaps it’s me that is seeing things differently.
The blues I felt last winter? They are gone. And this January, I find myself singing a happier sort of tune.
Because there is nothing but blue skies…
On the path of life, we sometimes experience serendipity.
Serendipity happens. In fact it happens all the time. Finding something wonderful while not looking for it.
I love the idea of happy accidents and pleasant surprises. And I’ve experienced it. The kind of serendipity that takes your breath away. That makes you say Wow. That makes your heart smile and your soul sing.
Serendipity is magical. No matter how big or small it may seem. It opens you up to the possibility that something much larger is at work in our lives.
Of course we have to be open ourselves to moments of serendipity. We must be receptive or it might just pass by, unnoticed.
The more open I am, the more I notice serendipity. The more I feel connections with the world around me and what it’s trying to tell me, the more serendipity I experience.
The unexpected gifts in life…
Beautiful, wondrous, serendipitous.
A Nor’easter visited us last Tuesday. And lasted for over 3 days.
It stalled and dumped heavy snow that measured in feet. It downed trees and power lines. It closed schools and roads. It left a trail of destruction.
And then when the clouds finally cleared and sun shone…it also left a winter wonderland.
Words cannot describe the beauty and magic of the snow laden trees.
Their limbs bending down to kiss the earth.
Their icy branches glistening in the sun.
Birches bowing deeply over roads and trails.
Pines tall and straight coated in white frosting.
I was transported into an enchanted land. A forest of delight. A Robert Frost poem that left me in awe at the power and wonder of Mother Nature.
As I left, I said a prayer for those still without power. I raised my hand in thanks to the many utility trucks along the road. And I felt grateful for being able to experience this…
A true winter wonderland.