I’m moving quickly down the wet trail. My heart is beating fast, my body pumping the cool air in and out my lungs, my feet shuffling to avoid rocks and roots. I occasionally turn my head back to check on Maple, our sweet dog. She used to run ahead of me, but now, as she ages, lingers behind. I’m wearing a thin long sleeve shirt and shorts. Spring has arrived!
In a certain way, it feels sudden. The days are noticeably longer and everyone seems to feel more energized. People are talking about spring break, and summer plans, and gardening. There’s an excitement in the air.
But the reality is, this pivot into spring has been building steadily over the days and weeks since late December. Each day an incremental change has been at play. A few extra minutes of daylight every day add up over the weeks.
We see this same effect at work in our Heartseed office; a watershed moment when it’s clear that something has changed seems to come suddenly. This can show up as somebody who comes in describing how they responded to a difficult situation with grace, or navigated conflict with their partner in a way that felt heartful and loving. Sometimes they’re totally aware that this is a significant shift from old patterns, but other times, because these changes have been slow and gradual, we have to point out that maybe something new is happening. (I’ll often ask if they think they would have responded to this same situation in the same way 6-12 months ago. It’s amazing to watch their faces light up as they reflect on the changes).
Life is funny in this way. “All of the sudden” our little baby is 4.5 years old and a big sister. Yes, we live day by day, but there’s this sense that it all occurs in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, this strange way of perceiving life sometimes skews how we spend our time and where we invest our energy. It’s easy to avoid things that seem “too big” or “too difficult,” not because we can’t do the incremental work required, but because it’s hard (in the moment) to see that it takes small incremental steps to reach the end result.
There are many reasons people shy away from doing the internal and relational work that grant us more freedom, strength, and joy in life. People are afraid of change and unsure about how to do it. It seems like too big a task. And, it involves moving into unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable territory. But none of us have to do this alone (none of can do this alone, even if we try). And yet, when we heal ourselves, we’re able to align with our purpose and cultivate stronger partnerships, families, and communities. We all want that. And it’s worth effort.
Everyday counts. But you don’t have to do it all in one day.
That run I described was a 3 mile run, a far cry from the 13.1 miles I plan to run this summer (that’s a half-marathon for anyone confused by the strangely precise number). Most of my runs this time of year are 2 miles. I don’t want to miss the precious morning time with the kiddos. Incremental steps. Slow and steady growth. Little changes.
Now is an excellent time to leverage the expansive and growthful energy of the spring to make the shifts you need. If you feel at all intimidated, remember that life happens one moment at a time and that heart-centered, body-based, relational processes happen one week at time.
And while we may not notice each day becoming brighter, we know that with time, we see big shifts.