Sondra Malling, LCPC, BC-DMT, GL-CMA
Photos by Sondra Malling of the Schulenberg Prairie, Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL
I have always been inspired by nature; the earth is ripe with metaphors for our human lives. On one of my recent walks, it struck me that winter prairie represents the cyclical tension between survival and abundance.
In the winter months–with these long, grey days we’ve been having–the prairie seems barren.
As I began my walk, sparse white snow and ice covered lifeless brown tallgrass: the only signs of life or movement were the faint burblings of a shallow stream brought to life by the recent snowmelt.
I wondered for a moment how generations of animals and native peoples survived on these harsh prairies when the landscape seems so desolate–even hopeless–and it feels like the new growth of spring will never come.
So, too, we feel lifeless as we combat depression that keeps us in bed all day, anxiety that paralyses us in social situations, and loneliness that gnaws at our hearts.
Some days, it seems like we will be stuck in this depression, anxiety, or loneliness forever–that change is impossible.
Some days, it feels like all we’re doing is surviving, barely getting by.
But then I walked a little further, and I encountered this sight:
Photo by Sondra Malling of the Schulenberg Prairie, Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL
Even on this bleak winter day, there was growth, there was a small bud of life waiting for its time to grow. Spring always comes. Survival mode need not be forever.
Soon, the prairie where I walked will turn colorful and lush. It will be more abundant than I could ever imagine from my perspective as I stood on the cold, windy plain.
Similarly, taking one small step out of the bed or towards a new acquaintance could initiate the growth and change that leads to a more abundant life than you ever imagined.
So how do we get through the desolate times before the abundance arrives? Small steps are the only way, and self-care is a must. Commit yourself to nurture your own soil during the barren seasons, and you will prepare yourself for the growth that lies ahead.
A therapist can help you solidify this commitment to making small steps towards change, to your self-care during the winters of life, and to personal growth.
Click here to schedule a free consultation with me and take that first step.