Winter’s lesson lies hidden in Spring

Spring is in the air as we ready ourselves for flowing floral dresses, knee high pants and our favourite pair of strapless sandals. Soon, the trees will start to blossom as they do each year and swarms of bees, chirping birds and sunny rays will bring our gardens exploding back to life. But it wasn’t always like this. Not a week ago we still experienced the last lashes of a delayed winter and one would have been hard tasked to pinpoint exactly when summer said it’s goodbyes. Three months into winter and we can hardly imagine what it felt like to walk outside without a jacket or leggings. People complain about the cold and the stuffy noses and miserable moods that winter brings, forgetting that without winter there could never be sunshine, for along with all the ailments, weight gain and apparent moodiness, Winter brings us the gift of spring – or rather the appreciation of it.

There is a lesson that winter brings

We prepare for winter by stocking up on jackets, scarves and woolly hats and bid it farewell by discarding them. In life too, we continuously discard and replenish as we wade through our personal seasons. And it is personal, as each of us experience change in a different way. Change is scary for all of us no matter whether it be good or bad, in fact there is no bad change only a negative perception of something unknown – change therefore, is relative. To illustrate this point, one could look at a rose bush and be sad that it has thorns, or be happy that the thorns have roses. The trick is to ready yourself always for an approaching winter, knowing that everything is fleeting and that if good exists then so too there must exist the opposite in order to restore balance. Manic depressive sufferers struggle to see the rays that their Spring brings, because they refuse to look outside the window. So there they stay, stuck inside the circumstances they have created around themselves. Most of the time those circumstances are related to financial stress and the instant they come into some money, they feel empowered once more – until the next winter hits. In the summer months we don’t sell our jackets and winter wear, because we know that the season will change and we will need them again. The same outlook should be adopted when we look at our personal lives.

It is not about the money

The greatest lesson winter teaches us is that we need to learn to let go of our routines and hold onto change. Let go of the things and people in our lives that keep us locked up inside, unable to experience the joy of Spring, the freedom of change. Learn to take chances, dance in the rain, phone your loved ones, kiss your children as often as you can, roll on the grass, walk to the store, if you like green apples, buy red ones, ride a bike to work, smell the pages of a book, switch off your phone, turn on the radio and play it loudly – smile. Forget about the confines that social media and corporate marketing forced around you. Surround yourself with good people instead of good things, because in the end it is the things you own that end up owning you. Wear your heart on your sleeve, you never know, somewhere there might be someone who needs to see it. In all things never forget that winter will come, and it will pass, but when it comes be prepared with memories that warm more than just your hands.

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That illusive corner piece

Sobering. That’s what it is really. The moment when you find that corner piece of the massive puzzle you’re trying to piece together. Most of the time it was staring you in the face but the rest of the pieces laying all muddled up around it, had hidden it from your sight. So you take that corner piece and put in place to start building the frame work. Suddenly, as the pieces start sliding into place you notice that the picture on the box looks a little different to the one you’re trying to put together.

“Why is that,” you ask as another piece locks effortlessly in. “Why is it that the pictures on the boxes of things differ so dramatically from the one you spend so many days working on creating?”

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Is it not maybe in that where the problem lies? Maybe we should stop trying to build a picture and instead, take a step back, look at the box and ask yourself if you really have the time to build that 1500 piece. And once you’ve pieced it together you face another conundrum – where to find a space for it in your home. Do you break it up, put it back in the packaging and trade it at the local pawn shop or do you throw it into the cupboard next to the rest of the puzzles you only half finished?

Or you could try and mount it on a cardboard, frame it and hang it on a wall somewhere to show off to everyone. And this will be fine too, until someone comes along, looks at the picture and explains how he also pieced that same one together, and he did it in half the time. Your first instinct is to retort with “what? This same puzzle? But how could you have done it in half the time it took me to get this far? I’ve spent so much time meticulously piecing it together and loving every moment spent on it.” And then it hits you. It’s only a puzzle, just like every other puzzle. And this one has a price on it, like every other one. And a puzzle doesn’t care who wants to build it, it only cares that it is being built.

So why then does it feel so profoundly shit knowing that your puzzle, that one you really wanted to complete and display proudly in your home, also hangs on the mantelpiece in some other home? Is it because the puzzle itself is not the art you thought it was, because before you bought it you believed that it was unique and now, you realize it actually isn’t. And is this really the case with all art? Or is the only truly unique piece, the one that goes to the highest bidder to ensure its authenticity.

Like I said, sobering. And hangovers hurt like a caning on a wet bottom. But hangovers, like your desire to build puzzles, pass. And then we feel better. And then we decide to build another puzzle…maybe this time one that we created ourselves. And maybe this time one that will be a perfect fit on that empty space above your bed.

So if right is to left then…

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Chess. It’s said to be one of the oldest forms of entertainment in the history of the human race. Or at least the story goes that it was actually not a game at all and it started as a way for generals to strategically plan their campaigns.

Life. It’s said to be even older than the game of chess. So why is it that not one human being has successfully mastered it? Could it be because life is so short that by the time we get to mastering it, it’s over? Is it too short then? How can we say that life is too short when it really is the longest thing we will ever experience? Or is it? Maybe Experience is the longest thing we’ll ever…experience? Or maybe we are just that, an experience. Maybe we are a part of something that is using each one of us a separate experience? Like maybe God. Or at least what we perceive a god to be. Maybe “god” is a collective noun for experience? Maybe collective is a verb?

So then does that mean that chess is really more than just a game? Perhaps a game is more than just chess and perhaps the idea of pitting oneself against another over a few pieces on a board is a way of testing your own experience against that of another version of yourself?

That would explain anticipation. Or would it? If we are all connected through the same subconscious does that mean we are all really good chess players? Or really good at avoiding asking questions about life because thinking is an experience most have never experienced to begin with? Like love for example. Perhaps love is a game too. And perhaps in this game nobody really plays but everybody kinda wins somewhere along the line. Even spectators win as watching two people in love can be rather entertaining. Unlike watching two people play chess, which is kinda boring, except for the opponents who excitedly watch for the next move?

So then maybe this collective noun verb thing has two sides to it’s… umm, brain. A left and a right. Much like ours. Which explains why you have creative people and analytical folk. Some can play chess and others can’t. The left brain people might just be the left brain of god and so too the right brain people. But if that is true then it brings us right back to love. What happens when a lefty and a “righty” decide to play THAT game? Do they form an ambidextrous union then? And which will be more dominant? More importantly which one plays white?

So despite all of these questions that will inevitably remain unanswered I have a theory. It’s simple really. Life is a game of chess played between two sides of a godly brain struggling to come to terms with its own existence on a board of life with pieces carved from love.

Yes, really.