I think that this season, this time of year, the Easter weekend, just might be the most sacred rhythm of it all. All around the world there are ancient, religious + non-religious celebrations to welcome the new season. Spring is light, energy, life, rebirth. But, it is only one part of the deep, earthy rhythm of the seasons. I am reminded, with each celebration of spring of the cycle of life, how, if I had not been through the darkness of winter, I would not be ready to fully embrace and welcome spring. What I am saying is, I need to drop into the full cycle of life – including surrender + death – in order to truly experience life. And this weekend, this season, Easter, invites me to do just that.
That makes this a deeply meaningful and spiritual time of year. And I want to share all of my Easter thoughts with you.
It’s not news that we find ourselves right at the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. But, spring did not just pop out one day. It is a slow, exhausting, confusing transition. And the transition from winter to spring means that the seasons overlap. At first glance, it may not look or feel much like spring where I live (or where you live), but it is most definitely not winter anymore. And the one thing that consistently reminds me of that fact (as the cold winds still blow and the snow still falls every few days or so) is the light. The glorious, ever-growing daylight. Sunrise and sunset have shifted, making daylight in Sweden longer than 12 hours – already! Those cold, dark, December days of only 5 hours of daylight are long gone. The sun reminds me every single day that winter has passed. Spring is arriving.
But, is a long, slow, unfolding. A back + forth, to be sure. And it can be super frustrating. This process. But, I deeply believe that it is a sacred rhythm that we experience when we align with and drop into the seasons.
This weekend, around the world, people are celebrating the coming of spring with its gifts of light, energy, life, and rebirth. Now is the time of resurrection. But, to be blunt, there is no resurrection without death. There is no spring without summer, autumn, and winter. And, I believe that if we want to truly experience the joy and hope and beauty of spring, then we will find a way to drop into the flow of the cycle of life. If we really want to rise to a higher way of living, then we will be willing to drop down into the dark shadows of our souls.
The dark night, the winter, the wilderness, grief, shadows, and release are all part of the rhythm of life. We see it in the phases of the moon, the cycles of the seasons, and in our own lives. In truth, we cannot avoid any of it. Life is cyclical. And death + dying must take place for something new to emerge.
Nothing that has not died will be resurrected. C.S. Lewis
Even though I do not practice a specific religion at this point in my life, my roots are in the Methodist denomination. A Christian denomination grounded in rituals, liturgy, gathering, and learning. But, also inspired to serve through social works of mercy, grace, acceptance, and justice. This time of year, this weekend, is the celebration and remembrance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Today, I look to the stories of Jesus as an example of humility, surrender, wisdom, and possibility. I look to the often forgotten or under-appreciated women of the past as examples of bravery, commitment, wildness, and power. In all of them, I find inspiration to accept all of life, to flow with the of it all, to stand steadfast in who I am, and to always remember that there is a bigger vision and meaning than what I may see in the moment.
On Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (today) Jesus and the women around him dare to drop down into rhythm of it all. In the face of betrayal, persecution, grief, sorrow, abandonment, and death they simply remain. Humble and trusting the process… that death leads to new life.
Today I feel the pull to pause for one more moment to ponder the sacred rhythm of it all. No matter what religion I have or don’t have, no matter what spirituality inspires my life, nature shows me the rhythm of it all in the changing of the seasons The universe also shows me the rhythms as the earth revolves around the sun and as the moon cycles the earth.
I need the story of the spiritual darkness of today – the day that Jesus lay dead in the tomb – to ponder all of the cycles of my life. I need this pause before bursting into spring. I need the most sacred rhythm of death, burial, and resurrection in order to pass over into something new.
So, what do I need to let die in my life in order for something new to grow? If I follow nature, the seasons, the moon, and many religious/spiritual stories from around the world, then to rise to something higher I need to be willing to surrender, release, and die.
New life is breaking forth all around me. Spring is arriving. Life + light are returning to the earth. And, today, I take one more deep breath in the silence of the darkness of the Easter story to remember the journey that has brought me here. Without all of the seasons, without the pain and suffering, without the death and grief, I would not be ready for this upcoming spring. I would not be who I am and who I am becoming.
The rhythm of Easter gives me the courage, inspiration, and hope to embrace and drop into the sacredness of all of life.
And now, I am ready for spring.