Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Spring Into Action

Spring breeds thoughts of new beginnings and floral bouquets literally popping out of the ground. It's all happy animals fornicating and buds abounding. To me this year it provides (as did winter and fall!) an opportunity for new challenges and some introspection.

It started simply. I read a quote by Stephen Covey, "If you start to think the problem is ‘out there,’ stop yourself. That thought is the problem." I had been denying my yearning to get out and ride my bike to work because it was still a bit 'chilly' in the morning and I was lazy. But Mr. Covey convinced me that only I was going to make myself happy. So I moved on my inclinations and my physical prowess overcame my mental disturbances. As I rode happily down the street at a maximum of 33mph I was literally overcome with joy and laughter. I'd found the freedom I'd been seeking.

Where's the introspection, you may ask? I found that the simplicity of my actions led me down a path of deeper thought. That is, 'Is it really that easy?' Action, re-action, acceptance, etc. etc.? Can I do the same with the rest of my life? The age-old answer is both yes and no. I would love to say everything is as simple as choosing to ride one's bicycle... and maybe it is.

Of course with things like relationships, taxes and work it's important to realize that there are outside influences that will ebb and flow with one's ability to adapt to their challenges. It's not to say that Mr. Covey is wrong. The ability to adapt is still within oneself. It's just a matter of internalizing that adaptation. One can awake every morning and say, "How wonderful it is to be alive! I appreciate the world, the animals, the rocks, the trees. I am the Buddha incarnate." But if the same person burns themselves 5 minutes later on the toaster and curses their life to hell then they've not really internalized the vision.

So if spring is a time for change then it's probably a time for re-organization and re-prioritization. Moderation for one. My moderate but overwhelming (see "Sorry, Sugar") dietary change and the cycling is a good start. Actually, travel has slowed down as well which has allowed me time at home to redecorate (another spring step!). I've even changed my musical selections: more Dylan and Chopin Nocturnes, less Coldplay and B-52's.

Does any of it make a difference? In the grand scheme of things I'm starting to feel that it IS the little things, yes. The more I read and comprehend the Tibetan monks who won't go outside during rainy season for fear of killing small worms or washed up insects the more I see that life is give and take. Moderation, moderation, moderation and a healthy dose of appreciation. By participating, consciously, in small change, in the growth of the season, one finds harmony. Spring allows us to see that we don't really need anything at all that isn't abundantly growing already. It's best to appreciate that which is thriving and let the weary harshness of winter fall away -- leave those thoughts to the cold and greed of a different time of life. For you, for me, for anyone the action needn't precisely match the seasons. Through winter's storms and cloudy weather the independent survive to create their annual beauty, announce their will to succeed, harmoniously assert their life-force upon nature itself and give new found energy back to the world.

That's what I want to be part of this spring. What do you want?


anne altman said...

I want you do ditch Coldplay forever, GP. They are LAME. (you can keep the B52s...)

Anonymous said...

. . . always a profound question, "what do you want?"

Like you, I'm struggling to "habit myself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of my life". It's the "every moment" part that seems to be the trick :)

here's the full quote from uncle Walt:

. . .
Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every
moment of your life.

Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout,
and laughingly dash with your hair.

[46] Song of Myself, Walt Whitman

btw - I'm a friend of a friend of your mother; she said I would enjoy your writing, and I have. It's always good to read how others are fighting the good fight, finding joy in life.

here's another from Walt that has served me well this year:

O Living Always, Always Dying

O living always, always dying!
O the burials of me past and present,
O me while I stride ahead, material, visible, imperious as ever;
O me, what I was for years, now dead, (I lament not, I am content;)
O to disengage myself from those corpses of me, which I turn and
look at where I cast them,
To pass on, (O living! always living!) and leave the corpses behind.

- Cynthia