by Maria Hilliker, MSW, CBE

Spring is an obvious symbol of newness, beginnings, and growth. There are plenty of beautiful metaphors of springtime and flowering, but the truth is that in its beauty, newness is powerful and scary. There are unanswered questions and awkward pauses with youth.  There are a million possibilities and equally a million risks that must be taken. We rise from our winter slumber where we have been secretly and silently growing underground and now we are pushing through the earth to do the remainder of our transformation above ground, in the light, and exposed. 

Young plants are vulnerable and wobbly, but they are also brave and inspiring. I reflect on my response to new experiences and I am met with two seemingly conflicting emotions: fear and excitement. Why would I dread or feel fearful of something new? Am I just being cowardly? Am I not the adventurous soul I wish to be? Am I weak? After some thought I realized that my brain is a product of animal evolution and that I am completely on track with this feeling. I should be fearful; newness = risk, risk=danger, danger= I can get hurt. According to my equation I am normal and doing what I am suppose to do in order to protect myself. Okay, so now the question becomes what do I need to take a risk and to not fear the danger and hurt? For me, a hospitable environment is an essential component to testing possibilities.

The Lovett Center and many of its tenants are either new to the field or embarking on a new endeavor. I am starting my new beginning with Lovett and working on weekends as childbirth educator, which has created a good deal of both excitement and fear.  I am inspired  when I am in the building on weekends thinking of all of the people who make Lovett the special place it is.  My environment inspires me because it feels safe and nurturing. I find that those who work here have a special spirit. They are pioneers and creators who are resourceful, inspired, and courageous. What made us all feel we could try something new and create something different? I believe it is because we knew others shared this spirit and that affirmation creates a remarkable environment for growth. We are not alone in our wish and vision. There are surely many necessities for our growth and many of them personal. As spring arrives perhaps we can take a moment to think of what fosters our growth so we don’t stay seedlings hiding beneath the soil?  What makes us feel brave and strong? Lastly, how to do we put those cultivators in our lives?

I will end with this excerpt from Nature-Speak, by Ted Andrews:

“In the spring, this force resurrects itself into a new form of expression within our lives. The seeds of the fall that germinated in the winter now begin to burst forth and grow. The spring comes in with an energy that can help us become more of the Warrior. It is a time to assert our efforts and do what we have to do. It is a time to take things to the next step. Creative energies are strong and it’s a great time to expand on those things we started in the autumn. It is the time to help our magic along by doing what we can in the physical.”