“I said to the sun, ‘Tell me about the big bang.’ The sun said, ‘it hurts to become.”

-Andrea Gibson

The sounds of spring are stirring in the air tonight. The delightful dripping that says the snow is finally melting. A hush of lingering light that promises more as the days lengthen. A soft thrum from the earth that speaks of the life in preparation beneath. They are beautiful sounds. Sounds of hope and new life to come.

I have been thinking about life, death, and rebirth cycles lately. I love the idea of the rebirth that comes after something has been released and allowed to end. A flaming phoenix rising from the ashes of demise.

The transformations that come after intense conflicts in our lives which encourage us to make positive change that takes us to the next step in our journey. A chrysalis followed by the butterflied flap of new wings. The life getting ready to spring up after incubating in the decay of fall all winter long.

New springs make my heart so happy I find myself celebrating each day with flowered dresses, colorful tights, and giant bows on pastel headbands that turn me into a walking floral goddess of spring, a regular Alaskan Prosperina skipping through the slush and welcoming the first signs of new life.

People ask me why I am so dressed up. I simply tell them “springtime is here.” Longer days, sun light, bright tights. Enough said.

What is harder and sadder to contemplate is the loss, the release, the cessation, the death, the leave takings that precede new beginnings. Endings come in many forms from the quiet acknowledgement which gently nudges us into accepting that a chapter is closing, to the rupturing heartbreak that leaves a path of wreckage and destruction in our lives as we huddle among the ashen remains and wonder how anything will ever be okay again?

Yes, Andrea Gibson said it well. Sometimes it does indeed hurt to become.

Though it has the potential for exquisite transformation, letting go comes with the price of pain. And how we like to avoid pain by constructing illusions of security as we bargain with the Universe in an effort to avoid change, reassuring ourselves that this moment will last forever though we know it won’t.

We cannot bear to contemplate the loss of something, so instead of embracing change we throw up rigid walls against it in an effort to convince ourselves that the current now is a permanent state, when the truth is that the only thing permanent is impermanence.

Usually the harder we are trying to hang onto something and resist change, the more likely it is we should release and let go.

I am reminded of this everywhere I look these days. The old Dog who I desperately hope will keep me company for the next few years, but whose raspy breathing raises concerns and makes me grateful for each morning I still wake up to his wagging tail and exuberant licks.

The passage of winter to spring which will bring an ugly collage of mud, slush, dirt, and puddles before the true beauty of green limbs will finally blossom. The goodbyes you said to the past in order to make space for an unknown future where you could become, though you did not know what becoming would look like at the time.

The strong friend with the courageous heart who chose herself over relationship by saying, I love you but I can no longer do this, for loving you is hurting too much and love is not supposed to hurt like this.

The friend who sat across from you at lunch today who told that the battle is not going in his favor and the tumors are continuing to multiply. You watch his hand shake as he raises his glass of water to his lips and speaks of his beautiful wife and young daughter, and you wonder why the world works in the way it does sometimes?

You are humbled at the fortitude in him as he tells you about the time last month he clamped his jaw down and bore the pain so he could take his daughter to Disneyland for just one day, and that he is now taking the time to have lunch with an old friend despite the obvious pain he is in.

In that moment, you are aware that you are sitting across from one of the bravest men you have ever known for you see him actively living in a way that embraces life despite the challenges that are ravaging his body. You tell him that yes, you believe he will see his wife and daughter again someday and they will all be together and there love will go on. You sit there praying for a miracle and wonder what metamorphosis can possibly come from such devastation.

I cannot answer those bigger questions tonight. I can only sit here with a quiet, thoughtful heart and consider the leave takings life sometimes puts in our path. It crosses my mind that it is easy to get stuck in the leave taking, the loss, the death. Some people spend their entire lives mourning what could have been.

Some people spend their lives in denial and avoidance of the pain of the road not taken and miss LIVING the road they are currently on. I wish to be neither for I wish to become, even if that means walking straight through the pain in order to break your heart so wide open you emerge into a deeper and more brilliant love for yourself, the world, your life, for others, when you reach the other side.

My thoughts turn back to the new beginnings taking place in the earth and the air, and I consider the new beginnings inside of myself. How I now wake up every day with a sense of gratitude for the sacred wonder in our world. How acknowledging and grieving our losses allows us to walk along our paths with our arms wide open as we gather up all the beautiful moments we can and simply cherish them for what they are.

A divine gift, which we can honor in the way we choose to live our lives. Like my friend. I know not why his gift may end sooner than I think it should, but I do know he embraces life and honors this gift every single day he is here. We should all be so brave.

My prayer for myself is that I simply try and accept my leave takings as they come with grace, dignity, and an open heart; allow myself to continue becoming; and embrace the rebirth that comes after loss for there will always be a new spring.

I believe one could spend a lifetime answering this prayer.

It would be a life of becoming.

It would be a life very, very well spent.