Marching On

Feb 26, 2023

For me things have felt ‘off’ on many levels, but a Japanese term I recently discovered has helped me make sense of it all

You know the old saying...March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well, we’ll see about that. It’s been quite a mild winter (so far) in the Hudson Valley...but one never really ever knows, does one? And now we move into the new moon in Pisces...a call for renewal, to be more spiritually sensitive, to awaken the mystical part of ourselves — and spring taunts us in the horizon.

And yet, it’s kind of hard to predict these days...because nothing really feels the ‘same’. Even those of us who dance within the embrace of change have ourselves wondering what can we rely upon. 

February is usually when we are inundated with snow (not this year). Holiday weekends when we are ‘supposed’ to be busy, we haven’t been and then on random days for no apparent reason, we’ve been slammed with crowds waiting for tables. And then of course, I am a mother of a teenager...need I say more (wink). Life, it can certainly be unpredictable. 

If I’ve learned anything these past years, it’s to lean into trust, faith and going with the flow (well, at least trying to). I mean seriously, what choice do we have?

The older you get, the more you experience, the more you realize that resistance only creates least when it comes to resisting the things you can’t control. So, I’m always digging to understand more.

That lesson became loud and clear for me during Covid. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already. I still remember not knowing how (and if) we would keep the doors to the café open — how any of us in our small community would survive financially, physically, spiritually, emotionally — what life would be like on the other side of this.

Honestly, it thrust us all out of our comfy little bubbles and made us look at it all through a different lens. 

I recently became fascinated with a Japanese word 危機 (Kiki).

While it is the word for ‘crisis’, it is also made up of 2 symbols; one for ‘danger’ and the other for ‘opportunity’. Kind of like problem / solution. Something about this both intrigued and soothed me — the polar opposites almost negated one another and wiped out the crisis with possibility. Presented with a problem? Find a solution. Do something with it. Make meaning from the mess.

How brilliant!

That left me feeling matter what I was facing.

Life can thrust us at any point into a sense of crisis or fight-or-flight, but we can also calm our nervous systems by trusting that we can find the opportunity within it. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t use these words lightly. 

I know that life can feel harsh and like we are sometimes dealt a raw deal. Despite my smiles and resiliency, I experienced a personal crisis beyond the café during Covid; one that required leaning on close friends and lots of prayer. When I look back, I realize now that I was seizing the opportunity even when I couldn’t see it. I was pushing myself to find something on the other side of this and even within it.

A father I know recently reminded me that we have to allow our kids to follow their own destiny.

I really appreciated the notion, but also realized how difficult that is for any parent. We want to get out ahead of our child’s pain and prevent it, but maybe we should focus more on teaching them to create their own opportunity — to flip the meaning — to trust their own kiki and what it has come to teach them.

I certainly wish someone had told me that. It’s been a bumpy road to here, but that’s OK, because ‘here’ led me to YOU, this café, this life, this community, this ability to navigate and keep trying to figure it all out. To getting excited about tasting new food, trying new things, learning more, expanding and trusting. 

You can’t always see your solutions when you are in the middle of the mess, but you can trust that you will get through it. Maybe this is the wisdom of crisis and kiki — and the real goal of life. 

I don’t know what March will bring. Will Mother Nature surprise us? Interestingly, the birds have been waking up and very active lately — our harbingers of change. But I remind myself not to jump ahead and instead, to be here now in this moment.

I know that spring is around the corner. There will be rebirth and reopening. For now, I’m trusting that I am where I am supposed to be, always reaching for ways to trust life more. Doesn’t that feel better already?

Cheers to March...march with love, march with compassion (for self, each other and the planet), march with wonder and curiosity and kiki...march on.

P.S. As we transition into the season of ‘transition’...once again, we want to spread the love and give a big shout out to Myoshin Thurman for our Valentine’s Day windows...filled with heart.

—Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Cafe Woodstock


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