Before Renewal, Surrender

I was recently invited to write about renewal.  That's a hard theme to write about when you don't feel as though you are in a time of renewal!  I had said to a friend that I haven't yet gotten any traction in 2016.  She responded that she knew exactly what I was talking about - that so far, she felt this year as though she were slogging and slipping through slush.  I loved that metaphor - both the image and the alliteration.

I also find it hard to write about in the middle of a Berkshires winter, when it appears as though no renewal is going on anywhere.  And perhaps this is to be honored.  I took a class with a shaman last year on the "gates of winter," meaning what is the purpose of the season; what invitations and opportunities does it offer us?  We were reminded that this is a time to go within, to cocoon.  I guess I had started to become aware of that even the winter before when, in mid-February, with feet of snow on the ground, I wrote:

I need to remember -

Winter is supposed to be a time of hibernation, 
Of going within,
Of not interacting so much with the outside world.

The ground lies blanketed by snow,
Insulating the life that will emerge weeks from now -
Fresh and new.

Perhaps I too will emerge fresh and new.

That seems to be the only way renewal happens for me.  I have to first go really deep within the morass, getting tangled in the emotional cobwebs and the seaweed, infused by an occasional gasp of breath because I am not able to sustain calm, consistent, healthy breathing.  Or anything else that's calm and consistent and healthy.  I need to allow the darkness to take over; to have the courage to fling myself into the cavern that is an unknown abyss.  Only then will true renewal be possible on the other side.

Yet so often I shy away from doing just that.  Things in my life are "good enough.". True, my heart may not be as full as I would like.  Perhaps I  recognize that I would love to be opening my arms to a more passionate experience of life.  But at least I am not overtaken by tears, anger... or anything else for that matter.

Until I realize the point is to be overtaken, to plunge into everything.  To set myself up for renewal, for new possibility...for the fullness of a life way beyond what I knew, saw, or even imagined when I was growing up.  Then I wonder... Is it possible to be renewed beyond my original form?  I breathe in a "yes"...and realize that's what true transformation is.