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I love seasons! I like the change of weather and beauty each season brings in its own right. But there is something magical about spring as the trees and bushes and flowers bud, reminding me of the promise of new life coming. Then they burst forth in bloom. My soul stops in wonder at the beauty, color and delicate intricacy each flower holds.

I once heard a speaker talk about how each of us is a beautiful masterpiece. I scoffed inwardly as the speaker shared these words. I spent much of my life believing there was no way this was true about me. I didn’t feel at all like a masterpiece, and I certainly didn’t feel beautiful. Over time this disparaging attitude I held about myself changed, as I slowly opened my heart to life and allowed myself to bloom. I was able to see I am a beautiful creation. It changed everything – how I saw the world and how I saw myself engaging in the world.

1. Acceptance

Acceptance of myself was critical to moving forward. It was so hard in the beginning to see myself as a work of art, a beautiful masterpiece. Part of my journey included seeing a counselor, who was very helpful in helping me change the disparaging voice in my head.

2. Authenticity

Authentic relationship was difficult in the beginning. The fear of sharing my soul, of sharing my fears and regrets and dreams, to another person scared me. What if they thought I was silly? I learned two valuable lessons about authenticity: be open with my heart and be wise with whom I share my heart.

I can always be an authentic person, but my deepest fears and dreams should be reserved for those who have earned my trust.

3. Warmth

For a flower to bloom, there is a change of season bringing warmth. Nature blooms when the season is right. So it is with the soul. I began to surround myself with people who were positive and encouraging.

4. Exploration

As I began to accept myself, I found myself viewing the world with new eyes, excited about possibility. I explored many things and allowed myself to be creative. I took a class on pottery making (I was not very good), I signed up for a half-marathon (I was slow!), I applied to jobs I would love, I joined a writer’s group, I traveled whenever I could. Some things I found natural giftings, other required work, and some things I just plain didn’t like. Each was OK in learning about the world and myself.

In short, as my soul bloomed, I was no longer afraid to explore me and explore the world around me. It was like my heart came alive after a long and cold winter.

Where has your soul been experiencing a winter?