Tapping into the power of spring

“Since everything is sacred, staying close to what is sacred is a matter of presence and attention more than travel to some secret place. In essence, staying close is a pilgrimage to the heart of where we are. Since it is we who lose our directness of living, our task is often to restore that freshness of being alive. How do we stray on and off the path of what matters? How do we befriend the life of obstacles? How do we find a home between suffering and loving the world? How do we help each other respond to the invitation to grow? “ 

Mark Nepo

It’s spring.  There are multiple invitations to grow all around us, even though here in the Midwest it seems like winter wants to hang on a wee bit more just in case we might forget!

I feel the urge to cleanse, to open up, and to expand into new life.  I like that about this season here.  It’s so different from winter.  The contrasts wake me up.  The lake I live near is no longer frozen.  The ground is exposed as the piles of snow no longer provide cover. The migrating birds are calling – the loons, geese, the crane. The fishermen are now on the banks of the lake rather than sitting on pails on the ice. The early flowers are sprouting and blooming.  Children are shedding their coats to run free.  Nature in all forms yearns to express itself, to dance and sing and wiggle off the winter protections.

Then we hear of another act of violence.  And as we open our hearts to the people in Boston and around the world who have died or are injured, we are shocked and stunned again at the senselessness of human beings turning against human beings.  While we might have an fear reaction to pull back, this comes in direct opposition to our natural urge to grow and open up.   And while we of course need to be in charge of our safety, if we want to be wholehearted human beings we need to find ways to respond to the deep sorrows and the joys in the rhythms of life.  Sometimes this might feel like it’s asking a lot of us.  “How do we find a home between suffering and loving the world?”

During my yoga class this morning as I was holding this question, an image of the river of life came to me.  It was contained by the banks of compassion and wisdom – compassion for the pain and sorrows we experience as part of our vulnerable and fragile nature; and the wisdom of understanding that with love and care, we’re empowered to respond to Natures’ call for growth, for wholehearted living, and for opening to our creativity.  Without our creative response, we can’t make our contribution of love, we can’t develop an environment for positive action in the world, we can’t expect that life will be any different.  We need to own our creative power to make the  changes necessary for the best in us and in life to be revealed.

As an example of making a contribution of love through creative response, there is a village in India that plants 111 trees for each girl that is born there.  They have been doing this for the last 10 years and have planted a quarter million trees that support the community in a variety of ways.  The collective action directly challenges a deep cultural attitude that places women at lower status and power.  This sustained action is a bold creative empowering choice that is producing many beneficial long term results for girls, woman and men.  Go here for the article.

So it’s Spring and we get to decide how to respond to renewed life, new experiences, the next challenge for us and whatever else comes along.

  • What in you wants to be expressed this spring season?
  • What is calling for your attention as you attend to life around you?
  • What actions are in your power to take as your contribution to love and life?

About the author

Suzanne Kilkus

Suzanne Kilkus is a Soto Zen meditation practitioner and teacher and has practiced as a therapist and counselor for over three decades. She is dedicated to assisting people in expanding their capacity for giving and receiving love, and for recognizing and expressing their basic goodness in everyday life. Her path to live with wholehearted compassion and care is an invitation to everyone. She is a teacher with Open Door Zen Community in Madison, WI.

3 Responses to Tapping into the power of spring

  • Suzanne Kilkus


  • Lisa Becker

    I was wondering if you knew of a web-site that has daily meditations? I have found a few but lack substance. Or if you have a book to reccommend?

    Thanks for being you,

    Lisa Becker

    • Suzanne Kilkus

      Hi Lisa, thanks for your question.  It sounds like you’re looking for something to come to your email daily.  I don’t know what your preference is, but ..

      • here is a site that I like: http://www.gratefulness.org (sends quotes to contemplate).  (sends a quote and an resource of some sort to ponder.
      • A couple of books I use regularly are: A Year of Living Consciously by Gay Hendricks (readings for each day and suggested action to carry through the theme) and The Awakening Book by Mark Nepo (daily brief reading and a meditation practice).

      Hope these help.
      Take care.