Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter and the Promise of Spring

Regardless of what we call them, the holidays of springtime are all about the same thing; the promise that life is eternal and survives behind and beneath even that thing we call death.

We see it in Nature. During winter, life is hushed, dormant, buried, often beneath mountains of snow. But in spring, we see that life didn't end. It only slowed and rested, and now it's busting out all over again. It was there the whole time. 

We see in the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. That same message that life is more powerful, and that it doesn't end when these physical bodies do. 

We see it in the old Pagan tales of how the sun ages and apparently dies as winter rages, but is reborn in spring, young and new again. In summer the Sun God mates with the Earth Goddess, and the abundance of the harvest is their offspring. 

We even see it reflected in the phases of the moon, ever waxing, swelling to fullness, then waning until she disappears entirely–but is never truly gone, as we see when that first silver sliver of the new moon appears. 

All of these messages are, at their heart, the same. No matter how dark things may seem, no matter how permanent and final death itself might feel, that is just an illusion. Light and Life do not, cannot, and will not end. No matter what.

Embrace the season by embracing life. Think about the ways we celebrate this time of year. Eggs: symbols of fertility, wombs of new life. Bunnies: symbols of fertility, known for their ability to reproduce new lives. Lilies: symbols of fertility and of the moon, which itself is a symbol of the endless cycle of life. Baby animals like chicks and lambs: new life personified. 

Plant some seeds today. Maybe actual ones: I'm planting tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower among others. Maybe too, plant the seeds of new beginnings in your life: I'm planting those today as well, making some plans for the coming months and laying the groundwork for hatching them.

May the blessings of the light be yours, today and always. 
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Exploring Gratitude: The Little Things

Whenever I start talking about gratitude, and focusing on what I'm grateful for, the same things come to the top of my mind. My family. My home. My pets. My talent and the ability to make a living using it (which is what I consider one of life's greatest gifts. But that's another post.)

When I do a gratitude post on Facebook and ask others to list what they're grateful for in the comments, I see that their lists are very similar to mine.

Then, last Sunday, I was watching an interview with filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, an absolute genius, who films nature in ways that give us an intimate look at things otherwise invisible to us.  He speeds up the life of plants through time lapse, giving us a glimpse of them as the living, intelligent, interactive beings that they are. He slows down the movement of hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, so that we can see the way they move and dance and interact. 

When we think about what we're grateful for, let's remember to include the tiniest things, the ones we're surrounded by every time we step outside. The insect-people, and the plant-people who inhabit this world all around us. They provide our food supply. They pollinate each other so that fruits and vegetables can become. They grow into the herbs and roots that can heal us of any dis-ease. They give us pure, clean oxygen so that we can breathe. They fill our world with the most exquisite beauty we are capable of imagining. 

Let's remember to include these things we walk by everyday, and almost never notice. Let's stop and look at them, and beam love and appreciation to them from our hearts. I believe they'll feel it. I believe they're not only alive, but awake and aware.

Here's one of Louie Schwartzberg's short films. 4 minutes that will reside in your heart for the rest of the day. (Maybe for the rest of your life. It's worth sitting through the super short ad at the beginning.)