by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
23 Apr 2004
Spring is here at last! The season brings with it an opportunity for continued personal growth, stimulated by a sense of life renewing itself around us. We see growth of every kind reflected in our environment in the spring. Tiny seeds and bulbs blossom into colorful arrays of yellow, purple, and pink flowers and plants and the grass becomes green. Suddenly one day we look at the trees and see soft green leaves. Children seem to leap ahead in growth, outgrowing clothing and changing shoe sizes. One day in the supermarket there are blueberries from central New Jersey, not flown in from California.
For most of us, we find our senses heightened as warmer temperatures and refreshingly long days beckon us outdoors. Whether sitting outside on a bench, a porch, taking a walk or playing a sport, we become attuned to all the smells, sounds and sights that we associate with spring and the way our bodies feel.
Spring is a time for growing optimistically! A sense of hope is in the air. Hardly a person does not respond to positive feelings on certain spring days. We all talk about spring fever. If we look carefully at our reactions, we can see that THE ENCHANTED SELF is at work. Outside, breathing the spring fresh air, it is easy to recall an earlier positive spring memory. Perhaps it is remembering yourself racing your bicycle down a hill on a spring day, or coming home exhausted and hungry after playing baseball. Maybe it's the exciting feeling of a crush in the seventh grade combined with smelling honeysuckle or lavender as you walked home together. The images are boundless. Even for those of us who experienced difficult growing up days, we still have positive memories often awakened by our senses this time of the year.
If you let yourself enjoy each new spring day by "being there" rather than just "doing," then you can have the joy of not only being in the moment but also of rekindling wonderful earlier memories.
In terms of growing optimistically, it is often these earlier memories that can serve as a jumping off point for your own positive growth. You might remember how you felt roller-skating on a spring day. Perhaps this memory was triggered by a walk you had yesterday. How can you recapture the exuberance and enthusiasm you felt roller-skating many, many years ago? Perhaps it is time to walk consistently everyday. Perhaps it is time to buy a pair of roller blades and learn to use them. Perhaps it is time to develop another form of exercise, or maybe you would rather have the pleasure of helping to teach a child or grandchild how to roller-skate. The ways to reinvent your past into positive states of mind and body again and again are unique to you. Don't give up your opportunities to grow optimistically in these glorious months,
My message to you is to honor yourself, to honor your memories and let them pleasure you as you navigate through the spring months. Try not to focus on the unpleasant aspects of earlier days. Look for the "positive" memory traces associated with a smell, a taste, or an awareness that is rekindled by the blossoming of spring.
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