“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear. Do you have the patience to wait until your mind settles and the water is clear?” Lao-Tzu
March is like a door ajar to spring. You can get a peek at the other side of winter when the door cracks open as the temperature rises and the birds begin to sing. But then without warning, rude March winds erupt and cloudy skies blow through and slam the door. Yes, I live in San Diego where Northerners think our winters don’t qualify us to complain, but this year has been exceptionally cold, with frost on many a morning. So, even for us spoiled Southerners, March is a tease: a slow transition to spring, and a lesson in patience. Mother Nature evidently needs a month to prepare for the full arrival of spring, so that means we humans must need it too. And if we have been following nature’s example and turning more inward, rejuvenating our reserves (as Twelve Mindful Months suggests in the January and February chapters), maybe a transition month is needed to guide us gradually outward.
An article written for Spirituality & Health magazine (May/June 2012) by Thomas Moore called “The Door Ajar,” gave me the idea to use “the door” metaphor. To summarize Moore, he said that a door ajar reminds us to have an open mind and heart for inspiration and intuition and new ways of thinking. We close the door in self-protection when we think habitually, try to control others, or live our life based on fears. So, the month of March – “the door to spring” – seems the perfect time to contemplate what is keeping my door closed, or is standing in the way of getting my book out into the world. To help me transition, I did some journaling to reflect on why I have been procrastinating. Right away I came up with one truth: It was going against the grain of nature – my belief to turn more inward in winter – so not my ideal season to come out to the public for the first time. But after more writing and rambling on about all my feeble excuses and reasons, another, bigger truth came out on the page: Fear. Fear that I won’t speak well, or my audience will appear disinterested, or I won’t sell one book, or worse – no one will show up. Yes, I admit that my door was shut tight all winter, but at least I managed to crack it open briefly back in early December to schedule my first book signing for March 24th at Warwick’s in La Jolla. I remember it felt very freeing to do it. Maybe because I knew I had a few months to prepare? 😉 As I think about it now it seems silly for me to worry about public speaking, after 33 years of teaching group fitness classes and even informal lectures. And Twelve Mindful Months has been well-received at Golden Door spa where I work, and by my personal connections. I do feel passionate about the importance of its message of mindfulness, so yes, it now needs to get out to the rest of the world.
Moore suggests keeping a photo or image of a door ajar to remind ourselves to stay open to fresh vitality. I chose this photo taken at sunrise to remind me of the opportunity for new beginnings each day brings, to keep my door ajar to the outside world, and to be confident as I spread the word about my book. (And the visualization is working: I now have two more events scheduled and two more in the works.)
On the first day of March, the door to spring swung wide open as the temperature soared to the 80’s and the pair of bluebirds, back from their winter retreat, were there to greet me from their familiar perch in the flowering pear tree. On the second day, the hills above the spa where I was leading a sunrise hike were a symphony of purple. The wild mountain lilacs, late this year, had burst into bloom all at once from just one day of heat. As if the sight of all that purple wasn’t enough, the gentle Santa Ana winds carried the sweet aroma of the grape-candy-scented blossoms to my nostrils. It was impossible to be unmindful.
The chorus of lilacs and the air were singing: “Be here, just enjoy, pay attention.” My senses went on overdrive. I became intoxicated from the sight and the scent and couldn’t get enough of it. But, alas, tempestuous March closed her door just as quickly as she opened it.
So, as I complete this blog today, less than a week later, the skies are darkened with clouds, rain is falling, and the temperature has plummeted to the 50’s. Ah…a good time to write, be still and reflect, and prepare for my transcendence as I spring forward on a more public path to promote my book.
What doors will you open this spring?