The cycle of dormancy and awakening is fascinating, isn’t it?
In the physical realm, we see the changing of seasons as a perfect example of this. Metaphorically, we see it too. Our lives are, in my experience, a continual cycle of moving from states of emotional and intellectual dormancy into times of awakening and growth.
Spring is arriving in my backyard, in the mountains of Colorado, finally.
Physically and metaphorically it has been a long winter, and I find myself admiring fresh green shoots of budding life and craving a deeper and more abundant sense of bloom within my own soul. I feel my own spring season is close by, and yet inviting it in isn’t always so easy.
When we lie dormant in our lives, we are still living, but we are in a stage of limited growth. We spend the winters of our life regrouping, replenishing, and readying ourselves to bloom again, and that’s sometimes painful.
Dormancy for me has meant being open to certain truths about my life and about myself. It has meant accepting the facts, forgiving myself for shortcomings and for the shortcomings of others in my life who affect me, and being content to settle under layers of soil, which I know I will push through, and past, once I can muster the strength to bloom again.
In our dormant periods, we may feel as though nothing is happening, our circumstances aren’t changing, and we aren’t growing. And yet, without our winters, we could never be ready for spring.
And now, the angle of the sun is striking me differently, the days are warmer and the nights lack the bitter chill of winter; life is returning to my mountainside and the wildlife around me are excited for another season of bounty and reproduction. The vibrations around me are different too; people, things, and my own heartbeat feel lighter, ready to burst through the confines of our soil and display ourselves in a self-expressive bloom of color and scent.
Spring is coming, and I’m ready for it.
This week, amidst the excitement and fluttering in my heart at the thought of spring’s progressive arrival, I was reminded of a book I have read at least a dozen times.
I’ve turned to this book often for the courage to move through many stages of my life, and it always holds some new wisdom for me with each read.
It is the book I recommend most to friends and family, and those struggling to bloom. I read it again this week in anticipation of spring arriving in full-bloom and the casting off of my own soul’s dormancy, and it didn’t fail me in providing new depths of inspiration.
The Monk of Lantau by Mann Matharu is a short story describing the journey of Matthew, an average Londoner, a family man, and a person intent on the normal pursuits of life: career, retirement, income, and a better life. Awakening his soul’s purpose and passion are not on that list, but then again, we don’t always know we’re sleeping, do we?
In exquisite “arm chair travel” detail, his story traverses Europe, the Middle East and Asia as he searches for a healer to restore his young daughter, who is fighting for her life. As his journey progresses towards finding the healer he is sure will be able to help him, the obstacles he faces are nothing compared to the journey he unknowingly embarks on into the depths of his own soul.
In essence, Matthew is brought through winter and into a bountiful spring of his life he could never have imagined for himself.
The lessons Matthew learns are as unique to his dormancy as they are universal milestones on our collective path towards becoming fully awake: finding courage to take first steps; letting go of anger, resentment and guilt; embracing our connectedness with all life; and becoming comfortable receiving gifts from others with gratitude and humility.
As Matthew learns, when we are awake, in the spring of our life, we are each powerful creators of our own unique, bountiful life stories.
Here are some selected quotes from this beautiful story:
“Don’t look to others to find yourself.”
“Let the past be your guide, not your destination.”
“I realized I’d been holding my breath, and found relief in finally exhaling.”
“The weight of holding hostage in my heart all those who had wronged me over the years was no longer tying me down. In its place was a cavernous opening of hope and fluttering of delight at how good it felt to have pardoned so many that day for their past crimes against me…I rested quietly in the new-found peace that came with it, vowing to never again collect the weight of unforgiveness and unrequited penance from those who wronged me.”
“No way exists to open our minds and hearts more completely than the inherent chasm of understanding which is created through stepping outside our comfort zone and being present in the reality of another person.”
“Sometimes in our life and work, we are the fishermen, working and preparing and slaving to make ends meet for those we care for. But sometimes, we also have to let ourselves be the fish. We have to give whatever we have to meet the immediate needs of those who need it, like the fish who give their lives to sustain and nourish others.”
“Each of us is interlocked with an undeniable creative energy that constitutes the world around us. You are an irreplaceable part of the whole.”
“Every opportunity, every step, every moment, every day, we are given chances and choices to swallow pride, to give ourselves in service to others…Of equal importance, we have chances to accept help from others. Had I declined Dev’s offer, I would have been taking away from the blessing that would be his by giving to another. I would have, in essence, robbed him of an opportunity to give.”
“Giving of ourselves puts us in a position of humility to receive; our receiving spurs us to desire to give back more, and the cycle continues. We are all—human, beast, and bug—connected.”
I do hope you will consider reading this book in its full form. The author, Mann Matharu, is a brilliant storyteller with a mindful, attuned style reminiscent of the best of Paulo Coelho, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mitch Albom.
May you enjoy awakening to the spring in your own life, and may it be more abundant than you could ever imagine.
Author: Monica LaSarre
Editor: Sara Kärpänen