Pastoral Reflection: How Nature Reveals Problem-Solving
When I was a child, back in cold damp, New England, there was an expression the Old Yankees would use concerning this day on the calendar, and it went something like this: ” March… comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb…”
March would be, under normal conditions, the last month of winter weather. If all went well, from the Groundhog’s prediction to The Farmer’s Almanac (I guess they didn’t know about El Nino… Or global warming in those days) they could count on Spring starting sometime in March… . As it was explained to me, the weather can progress from being fierce to being more gentle, and that this pattern of Nature was capable of happening in a short period of time… one month.
It was a common sight for me, to see snow still piled up at the beginning of March, and it was truly a wondrous and hopeful sight to see, once we past the Ides, that, in a few bare spots, those brave and courageous little crocuses were trying to push their way through the thawed ground announcing the coming of the long awaited Spring.
This weather phenomenon points to lessons in our apprehension and anticipation- to how we can begin to dread the beginning of a project, a responsibility, or a change in one’s life, and then with greater openness to possibilities, a d a shift in our perceptions, be able to warm up to it and reach its completion with a sense of peace and joy. Like the first of March, our problems and challenges can appear fierce and lion-sized. We can imagine ourselves bracing for the worst, instead of expecting the best from ourselves, our society, our situations in life- we dread, we worry, we are fearful, instead of looking optimistically at our potentials…
Like the stormy chill of the late winter, we can effectively act like wet snow blankets or at least pour down freezing rain on our best efforts. Hope is what renews us. Only as we allow ourselves to emphasize our possibilities and potentials does Spring truly arrive; When Spring is in the air, our willingness to hold fast to our purposes, helps us to endure until the greening of the year, until the color and warmth returns to our lives, and optimism and courage takes its rightful place in our hearts.
From a certain metaphorical perspective, weather is the energetic result of our collective thoughts… and those thoughts, if not directly affecting our world, truly can control the emotional climate of our lives. Based on that outlook, I will confidently predict that it is our reactions and our ability to expect what is good, and rehearse those ideals, versus dreading what might never be, and rehearsing those desperate empty scenes, that could control the warmth we feel and share among us.
Similarly, it could be the “whether or not” patterns in our own thinking that will set the range of temperature in our caring, in our openness that we have toward love and life. If life is currently like March 1st, an old bellowing lion, not happy with his portion and dissastified with his lack of attention, take heart… become encouraged… for the peace, warmth, affirmation you seek is not far away. Spring is almost here!
As lion and lamb, may the days of our lives not be spent in worrying whether or not you will receive a fleecing by life, or that you might be devoured by any of life’s challenges and changes. Instead, we can follow nature’s rhythms and give ourselves the gift of time, of patience, acceptance, and a little endurance, and within a few Sundays, your problems can melt, and you, too can bravely bloom with greater optimism and hope for the year… Happy March 1st!
Oh yes, least I forget! Today is also Rabbit Day!
According to the ancient Celts, the March Hare is the great familiar or animal companion of the Ostera, or the Goddess of Easter.
Additionally, either by superstition or by metaphor, rabbits have always been signs of good luck, fortune, quick recoveries, new beginnings, fresh starts, and hope.
My favorite witch, and former professor at Penn State, told me about the setting of positive intentions associated by thinking about rabbits on the first of every month, in fact, as the first thing that comes to mind when you wake up on the 1st of every month.
She advises and affirms, according to Wiccans and Celts, that if you say, “Rabbit, Rabbit” as your first words, you will set the intention for having a very positive, hopeful, and energetic month!
If you miss, it can be instructive as what is the first thing you think about as your feet hit the floor…
And it is said that if you forget, the second day will work, so in order to avoid having “a bad hare day” (ouch!), it is recommended that you think carefully about how you fill your minds and hearts at the beginning of any day, week, month or year…