In the Midwest, where I live, we suffered an eternal winter. Our first snow came in late October and while there is a possibility of snow this very week, for the most part, spring has arrived. We can actually see green everywhere, in our lawns where only scant bits of snow remain, in our planters, in places all around our community. I must say I have marveled more at the ability of things to grow and blossom this year because the ground has been frozen and covered in such a deep layer of snow for so many months. I had forgotten what lay dormant under all that seemed to be frozen forever.
As I was enjoying the promise of the green plants that will ultimately flower soon, I was reminded of the miracle of resiliency. Just when we think we cannot grow through any problem that we might be facing, we read a quote in a book or hear a song that suddenly triggers hope within us. We are able to move into action, shedding the weight of what we’ve carried and trying again to find our way to resolution of whatever was troubling us. Where does resiliency come from? Can we do anything to suffer less, knowing that the winter of our pain will end and new beginnings will come again?
One thing that helps during the times when everything is bleak and barren is to surround ourselves with visual images of spring. The brain stores memory through our visual images. In fact, if you want to create a memory or memorize something, visualize it in as much detail, in color, as you can. This works for studying, for holding onto a precious experience, for anything really. Just close your eyes for a moment and bring forth a favorite memory of a happier time. You will feel the flood of chemicals that are released and your mood will instantly change.
What we forget too often in the times of our emotional crises is the power of using our minds to remember spring. Think about how much you enjoy movies. It is a combination of many factors that hold your attention: music, actors, the dialogue, etc. Most of all, however, it is the visual experience, all staged, that hold it all together. It is the lighting, the views, the perspective that makes all other parts come alive. Your own brain is a treasure chest of movies. Replay them and watch how you feel.
So, when you are stuck in seeing only the bleak landscape of winter, retrieve a memory of spring. Watch a movie that you have associated with hope and inspiration and you will find your mood lifted and your possibilities opening. Underneath what is overwhelming is a resilient mind that will always find again, spring and new beginnings.