During the last week of 2018, I traveled from sunny, warm Los Angeles, California to wintery Owego, New York. As the doors of the airport slid open, a blast of frigid air hit me square in the face. My eyes immediately begin to water uncontrollably.
I loved it.
Everything around me was frozen, gray and bare. The sky was gray, the ground was gray, the trees were gray.
I grabbed a coffee in town and fell into an easy conversation with an Owego resident. She is a born and raised Owego boomerang who has lived there for over thirty years. She shared with me how this winter has been one of the toughest for her in a long time because the sun hadn’t come out in over three months. I told her I lived in Los Angeles, where the sun shined practically year round. She paused, contemplating her response and then replied, “Yeah, I think I’ll take this rough patch we’re having here instead.”
‘How easy it is to love the green and how challenging it is to love the gray’, I thought to myself. Perhaps more accurately would be to say “enjoy the gray,” because my new friend clearly had a love, or at least an appreciation for it, even though she currently wasn’t enjoying that much.
It made me think of how necessary it is that our lives are cyclical. We need the gray to have the green. We need the green to have the gray. We don’t exactly “enjoy” the gray times, but we know, deep within our souls, that the most powerful, magical lessons of our lives are gifted to us during the gray times. They’re tough. gray times force us to deepen our roots and strengthen our bark. We learn to stand taller and how to not let the weather bend or break us. We are not meant to stay stagnant. We are designed to grow, evolve and become greater versions of ourselves with every season.
In this period of January resolutions, how often do we fall back on focusing on all the things we want to bring in (the green) at the expense of honoring the things we are willing to leave behind (the gray)?
Take time this winter to pause and allow yourself to fully release the golden leaves of past experiences in your life. Envision them gently floating away from your branches to dissolve and integrate into becoming the rich soil and strong foundation of everything you want to create and experience. Nothing is ever a failure. Nothing is ever a wasted effort. Past experiences are there to strengthen your foundation and help push the tender shoots of your dreams to the surface.
Always remember the promise of spring. We sometimes have gray seasons in our lives that feel as if they will never end. But keep moving forward with hope and excitement.
… and keep an eye out for the green!