In the northern hemisphere, April naturally evokes feelings of hope. Snow has melted, and for the most part, stopped falling. Flowers bloom. Birds sing. April is a gentle month, rarely either very cold or very hot. No wonder so many northern cultures developed upbeat holidays for this time of year.
The stories behind some religious spring holidays begin gruesomely. The Passover tale starts with the killing of the firstborn children of all Egyptians, both high and low, and even their livestock. The Easter story begins with the torture and execution of Jesus.
Yet, the human urge to find hope is so strong that these stories–one of which ends with the Hebrews heading to a better life, the other with Jesus remaining with his followers in a different manner–are celebrated in spring, usually April.
Here on the Gulf Coast, spring doesn’t make such a dramatic entry. Winter is short and mild. Fruit trees that bloomed in late winter have shed their blossoms for green leaves by March. Dogwoods and redbuds that bloomed in March are also leafed out by April. Azaleas, likewise, bloom in March but they’re always leafed out, like our pines, palms and evergreen species of oak.
Still, April inspire hope in me. As a birder, I welcome the migrating warblers, vireos, tanagers, grosbeaks and buntings, in gorgeous breeding plumage. They stop over in this area after their long flight across the Gulf of Mexico before heading to nesting spots farther north.
Even though our uncomfortably hot summer is right around the corner, I look forward to late May and June, when the Texas Hill country peaches come in, and later, to other summer fruits and veggies.
These days, I hear many people finding it difficult to remain hopeful. Let’s take advantage of our natural tendency to perk up in springtime to actively look for, and reflect upon, reasons for hope. Let’s get in the habit of hope now, when the gentle month of April makes it easier to do so, then, keep up that habit throughout the year.
News about people doing good in this world give me hope for the future. Those involving children and teenagers provide a special boost.
I believe in The Law of Attraction: we attract what we focus on and anticipate. Of course, we want to know if there’s a natural disaster so we can help. We want to know what officeholders are doing so we can decide how to vote next time. It’s also natural to let off a bit of steam when the boss has imposed on us still again.
But how about an April resolution: for every time we think or talk about something we don’t like, let’s think, or do, two positive things.
You come home from work and tell your spouse why you’re angry with your boss. Now tell him some good news, and pay him a complement.
You see horrible video of an earthquake on the news. Go online to make a donation to relief efforts and visualize crates and boxes of supplies flowing into the area. Visualize all the smiling, well-fed people.
You disagree with a bill pending in Congress. You phone your legislators, asking them to oppose the bill. That sequence necessarily involved four instances of focusing on what you don’t want: you read about the bill, then, talked about it to the staff member or voice mail of two senators and one representative. Now do or reflect on eight positive things. You could send lovely e-cards to seven friends, then, go soak in a warm Epsom salt bath.
You don’t have to limit yourself to two positive thoughts for every negative thought. The nice thing about The Law of Attraction is that there’s no downside. Once you’ve done what you reasonably can about what’s troubling you, there’s nothing to lose by thinking positive and feeling hopeful as often as you can. You can only gain. And even if all you gain is joy and serenity, that’s worthwhile.
The more positive energy you emit to those around you and to the universe at large, the better. Nothing to lose. Only good to gain. So take every opportunity to enjoy and relish those blooming flowers, gorgeous birds, juicy summer fruit, stories of good teenagers, or whatever else gives you hope.