What are you waiting for? What are you doing to feed your soul, fuel your passions, and bring color and hope to your world? I’m waiting for the sun to shine.

This month in Minnesota was on average 8 degrees colder than last April. Well, okay, the snow did melt off the sidewalks, so it’s safe to walk outside now. But it’s been raining or snow flurrying or cloudy and overcast and windy and cold for 5 months now. Enough already! Where is spring? I’m waiting for color to paint my world, our world. Do you have flowers blooming and trees budding and sun shining in your backyard? If so, I’m happy for you. Truly I am. If you aren’t waiting for sunshine and color, what are you waiting for? What, if anything, has been missing in your world?

Maybe it’s not something as concrete as sunshine, color, a vacation, or relief from pain, but more elusive like wanting more time, choices, connection, or love.

With so much turmoil around the globe, it seems petty to lament the loss of sunshine. But I’m not alone (in Minnesota anyway). Maybe we all grasp for something—anything—to brighten our day, our outlook, and give us hope for peace and renewal—for ourselves and others.

A 10-year-old girl was raped and murdered this week in my small hometown. By someone she knew and apparently trusted. A 14-year-old boy. Lily Peters is one of many; one too many.

Sometimes the small things do matter: the blast of sunshine that entices you outside, the compliment that makes you smile in gratitude, the waves and smiles from preschoolers tethered together on their walk that reminds you of the goodness in all of us, the laughter of kids on the playground who still know how to have fun, despite the grayness of our world. What lifted your spirit today?

Sun energizes me—it motivates me. It always has. I wrote a poem to that effect as a freshman in college. I turned it in to my English instructor, but no longer have it (a regret of purging boxes of old files). I studied in a specific nook on the second floor of the University library, the one with floor-to-ceiling double V-shaped windows. I would prop my feet on the window ledge and study my notes or pour over chapters of the hefty chemistry or physiology textbooks while I soaked up the warmth and energy of the refracted sun. If the sun moved, I moved. It warmed my limbs, fed my spirit, and centered me on the task at hand. I loved studying, craved learning, and was obsessed with understanding and making sense of our bodies and minds. I still am.

A popular writing coach recently advised her blog followers to “let yourself be obsessed” – with writing in this case. But it could be anything you are passionate about. When you are obsessed, you do what you want and feel compelled to do, without caring what others think. You do it because you have to—something internal drives you to follow through. Passion is often found through a creative outlet—composing music or lyrics, writing, painting, photographing, sculpting, cooking, moving, dancing. Anything that allows expression of the self. The satisfaction is internal, the creating pleasurable. External validation or reward is not required, although may be obtained if you sell or show your creations. What are you giving yourself permission to be obsessed with—to do or to create just because you want to? Even 15 minutes a day counts.

I still study every morning; writing craft mostly, but also investigating new findings in health and medicine. You can find me in the kitchen, where wall-size windows on all three sides stream in the sunshine—when it peeks through the grayness of this lingering Minnesota winter.

Spoon and Cherry, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Photo by author

I had hoped to be in Hawaii these two weeks, but illness made me cancel those plans. So, instead, I signed up for a month-long writing class on a whim, the day before it started. If I can’t be soaking up the sunshine on the beach to feed my soul, I might as well be creating something new to power my passions.

What are you doing to feed your soul, fuel your passions, and bring color and hope into your world? Whatever it is, I wish you sunshine in your day (and rain at night).

Wishing you hope, joy, and peace,

~ Janice