By March, I sometimes feel as if I am marching through winter. It has been cold long enough that the novelty of snow boots and mittens has worn off. Sledding, skiing, and skating have been fun but navigating the ice from the house to the barn for my daily farm chores gets wearing. March marks one long year of quarantining and social distancing, and it’s still an altered way of life we are required to continue. I noticed, however, that the purple and yellow crocuses have already bloomed in my yard — hope springs eternal just when you need it most!
The official flower for March is a daffodil and I see their thick green stems poking through the earth already announcing that spring has sprung. March’s birthstones are aquamarine and bloodstone. These stones symbolize courage. It’s up to you to call upon the courage right now to start going forward to create the future that you want, individually and as a collective society. This is a fresh new year, replete with new experiences and opportunities. It’s amazing to think that you have two choices as to how you move forward into this new phase: with determination to choose love or resignation to accept less.
Courage and gratitude should be your focus as we march into this new year, somewhat weary of being cooped up and feeling anxious at this novel time in our history. How do you literally spring into spring? We need to come into the present moment where life is happening. Release thoughts of the past and fears for the future. As an English proverb describes March, it roars in like a lion with unpredictable weather, COVID, pessimistic media reports, political conflict, etc. That leaves it to each of us to create the yin to the yang of this time of year and to find our own peace amidst the chaos. You can do this by taking a deep breath, holding it for four counts and then breathing out twice as long. This stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for ‘resting and digesting’ by putting the brake on the fight or flight response and helping the body relax and be calm.
You can get to this place any time you want by coming into the present moment. If you need more than breath to get here, think about your hand. Literally shift your thoughts to focus on your hand and you will notice that swirl of thoughts about the past and future dissolve! You can’t be in your mind and your body at the same time. It’s a cool trick to help you get out of your continuous thoughts and into the here and now. This gives your body a much needed break from stress and your mind the ability to relax. When you’re in this state you open yourself to possibility and opportunities arise. You not only realize them in this state, you can also take advantage of them and help them become a reality.
Everyone has felt some level of overwhelm in the past 12 months but if this feeling has become a constant companion, or you find yourself repeating a statement such as, “I’m at my breaking point,” you are escorting your thoughts down a path toward languishing. Don’t give negativity that power over yourself. Instead, move beyond and literally turn your thoughts around, replacing the negative ones with positive ones such as, “I can do this!” “I am capable!” “I am strong and courageous!” Positive affirmations help you take your personal power back and replace negative thinking. There is a tremendous amount of science to back up the benefits of positivity, including a stronger immune system, better psychological and physical well-being, and better coping skills. And the amazing thing is you can do this by changing your thoughts! You can rewire your brain to overcome negative thinking. It just takes practice.
It is tremendously important for you to monitor your own level of well-being and maintain consistency with your thoughts that impact how you feel that, in turn, determines how you act and even behave within your relationships. For parents and educators this is important as they model for children how to best manage difficult situations, roadblocks, and challenges in life.
As you march into 2021 with new opportunities, and inevitable challenges, it’s important that you are consistent as well as congruent with your communication to your children, your loved ones, and others. Every one of us has a tremendous opportunity to show how to best grow through difficulty. You might think you’re doing it but then be inconsistent in your messaging or how you communicate and be sending the wrong essence. Your thoughts must match your words and actions. If they don’t, you are not being consistent in your messaging.
The key to happiness and flourishing is living in the here and now as much as possible and being consistent in your thoughts, feelings, and actions as well as practicing gratitude and focusing on what you have, rather than what you lack or have lost. You will then be able to flourish just like the dainty spring flowers that are nourished by the soil and bloom with resilience. Choose to focus on love and view this time as a reawakening to a more positive and regenerative mindset.