I’m sitting at my kitchen table looking out my window into the bluffs and a forest covered from top to bottom in snow. It’s April 19th and when I brought my kids to school today (which started 2 hours late) the thermometer read 30 degrees. As I sit here now, a few hours after the school drop-off, the temperatures have risen a bit and it is literally melting entire snowballs from the trees. It seems to have arrived; the well prepared melt that has been waiting in the backdrop of Mother Nature for many a day. I love nature; it provides some of my greatest inspiration. There’s so much freedom in the natural world to simply be real.
This snowy wonderland is not what most of us expect as we await the arrival of spring in Minnesota, and the weather has been disappointing for many around. I get it, believe me, we endure a lot of winter in this northern state of ours and sometimes it can feel so long and almost unbearable. But, if I look at today for what it is, for how it simply arrived with the sunrise in its true form, it is absolutely impossible for me to not be in complete awe of this sparkly, bright, snowy day.
I have been considering the impact of perspective as the snow has arrived by the inches over the past weeks. What happens when it snows in April and we want tulips instead? This seems an appropriate metaphor for how we might notice ourselves, at times, looking at our own life. What happens when we find ourselves somewhere in the middle of our life and thought or wanted it to be so different?
When this happens to me, I do my best to think about nature on a day like this. Nature doesn’t define itself as winter or spring or as coming at the right or wrong time, we humans are the ones that do that. We like to define things, including how our life should be. But nature, nature simply shows up and expresses Herself at any given moment, revealing Her truth, even when that doesn’t match expectations. When it snows, it snows. When it melts, it melts. And on days like today, there is snow and melt happening at the same time. I am inspired to live this way, to live a life that is truthful, real and adaptable and so it seems foundational to say farewell to the shoulds and the expectations, mine and other peoples, and just get out there and live openly as it unfolds. Then, it doesn’t matter so much if it snows in April.
Nature moves at Her own rhythm and forgets about putting deadlines on Her actions. I think it valuable to slow down a bit and to look with openness and curiosity at what’s going on in our life right now. And then notice, can we honor that place and love ourselves for where we are? Or do we find ourselves trying to live someone else’s life? Here’s an example. I recently completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training. Our final project consisted of teaching a 75-minute class with 2 wonderful fellow trainees. As someone who has been teaching mindfulness for many years, I noticed how extremely nervous I was feeling as I prepared for my class, and I was a bit surprised by that. In truth, I think a portion of those nerves were totally normal; I was after all teaching many new things. And yet, as I sat with and investigated my feelings, what I began to notice was that I was putting such high expectations on myself; expectations to offer a class that was someone else’s, someone with more experience, someone who wasn’t me. At that moment I had myself believing that I needed to have someone else’s skills and abilities to be good enough. Fortunately as I sat there, wrestling with this idea of how to be someone I wasn’t, I was reminded of some encouraging words from my dear friend and yoga teacher Heather Beier. “Let yourself be a beginning yoga teacher. It is a wonderful place to be and someday the opportunity to experience teaching this way will be gone.” Once I left myself really be OK with being a beginning teacher, in other words, to be who I truly was, there was so much more freedom and creativity available to me to develop and offer something authentic and real. When it snows, it snows. Somehow I doubt nature judges Her own snowflakes.
We can be who we are and where we are, and trust that we are good enough.
We don’t need to rush through our life or be someone who we aren’t. We don’t even know what happens next and so what are we in a hurry to get to? There are an infinite number of beautiful things happening right now, around us, in this very moment.Take a peek. If we shift our perspective just a little bit, can we see the beauty or possibility in the unexpected moment of right now? Can we notice and experience even just a few of these remarkable moments and appreciate them for what they truly are and worry less about what we think they should be?
In the time that it took for me to write this post, the snow has begun melting at such a rapid speed that it is raining in our kitchen and my daughter came home early from school with the stomach flu. I wasn’t expecting any part of this. It wasn’t a part of my daily plan at all! But, what am I to do? Yesterday when the unexpected snowstorm came, we decided to have an epic snowball fight; to play in the snow in April. When might we ever be able to do this again?! Today, I’ll shovel off the roof and care for my sweet daughter because this is the beautiful life that I get to live right now. Sometimes, maybe even in abundant quantities, it snows in April. And then it melts and reveals something new. So my plan, my effort, is to do my best right here, in this very moment of my life. You?
Trish Johnson is a mother of 2 beautiful children and is married to a super cool guy named Paul. She feels fortunate to teach mindfulness and yoga to people of all ages. Thanks to Prince for his incredible song and inspiration, “Sometimes It Snows in April”.