Ahh, February. It's not quite spring but we are well over winter. In the south, the trees and flowers are jut beginning to stir. The first signs of the cherry blossoms have appeared. The daffodils are letting their yellow undercoats peek out at the tepid sun. Tree branches are rounded with the soft buds of the new leaves. The stirrings are not limited to the plants. Joggers are beginning to fill the trails, especially on those days between cold and rain fronts. The squirrels are out in force, digging up the acorns they buried months ago. The birds have lifted their self-imposed ban on song and their chirps and warbles fill the mornings once again.

It's natural to hibernate when the world outside becomes too harsh to bear. It's instinctive to curl up and tuck in, settling into a protective stasis. We do it annually to some extent as we follow the natural rhythms of shorter days and colder nights. We tend to narrow our worlds in the winter, paring back and slowing down. It is a time of restoration.

That contraction is countered by the expansion that occurs each spring, as we expand our reach along with the increasing hours in a day. It's an instinctive cycle, an inhalation and exhalation on a broad scale. We are not unlike the flowers in our balance of growth and rest.

And, just like the blossoms, we can have our rhythm disturbed. A sudden late freeze will send the plants into shock, causing them to die back and halt their growth until they feel like it's safe to peek their petals out again. A sudden shock can just as easily cause us to slow and even stop. Parts of us can die, turning withered and black. It can lead to a period of hibernation as the body and mind turn inward. The body slows, the appetite decreases and the brain becomes sluggish.

It's a natural response to a sudden freeze where the world becomes inhospitable and fierce. Don't try to resist the natural cycles – you'll lose. Be with it; ride it out. Curl up and hide but don't forget to look outside for the first signs of spring and allow yourself to spread and grow as the sun's first warmth touches you again.

The flowers never let the risk of a late freeze keep them from showing their beauty. Why should you?

The article originally appeared at http://lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com/2013/02/10/awakening-from-hibernation/ … Lisa Arends is a moved-forward, re-center, re-purpose divorcee working to inspire others to do so as well. She has written the "How-To-Thrive Guide." You can learn more about "thriving" and get other inspirations at her blog, lessonsfromtheendofmarriage.com.

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