This past month I have focused on an overarching theme of renewal. I was inspired by what I was seeing around me in nature as Spring unfolded, and it struck me how this season is one of renewal. Trees and bushes that were dormant through winter suddenly start to show new buds. Butterflies emerge and the bees start pollinating. New flowers appear everywhere, and my heart melts at all the baby animals – lambs, goslings, joeys – even the baby plovers are cute!
Definitions of renewal include:
To make new or as if new again
To regain or restore physical or mental vigour, to revive.
To start over
I tend to think of renewal as a process, which requires us to go through certain steps. Before we can start over or make new, we often need to let go of things that belong in the past. Think of the butterfly leaving behind its cocoon! We might need to leave behind old thought patterns, habits or beliefs that don’t suit us anymore. As we move from Winter into Spring this can mean changing our habits around food, exercise and sleep. At a deeper level, it could mean moving from being very insular or inward directed to more externally directed. Neither are wrong, they just reflect different seasons. In Winter we tend to stay at home more, which naturally means we are less active, less social, and often more introspective. But when the days get longer and the weather finer, we start to look to our external world again.
In many cases, renewal requires growth and change. To use a nature analogy again, we see growth in the form of new leaves appearing on deciduous trees. This isn’t always easy: growth is usually something noticed with hindsight, unless we can be mindful to the process and can pause to appreciate the changes we are going through. It’s important to give ourselves self-compassion for any difficulty that growth might be causing.
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely”.
So if growth is a choice, then we need to choose new habits, behaviours and beliefs that support the “renewed you”, or the person you want to be. Just like when the New Year arrives, Spring sees many intentions being set for new eating plans and exercise regimes. Many fall by the wayside so it’s a good idea to read up on ideas that can help you develop – and maintain – new habits. (There’s an interesting article below). One trusted concept is that new habits are easier to develop when you have a friend doing it with you, so find someone who shares your goals and create new habits together. You will always be more inclined to go for that walk/run/yoga class if your friend goes with you.
Finally, allow yourself to bloom. In nature, a plant has no choice but to bloom. But as humans we often tend to hold ourselves back. We worry that if we shine too brightly, that people will judge us. In Australian culture in particular we have all seen the “tall poppy” syndrome at play. We admire and support someone “on the up” but once they become well known, accomplished or successful, we cut them down to make us feel better about ourselves. Not exactly an environment that encourages each poppy to bloom! But at what cost do we hold ourselves back?