I was raised by two people who loved Ernest Hemingway, so I loved him too.
Although my parents separated when I was very young and lived 4,000 miles apart, they both had many of his books on their shelves. My mom had a cork board behind the kitchen door where she would pin things she tore out of newspapers and magazines; Hemingway, Einstein and Picasso were all posted there for many years. I was so used to their faces, they almost seemed like uncles. By the time I was 17 I had read many of Hemingway's greatest works, fascinated by his rich characters, exotic backdrops and brilliant way of evoking emotion with short sentences and simple words. In my last year of high school, I read his autobiography and wrote a paper about his life while living with my father (a professional writer himself). It was then that I learned about this deep thinkers tumultuous ups and downs, excessive lifestyle and unstoppable determination to outrun his fears.
Why on this beautiful first Day of Spring do I write and contemplate the infamous author Hemingway - a man who killed animals for trophies and dealt with severe depression, alcoholism and infidelity? It has nothing to do with new beginnings or aromatics, but the following quote struck me as a great metaphor for the challenges of our time and the endless struggle to stay centered and in our power:
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
My fascination with this quote stems from the fact that other people can serve as our mirrors- they can reflect our ego (mind) or our spirit (heart). If we are feeling happy and no one crosses our path, we may be able to sustain our joy moving forward; but upon encountering another person we can unconsciously allow ourselves to be influenced by their emotional state. If they are in equally good spirits, we can be further uplifted and our vibration becomes higher. However if the other person is dealing with negative emotions or experiencing a difficult situation, it can pull us down and we become susceptible to judgement, shame and blame. Our nature as social beings includes the desire to constantly seek connection and share our feelings and experiences with others - whether in good times or bad. So while we all have the capacity to act as “the limiters of happiness” because feelings of negativity are part of the human condition, I diverge from Hemingway's cynicism in my belief that every single one of us also has the potential to be “as good as spring itself,” not just “the very few.” We each have the power to sustain peace in our hearts, radiate joy and not attach to other people’s burdens. It is important to remind ourselves of this fact and and practice it at all times - with our family, our neighbors, our partners, our co-workers, and even our fellow travellers.
The beginning of Spring is a marvelous time for cleansing and refreshing both our physical and mental homes. It’s the perfect time to retreat, forgive, let go and reconnect to our best selves while setting fresh intentions for the warm season to come. Let’s work on anchoring our trust and faith deep down in the fertile soil and visualize “no problems except where to be happiest.” This state of being is contagious and has the power to affect those around us and help raise the vibration.
HAPPY SPRING HOLIDAYS !
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