It’s spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, the lush green and unfurling blossoms symbols of hope renewed and the radiant expression of life itself. And yet, the paradox of this season is all I feel is heartache.
So much death has hit my communities. Shock, and bad news reverberate through our being. There’s a new crisis in the news every day, each seemingly bigger than the next. I can’t take it anymore, I’m needing to spend less time online than I already do (which isn’t much to begin with).
As my birthday nears, instead of the excitement of planning a spring-time party, I’m spending time paying respect to the List Of Dreams That Didn’t Happen. Those dreams that were certain to be fulfilled by the young, hopeful, idealist by the time she was (almost) 40.
What does one do with their list of unlived dreams? What does it mean to feel like you haven’t fulfilled your destiny – and what is destiny, anyway? This is on my mind as I prepare for my birthday coming up in a few days.
Plato, the famed philosopher and writer was the first in the modern western world to popularize the idea of having a destiny. That is the idea (or some say myth) that we are each born with a path waiting for us to fulfill. A calling. A mission. Something that gives our life meaning and feels like a soul’s calling, and once lived out, enriches us with a deep sense of satisfaction.
Though, the more I ponder the idea of destiny in my morning writing practice, the more I wonder if our destiny – if we indeed are each born with one – isn’t so much about the external doing of how we live our life, but more on how we are being in our life.
The disease of our modern world is the hyper-focus on productivity, performance, achievement and “adding value” by Doing. But, the older I get the more I wonder if the truth of our destiny lies in how we live through each moment. How we endure each heartbreak or loss. What we do with the terribleness of life when we meet it. And how we can keep devoted to the mystery and beauty of life, even in the face of suffering and loss.
It’s no wonder I’m feeling all of this at this time of year. Beltane, the traditional holiday celebrated May 1st is the time of year we welcome the flush of summer finally beginning. Six months across the calendar sits Samhain, October 31st, the season that celebrates death as an integral phase of life before regeneration. Both of these seasons are cycles within the sacred wheel of life. They are partners – not mere opposites – holding our cosmos together through their dynamic tension. We cannot have one without the other.
Mystics, seers and healers have always regarded these two seasons as times when the veils were thinnest between this life and the afterlife. Autumn, Samhain, the season when life dies to be reborn. Spring, Beltane, the season that celebrates birth. Because of the high concentration of soul’s coming and going, the veils being thinnest, these seasons are also regarded as times of initiation. The Land Spirits and Fae hold the gates open for the passage of life to move between the worlds. Our ability to see and feel, can be heightened. A life review can feel in order. It’s time to seize the call of the Land.
And so, at this time of year, I’ll light the Beltane fires and release my list of broken dreams to the flames. I’ll pay homage to the May Queen & King, and allow the fierce spring winds to move through me as I turn the wheel of the year, looking ahead for where my destiny next calls me into Being.
I’d love to hear how this season moves you.