Photograph of Spring flower buds, for the Garden Cafe Woodstock

I See You: An Honest and Raw Spring Awakening

Apr 07, 2021
Photograph by Artiom Vallat

As Spring urges us to blossom and expand, we are also called to look at ourselves through a new lens—and to remember who we are

April. Hello beautiful friend…I’m so happy to see you again—to feel you, to experience you. The birds seem to be chirping more, we’ve been able to crack open our windows and allow your crisp fresh air inside, moving stale energy—and witness the beginnings of your flowers bursting through the soil. Thank you for reminding us that it is a time of renewal and to see things differently…including ourselves.

I was reminded of this as I looked in the mirror at myself recently. Oh, Hello winter body. Sigh. 

When I stand there, I am surprised that I don’t see the young woman that I feel within. She feels playful and light. She loves to laugh and make silly jokes. She cracks herself up and dances to the music playing within her head. But I am jolted by the image reflected back. Who is that? Her body has changed, the shape of her face looks different; the wrinkles, the gravity. Oy vey. Distracted by the disconnect between the body and the spirit, I can’t see…truly see. I forget who she really is.

I feel her stirring within lately. Maybe it’s brought on by spring and the desire to awaken and stir. I’m not sure, but I know if I’m feeling these emotions…I’m probably not alone. While I don’t spend a great deal of time going “there”—judging my physical self, it is an internal conflict that tries to suck me in. We usually come face-to-face in the mirror. This is why I decided to thrust open the door of my own body struggle. Just verbalizing those words makes me want to run in and hug my body that has held and supported me for 51 years—to remember that we are a soul having a human experience in this body. But as we know, society doesn’t make aging gracefully an easy endeavor.

So, we dance between knowing the truth and seeing the untruth.

We need to look into our eyes in order to remember who we really are—not at the neck or waistlines. We need to remember that we are a body and a soul navigating this life together. What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror?

My physical body has changed a great deal since I purchased the café…and so has my life. I’ve gained a lot of weight which I could blame on external factors and things like menopause—or, I could encourage my incredible body by giving her thanks for all that she has done for me and all that she has supported me through.

I have walked this earth, given birth, swam, climbed, stretched, jumped, danced, lived, cried, grieved, felt, expanded and grown. She has cushioned me through very hard times—and I think she is protecting me still. I believe this physical weight is connected to far more than the food on my plate or the movement in my body. I have spoken to her that I am stronger now, that I am learning boundaries, that I am listening more to what we need. I hear when she cries for more rest, water, needs to eat—or walk in the moonlight. I speak to her to assure her that I am ready to shed the “weight” of the world, that we don’t have to carry it all.

But she holds on. I recently joked to a friend that I wondered where my hip bones were. But we speak truth between the words in our jokes. Honestly, I’d like to see them again. And it’s not just about the vanity, though yes…I want my slimmer body back. I was once a dancer. I’m not asking for my 20-year old body back, but I do want to waltz through my life more easily. This weight slows me down, distracts and tires me out. Yet I also know this is a healing soul journey.

When I look directly into my eyes, I melt.

There I am. I see the joy and wonder within them. I see the vulnerability too. I see it all. I am reminded that “I” am not missing, I’m still here. This is a practice I use regularly to shift my energy and mind when I feel myself slipping or wandering off down paths I don’t need to travel. It brings me back to the precious part of me, the inside me…the person I really am at my truest essence.

Your eyes are the window of your soul and they don’t care what size jeans you are wearing. What better a time than now, on this cusp of early spring and rejuvenation to look at yourself through a new lens, the one you used to see through and remember who you truly are…a magnificent being full of joy.

We can eat all the “right” foods, do all the “right” things…but if we don’t see ourselves, we are lost. And when we feel seen, we feel loved. Can you allow yourself to be seen—by the most important person…YOU? I see you, do you? I sure hope so, because you are glorious my friend.

 “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller


— Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Café Woodstock


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