Breaking through the defences


Spring has finally sprung at Westacre. Just three short weeks ago, the last of the snow still lingered in the shadiest corners of the garden. Now the sun is shining down warmly, and flowers are blooming everywhere. We have damson blossom, cowslips and seas of forget-me-nots.

Because of the long, cold winter, and the still chilly nights, everything is blooming late, though. The apple blossom and the hawthorn blooms are still safely hidden in their tight buds, protected from the cold. But staying there is not an option. Each day, the sun’s warmth draws them more strongly, and soon, they also will delight us with their glorious blooms.

Like a flower bud in a frosty spring, I wear my defences thick and tight. It is a hangover from a not-so-easy childhood. My mind and body have kept this habit holding up curtain walls and barbed wire against the world. It’s a bit like walking around constantly expecting to be punched in the stomach. It’s really not good for a person.

I’ve known this for a long time, and I always come back to it. My body keeps sending me signals, sometimes very serious ones, that this is not OK. That I need to break through my own defences so I can bloom and be of service to the world.

Westacres blue sea

Westacre's blue sea

So this Beltane, once again, I have made a commitment to keep working on letting go of the fortifications. The blooms of my soul are tender and vulnerable, but they are the best of me. The world urgently needs the best of all of us. There’s no time left to hide our lights.

This time, I intend to do it gently and joyfully. My mind and body have kept me safe like this for a long time. I need to honour that effort and not beat myself up if I fall back into the old habit. And I need to gently and playfully step out of myself, and forget about pretending that I am doing some Great Spiritual Work that is difficult and dead serious.

I’m not the only person who needs to soften their defences against perceived threat. I can see the same thing causing problems in my community and in the wider world.

Like virtually everything else, my spiritual community is going through a tough time of rebirth. It has brought its inevitable tensions. But I can see that the conflicts that arise from people misinterpreting each other’s defences. The mask of confidence someone puts on may well hide a raw and vulnerable soul.

If only we could show each other our true vulnerability, much of the tension would dissipate. I’m not saying that being vulnerable with people is always easy to do. It is a leap of faith and trust. But I believe that taking the risk can help better relationships to flower.

In our world, where climate change is beginning to have a clear effect even on affluent countries, I believe much the same thing is going on. We are protecting ourselves in so many ways, hiding away from things that make us feel vulnerable. We hide, each in our own homes, for fear of being hurt by each other, and thereby losing our communities. We spend the resources of our planet to shield ourselves from the seasons. And even more to delay the effects of time on our bodies. If only we could shed some of those defences, and rediscover our connection to the natural world, we would come to care more deeply for everything we share our world with.

Many of us are doing so, growing more of our own food, and discovering the delights of connection with nature and with each other. We humans are part of the natural world, and our considerable intelligence thrives when it works with nature for the good of all beings. Connected to the living Earth, our humanity flourishes.

Our human strength and beauty doesn’t lie in the walls we build around ourselves. It lies in our vulnerability, tender as a spring flower, and source of our fertile creativity. The world cannot afford to wait for our light much longer.

If you feel inspired by these thoughts, please share this post with your friends.

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  1. Lisa said,

    2 May, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

    I love reading your posts here, always so very inspiring, thank you! I love your last sentance today, may we all let our inner light radiate out!!

  2. hilde said,

    2 May, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

    Thank you for your lovely comment, Lisa. It means a lot.

  3. Lucya said,

    3 May, 2013 @ 6:58 am

    Lovely post. I like your forget-me-nots too! I have them in my garden too and I was sitting in the garden at Beltane thinking that the sky was the same colour as the forget-me-nots. I thought a forget-me-not blue sky sounded just right!

  4. hilde said,

    3 May, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    Beautiful image Lucya. Each little flower opens pink and then turns blue, like a tiny dawn.

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