You Direct the Spring Within
by Jan Denise
As seen in Jan's relationships column "Choosing Love"
in the March 2012 issue of In Jersey magazine

I was in paradise wandering from one little alcove to another, with angel trumpets cascading overhead and roses perfuming the morning air. The wonderment of spring in a garden is unmatched, except maybe by the wonderment of spring in a relationship!

In the spring, we see the miracle of what's growing. We are intrigued by the newness and the wonder of flourishing possibilities. We tend what's blooming, so we can celebrate more flowers; and taking advantage of Mother Nature, we plant annuals to create a virtual carpet of color, knowing they won't survive the winter.

There is always something we can plant, though. Every season has its own magic. And in relationships, we direct the flow from one season to the next. We don't have to jump to another relationship or warmer climate to find paradise; we can just stay connected with the wonder.

We can shine our own light and spread our own colors. We can add freshness and possibility and awe. We can cultivate the relationship of our dreams ... and appreciate the ongoing, albeit changing, splendor.

We can welcome each transition. We can find sanctuary to refuel our body, mind and spirit — without feeling guilty or distant! We can realize that a satisfying cycle repeats itself, each season making way for the next.

If you don't feel ready for spring in your relationship, you probably aren't. But, before you give up on the relationship — or the prospect of another spring — consider taking a break to replenish yourself. You may have a renewed appreciation for your relationship when you're not struggling to keep your own head above water.

We can be drained without even realizing it; and when we are preoccupied with survival, we lack the resources to nurture a relationship. A retreat can offer us a fresh perspective and a second wind ... and then help us to birth spring and enchantment in our togetherness.

And maybe when we get really adept at togetherness, we can refuel without taking a break from our partner. Maybe we can recognize and honor the need for refueling in our sweetheart without being offended. Maybe we can honor it in ourselves, without pulling away because we feel inadequate or resentful.

We're not created to go non-stop. We need down time and nurturing. Don't wait until you're exhausted or sick to rest. Listen to your body and your spirit, so you can take care of you. "Put your own oxygen mask on first," like the good steward instructs.

Jesus, the great teacher, told his apostles, "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while."
The spring in your relationships will reflect the spring in you. Don't expect to give what you don't have. And don't expect to reap what you can't sow.

Find paradise whenever, wherever you need it. It won't always be in a spring garden. It may be walking on dried leaves through a woodsy path. It may be sitting on the side of a cool mountain, listening to the sound of water.

It may be stroking a canvas with vivid color. It may be remembering what love knows in a journal or in a cafe with your best friend. It may be jogging on the beach or dancing alone under the stars. It will be wherever you find new strength and seeds to sow.

Sow them. Water them. Trust Mother Earth and her sun to nurture them. And feel the wonder of growth what ever the season.

Author's Bio: 

Jan Denise is a self-esteem and relationships consultant, the author of Innately Good: Dispelling the Myth That You’re Not (Health Communications) and Naked Relationships: Sharing Your Authentic Self to Find the Partner of Your Dreams (Hampton Roads), and the columnist who penned the nationally syndicated “Inside Relationships” for ten years. Denise conducts workshops, speaks professionally, serves on the faculty of Omega Institute, and consults with individuals and couples nationwide. She is silly and deeply in love with life and her husband Sam Ferguson. They live in McIntosh, Florida, where their home in the woods is open to others as a sanctuary and retreat center.