Where I live the weather in the spring time of year is always unpredictable. The moods of Mother Nature vacillate from warm and balmy to arctic winter blasts, sometimes alternating several times in the same day.
Each year is the same story, and yet each year I find myself surprised and vaguely disappointed when the sun disappears behind ominous clouds that begin taking over the whole sky and chilly drops start falling on the already overly-saturated ground.
Soon enough, "true" spring will arrive, last for a good week or so, then we'll be dumped straight into the heat of a summer set to full-blast.
That's how it goes in my neck of the woods.
As the wheel turns and the season begins shifting toward life-blooming, blossoming, leafing greenness, winter is straining to hold its weakening grip.
She just won't die gracefully- she goes kicking and screaming, tossing frigid rainstorms and windy gusts against the windowpanes like fitful tantrums.
Then, like an old woman suffering from emphysema, she sighs heavily, her lungs rattling, and simmers back down, allowing the radiant young spring to dance blissful and barefoot through the soggy lawns, sprinkling yellow dandelions like grass seed over the neighborhoods as tiny save-the-dates for the coming sunshine.
I find myself unwilling to put away my heavier sweaters, or even my wool coat.
I'm suspicious of the golden glow outside my front door, and don't trust it will last the day.
I'm in that terrible phase- layering.
They go with me everywhere, those layers.
I carry them in my shoulder bag, drape them over my roller case, stash them in my car, and growl when I discover they've been left behind.
My layers are protective in this uncertain time as the seasons battle it out for dominance.
They shield me from the bitter mornings and keep me from getting too deep a chill if the rain happens to reach me as I dash from one shelter to the next.
But they weigh me down, slow my progress, and very often end up being rather unnecessary as the temperatures continue their steady rise.
Speaking our truth is the shedding of the layers.
After spending years developing their strength and versatility, we know how to best wear our layers. But no matter how we decorate them, no matter the comfort they provide, they cover.
Covering is their function.
It's not a bad function, but it was for then.
In order to grow, to become, we must emerge.
In order to emerge, we must break free of the layers.
Those coverings that provided warmth can become prisons if we do not honor the seasons within ourselves.
The safety nets we string with care can strangle us if we remain lying in them too long.
Nothing constricted is allowed to flow, and it is precisely in the flow where new waters can inhabit and cleanse us-
of fear, of self-doubt, and paralysis.
If you've ever watched a butterfly emerge, and I have, it can be a real test of your patience. They take their time.
There is no rush, and every move is slight, nearly imperceptible.
But the emerging happens nonetheless, and once it does, the butterfly does not linger any longer than it takes her fragile wings to dry.
She does not mourn the loss of her cocoon, her layer.
She does not store it away for later, nor does she wrap it around herself when she encounters disapproving fellow butterflies.
Her shelter served its function- a sanctuary for her necessary transformation, and now it's time to move on.
She has so many places to flutter about, sweet nectar to taste, and it will all be over so quickly.
Sanctuary is one of my favorite words.
The thing is, with sanctuaries- you don't live in them.
You commune with the Divine in them, then leave them to live your very real life, carrying the bread and wine in your belly as spiritual nourishment for your journey.
We may feel a squirming- against constraints we've woven.
Does the cocoon feel tight rather than protective and comforting?
The walls of that self-formed sanctuary are narrowing.
On the one hand, to become visible is to be exposed
and vulnerable to potential criticism and judgment.
But the other possibility...