Have you ever been completely surprised at a turnaround?  Just when you had decided to write something off as a failure or a lost cause, something happens to keep you going and gives you new energy and hope?  Some might be thinking of the fourth quarter in Sunday’s Super Bowl.  Most of us experience breakthroughs in a much more quiet way, but nonetheless just as powerfully.

A dictionary definition of a breakthrough is “a sudden increase in knowledge, understanding, etc.  an important discovery that happens after trying for a long time to understand or explain something.”    The prerequisite for such an event happening is “keeping on keeping on”.

Nurturing a breakthrough is a lot like getting through February.  Even though this has not been the coldest or snowiest winter so far, the grey days of this month are long, and inertia lies on us like a fog.  Somewhere inside we know spring will come, but it is not here today and will surely be fickle before it decides to stay.  That is probably how the holidays of this month evolved—to compensate and lift our spirits while we wait for spring.

No matter how deep or long the depression, how fractured a family relationship, how boring and unfulfilling a job, how far away a dream may seem, how long something is taking to work, a little sprig of hope and a lot of keeping on can result in a breakthrough.

(The inspiration for this column is having discovered five green shoots this week on my gingko tree. It has looked so dead for so long since I dragged its heavy container into the house from the roof garden for the winter!)