It’s the season of courage. Springtime. Being a “beginner” is not only inevitable, it can be scary. It’s easy to walk outside this time of the year and take in the birds chirping, the bright green of new foliage and the anticipation of browns and grays turning to vibrant colors. Fresh starts and new beginnings envelop us.
As a witness, we could consider the explosion of new life to be to be easy, since it’s simply what nature does, right? Sprouts are pushing with all their might through the safety of the soil, exposing themselves to sun, wind and rain so they can grow leaves and eventually sprout buds. Baby birds are poking through the dark familiar surroundings of egg shells, to expose themselves to light so they can transform fuzz into feathers. Transitions abound everywhere as nature is doing what does – ever expand. Growth is happening with fragile beginnings everywhere you can see or imagine. It appears to be a cakewalk, yet is it really?
I was talking to a friend the other day about how transitions are a natural part of life and, unlike children who love learning and curiosity and adventure, adults seem to fight being a beginner, or an explorer. She said it’s because adults don’t like the “V” word (vulnerable). I said it’s because they don’t understand the “F” word (fragile) as being a natural part of life.
What’s that saying…“Change is inevitable, Growth is optional”? Sure, the new sprout, because it’s tender, could be eaten by whatever eats tender sprouts. Predators stalk bird or turtle nests of eggs or newly hatched babies as the way nature works. I won’t even touch on the horror stories of what happens to some fragile children in our world who aren’t given love, care and attention.
The lucky who made it to adulthood, however, have evidence that they have been vulnerable countless times, because natural life transitions are inevitable to attain maturity. We go through many new phases in order to grow up. The chicks found they could no longer survive in the egg, so they needed to break through the shell into the light so they could grow feathers and wings…and then they were fragile. Soon enough, after squawking for their food and getting too big for their nests (think teenagers) it was time to leave the space that nurtured them so well, even though they weren’t experts on flying yet…and then they were fragile.
It’s at those new beginning times that something miraculous happens, there is a constant theme – we are taken care of. Frail baby birds are kept warm under mama’s wings and have chewed up food dumped on their gaping beaks until they can “survive” well enough in the nest. Once the nest is “no longer working for them”, even if it is familiar, they plop out and hop around. Before being able to fly solo, the adult birds give flying lessons and watch out for danger.
Mother Nature continues to give us examples that it doesn’t matter how good we are at something, when we get too big for our current environments, it’s time to suck it up and be vulnerable, even though we will be “fragile” as a beginner in our new phase. Our lesson is courage – to know that we will eventually “die” (emotionally, spiritually, financially, intellectually) if we don’t move on, because we no longer “fit”, even if we are damn efficient within our current experience. Here’s the clue: When being excellent at something shifts from being effective to uncomfortable, stagnant or suffocating…it’s time to move on. The longer we wait, the more pain and suffering we will endure. Period.
The harsh reality then becomes: If we don’t move on our own, something else will force the issue. When it’s time to shift to our next “learning” for our souls’ growth, the logistics of change sometimes seem too much to bear. Similar to a butterfly’s fight to escape its cocoon, the struggle doesn’t need to be pretty, it’s designed to be effective. How upside down could find yourself after you got fired from your job (and lost your “identity” because your given “title” is no longer under your name on a business card)? Remember walking into the giant high school on the first day of school as a terrified freshman? You found your locker, the seniors didn’t kill you and your heart is still beating till this day. How do you manage to live with “just you” after a divorce, your baby went to college or your lover and best friend of 65 years is no longer around to give you your daily “love tap” with his/her cane? These times of turmoil are when our courage muscles really get tested, so eventually our new light can shine even brighter.
This spring when you experience the joy, beauty and bounty that new growth can bring, think of what’s next for your life experience. Remember that when you “no longer fit” your current experience, it’s nothing but a clue that something wonderful awaits on the other side of your letting go and becoming a “beginner” again. Knowing that “fragile” is ok, it doesn’t last forever, and your next blessing to the world is being born holds a certain magic. Be inspired by your courage and your brilliance. We’re all waiting to experience it, too!