Sunday, 21 March 2010

Spring: A new beginning or more of the same?

Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox. We’re halfway between the shortest, darkest day and the longest, lightest one. We can say with confidence that it’s Spring, but is Spring a new beginning? It might be the time when flowers start to open but those buds have been growing for months. So where does our yearly cycle really begin? I’ve never understood why January 1st should be a new beginning. The Winter Solstice would be more logical, or even our birthday. If it comes to it, do we have a natural yearly cycle or are our bodies governed by a monthly cycle, or a daily one... or should we be ‘living in the moment’?

These were questions that I threw at yesterday’s local Lapidus group. We had gathered in Leicester and, although I was leading the session, I still had the day put aside as well-earned ‘me-time’. I had spent most of last week with Rod at the specialist unit of London’s Royal Free Hospital. They told us that his chemotherapy treatment is to be extended for another two months. I was ready for my ‘me-time’.

The group agreed that they were influenced by a yearly cycle but none of the ones I had listed out. It was the academic year, with the end of the long summer holiday marking a new beginning in many people’s lives. We talked about seasons having smells and tastes. Smells are so evocative. They can take us back to long-ago events from similar times of the year but these memories are often negative. Would it not be better to live in the moment? By all means plan and prepare for future events but why do many of us mourn for the past, worry for the future and ruin the present? (ok, ok, so I'm talking about myself here!)

At this point I introduced out first writing exercise. We chose one moment from that morning before we met and we followed a simple format of listing the senses. I love these group writing sessions. They always produce as many ideas as there are people in the group. Our chosen moments ranged from a precious early morning cup of tea to an uninhibited dance in a rain-drenched garden.

The poem The Art of Blessing the Day by Marge Piercy inspired us to write our own words of appreciation for the small things in life. We blessed just about everything from the smooth satin lining of a much-loved jacket to a nice cup of tea... I could take a hint. We stopped for tea, biscuits, news, gossip and general chatter. My me-time had once again turned into me/we/tea time. I created this phenomenon in an earlier post and firmly believe that we all need it every now and then.

Before we rushed back to the real world I read a piece from the Strictly Writing Blog. Guest blogger, Tara L. Masih, talked of her father’s advice to always put positive, beautiful images into our minds because images never leave us. Once our vision processes a scene or picture, it is stored in our subconscious forever. Tara likened our minds to one big filing drawer that stretches to infinity. This is why she tries to avoid graphic violence on TV and film, likes to garden, go to art museums, and explore different places and cultures.

As I was reading, the group were nodding in agreement. We don’t want to waste space in our mental filing cabinets on negative thoughts and so we gathered up some positive thoughts to take away with us, like the feeling you get when you’re lost in a good book, or when you see an amazing sunset. For me it was my day with the local Lapidus group which has now been filed safely away in my mental filing cabinet under the letter p for positive.


  1. Talking & sharing with other writers is pretty special. I think we're pretty observant as a group - and yet we all perceive reality a little bit differently. Love it :)

  2. This is something that's troubled me for a long time... I usually get really depressed right around January, and it takes me until April or so to get over it. Living in the moment with a positive mental attitude may be just what I need. Thanks! :)

  3. Hi Jemi, I always enjoy meeting with other writers and yes, it's fascinating when we take the same writing exercises into such different directions.

    Hi Ben, I hope that a positive mental attitude will help although there is a condition called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which means that your body is suffering from a lack of light during January/February. You can get a special light box that comes on before your early morning alarm and it compensates in some way. So, along with the positive attitude approach, hopefully next year you can enjoy your January and February. I do hope that helps.

  4. I hate hate HATE when it gets dark around 3:30 pm - I just want to snuggle up under the covers.

    I find these days I'm waking up early, and I'm ready to go straight away. I'm much more productive in spring.

    The light box sounds fantastic!

  5. I'm waking up earlier now too and it's lovely to still have the sun shining at 6 pm.

  6. Have always loved the idea of Blessing. Reading your blog I was taken back to the film “Fiddler on the roof” the scene where someone says “Is there a Blessing for the Tsar”....

    Well, not from me but on waking each morning I love to Bless the day ahead.

    I googled ‘Living in the Moment’ and found some wonderful insights into the Buddhist tradition. I know when I practise ‘mindfulness’ I have experienced beautiful moments of stillness and contentment. Regarding the light box there are also day light bulbs for SAD that fit into an ordinary table lamp – I have one and it helps but still longing for long hot sunny light days.
    Rifka M.

  7. I'd forgotten about that line about blessing the Tsar. How funny and thanks Rifka for the additional info about SAD.