Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~ Thomas Blackburn
I am bewitched by the transformative spirit of spring this year and cannot help but behold the changes I see at every turn with reverence and delight. The seasonal metamorphoses in the natural world – the budding trees, the growing and greening grasses – are but the stage upon which the minds of men take shape as creative influences near and far compel new approaches to age-old problems. Yet their influence laps quietly, rhythmically and irrepressibly upon the shores of their minds, gently reminding all who listen of the ever-present natural cycles in which the body of mankind is cradled.
Change is one of the great constants of life. Forms of life come and go, possessing useful lives of varying durations, but the life which animates these forms springs irrepressibly forth with ancient gladness. While speaking with a friend recently about his evolving business interests, we noted the importance of not becoming attached overly to the forms – the corporate entities he had established thus far – but instead to keep his eye on the vision he held that drives him to do what he does. His particular vision, that of catalyzing a transformation in health care, is analogous to life itself, for it is the constant around which the forms he uses to clothe that vision will rightly and naturally come and go.
To mistake the particular manifestation or form of life for its source is a fatal, but common flaw in thinking. The manifestations of life move through natural cycles of conception, gestation, generation and ascension or decay, and those who center their identity (or their “treasure” as it was once put) in the fleeting manifestation will find themselves at sea.
Conversely, one who sees beyond the form and into the heart of life itself can appreciate and rejoice in the life that was lived, revealed and magnified by the particular manifestation he held dearly. Those who live more superficially will invariably interpret the change as a loss, a terrible thing to be mourned and regretted. Whether the form is a person, company, chapter in life or relationship, it is important to see beyond the appearance and to connect with the source of its manifestation above all else.
Life, in this sense, is eternal. Retraining yourself to emphasize this underlying reality will transform your life, allowing you to fling off sadness and rejoice in ancient gladness as the forms around you naturally come and go, like the seasons that mark the passing of each year, in 4/4 time.