The symbolic language of the crucifixion is the death of the old paradigm; resurrection is a leap into a whole new way of thinking. ~Deepak Chopra
We all want to change the world. It is something intrinsic to the human condition to always be seeking for better conditions; more light, more love. Whenever we perceive suffering it is our instinct to heal it, fix it, help; this impulse is both altruistic and self-serving simultaneously, for who among us feels truly free knowing that another is down and hurting? Or as Solomon Burke put it, “None of us are free, one of us is chained.”
But suffering is not only a part of life, it is critical to the tapestry of what it means to be fully realized. We are built for growth, and growth can be awkward, messy and painful; still we come through it better equipped and more finely honed. Yes, we all want to change the world, but as Ghandi ACTUALLY said: “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.”
Resurrection is a leap into a whole new way of thinking. So how do we change ourselves?
Yes, we can eat more healthfully, exercise, meditate, go into therapy, read meaningful books…and for some people, all of that would be suffering enough! But the real suffering that is unavoidable in this world…loss, heartbreak, disease, betrayal…these are the legendary trials-by-fire that give us the opportunity to rise like the mythic Phoenix. Our challenges are our greatest lessons and teachers.
But it is not all about “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Rebirth is something that happens to us throughout our lives as rites of passage are observed: in puberty the child dies to allow the adolescent to emerge; in marriage the single focus dies to allow a partnership; in becoming a parent self-prioritizing dies to make way for open-hearted nurturing. An old self falls away and a new one is born; all major life events become a gateway to rebirth, resurrection.
Spring is traditionally thought of as a time of renewal and so our theme for the month of April had to be “resurrection”. From the bleak, stark depths of winter we still can smell the freshly turned soil; we still can imagine the green shoots poking out from the earth to be greeted by the swell of birdsong. We carry a spring within us through our darkest days.
I have been going through an extended “rough patch” in my life and was recently commiserating with a friend who is experiencing the same; as friends do, we made each other laugh and view our troubles from a different (and healthier) perspective. At some point I said, “It is important to remember how good it is to be alive!” To which he responded, “Sometimes”. And I said, “No ALL the time. But SOMETIMES, we forget.”
My Dad taught me this when he was dying; even as his body failed him, he persisted in saying, “Every day is a good day!” When he has lost the ability to eat or drink, his hospice nurse told us to wet a washcloth for him to suck on to keep his mouth moist. Pop, being the indomitable spirit that he was, would give us a sly look when we removed the washcloth from his mouth and say, “Good booze.”
My Father demonstrated that joy is available in suffering; it is available in dying and even in grief, as they are flip sides of the same coin. We come through our challenges to a whole new way of thinking. We turn another page in life and we are resurrected once more to continue teaching, growing and learning. We are evergreen, if only we can remember to celebrate all that life has caused us to become.
Shareen and I want to wish our wonderful readers a happy spring and happy resurrection! We welcome many contributors new and old to share their thoughts and stories on the topic of rebirth, renewal and re-emergence; as always I am humbled by the beauty and vulnerability these talented people bring to the table.
You say you want a resurrection; a chance to begin again, a chance to evolve, a chance to change the world. Well, here it is! Every day is a good day when you remember it is good to be alive. Every day is a new chance when you remember that you are evergreen.