by Ann Irwin
It’s Spring! Even the word has a bounce in it, though after the wet, stormy and miserable winter we have put in, we would be forgiven for greeting it a tad wearily. For those of us on the Hero’s Journey, winter is hard. The lack of light causes many of us to burrow in and become lethargic. But now the daffodils are stirring the heart again and calling us to notice the buds on the cherry blossom trees and to ask ourselves the same old same old: ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where am I going?’ and ‘What’s it all about?’
Is the Hero in us never going to be satisfied? Isn’t there a time where we arrive in the Good Lands of self-knowledge, peace and quiet, and live in a kind of non-reactive trauma-free zone where we are chilled, undisturbed by life’s slings and arrows? Surely there’s a retirement age for sorting ourselves out after which it becomes just plain sailing?
But Spring says ‘No!’ Spring says we must forever begin again. Spring says we must find new ways, and pushes and prods us into life again. And if the truth is to be told we would probably be bored to death in the Good Lands after a bit because the Hero in us just won’t be quietened no matter how much we wish she would, occasionally, ‘zip it’. No matter how much we stuff her mouth with sweet things, with distractions or mood-altering substances, she finds a way to alert us to the possibilities of growth, time after time. The Hero in us loves the Spring because it is the season where the world tilts towards the light, where Spring tempts us to make daring plans, to have fun, to believe in our own possibilities and to be courageous enough to face the darkness and losses in ourselves.
In the past week Spring has been busy unsettling me. I was at a workshop in Dublin a week ago called This Business of Therapy. I felt I needed a bit of a shake-up on the business side of things and thought this would give me some good ideas about using social media more effectively, etc. You know, safe left-brain stuff. Well the wallop came when the facilitator asked us to visualise ourselves making a pitch to a GP. What did that bring up in us? What body posture would portray it? And what age did we feel in that body posture? Ooooops! Left brain went on its holidays then and I was left with a 12-year-old facing the judgement of my father.
My mother was a great one for Spring Cleaning. As soon as the days began to brighten she was out cleaning windows, dusting and polishing, emptying drawers of rubbish and binning the debris of yesterday. It was a ritual, marking the beginning of a time of clearing and fresh starts. The clearing was tough and we were all roped in to help, but the sun glistening on the shine of a mahogany table was reward enough for her and brought her joy. My self-limiting reaction about pitching to a GP is just old rubbish stuffed in a drawer of yesterday, but it’s shouting out for spring cleaning however much I might prefer to stuff it back into the drawer.
Last Saturday I attended the IAHIP Consultative Forum. It was interesting and good to connect up with like-minded people. We discussed all kinds of topics – accreditation, ICP, bye-laws, government registration, etc. By 9.30pm we were ready to pack it up. I certainly was anyway. I was tired and facing a three-hour journey back to Cork. Then Anne Colgan produced a bag of scarves and in seconds had all of us playing a mad game of Blind Man’s Buff while making animal noises. Hilarity reigned and I was smiling the whole way back to Cork. Wow! What a reminder that we need to have more fun and light- heartedness in our lives! Spring had struck again…
Recently I seem to be surrounded by friends and acquaintances wanting me to go with them in a particular direction or wondering what direction I am going in. Why all this sudden prodding and curiosity? The point is I am as incapable of saying ‘No’ right now to their suggestions as I am of saying ‘Yes’. Actually I am doing fine right now. Just F.I.N.E. I remember doing a visualisation some years back where we had to stand at a crossroads and choose our path. I saw a great path of fame and fortune and powerful, influential work. I turned it down for a vision of a calm oasis where I could live a ‘small is beautiful’ life, meditating every day, being creative, surrounded by the people I love and maybe writing a book…or two…
So all this prodding seems to be Spring saying: ‘Well what about it? Has the Hero gone to sleep? Wake up and keep your word to yourself!’
I do indeed have a lovely life but I need to take better care of it. I meditate sometimes but not as often as I should and I am well aware how good it is for me and the clarity it gives me. It kick-starts my day and feeds my soul. I need to eat more healthily, walk more, live more consciously, have more fun. I need to figure out, once again, how to make the difference I want to make in my small bit of this great world. I need to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to this year’s new beginnings and then stick to my Word. Spring has woken me up and calls to something deep within me. It’s a powerful and compelling voice.
Maybe she is calling your name also.
If so, may your Spring be beautiful, creative and life-enhancing. May your growth be towards the Light and your blossoming a blessing for you and all who love you.
Ann Irwin, MIAHIP, is a Psychotherapist working in Ballincollig, Co. Cork. Ann’s contact details are www.alittlespacecounselling.com and 087-9444525.