Stretching into Spring
As the turbulence of spring caresses us, ruthlessly sweeping clear the stagnancy of winter months past, it stirs us and reconnects us to our deepest desires and potential. As the winds recede, we gently rest down upon new ground to till, nourish, and seed. We have the opportunity to see everything with a fresh set of eyes; to experience the newness as shoots boldly push through the earth, enchanting us with their sweet, tender fragility, impressing us with their persistency and faith that, even though the odds are against them, what with late April snow and all, it is simply in their nature to reach toward the sun, whatever the result.
I marvel at nature's acceptance of the fact that growth is inherently risky and painful. And worth seeking all the same.
This is the time to find the balance between exploring the inner landscape and manifesting our inner truth out into the world. Not an easy task. But again, worth the effort. My fervent hope is that the practices below will support you in your own personal springtime awakening.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Allow the positivity to flow and bolster you during dark moments. Every passing breath offers us the option to choose: Count my blessings? Or moan of my misfortunes? Invariably, beginning each day with the practice of gratitude colors the senses through which we experience the world, usually for the better.
Take Time to Do Absolutely... Nothing
In the frantic pace of our society, it is absolutely unheard of to block off space on the calendar and not fill it. I make my living by offering people a space to simply experience their bodies and breathe. This is available to everyone, free of charge! It simply requires a little discipline and self love. Remember how it feels to just be! Our nervous systems desperately need a break from the constant stimulation we receive. This results in dysfunctional nervous system behavior, disrupted sleep, elevated stress hormones, and over time, disease. Break the cycle. Take a walk, listen to your breath, the birds, your footsteps on the ever-supportive earth. Or, sit back in a chair, and be. Either way, your body will thank you.
Flow with the Rhythm of Nature
Create a ritual one day per month to go screen free, and make a practice of listening to your body and it's natural rhythmic connection to nature. Eat dinner outside in the fresh air. Watch the sunset. Go to bed when you feel tired. Rise with the sun. Notice how it feels to move to a rhythm outside of alarm clocks, reminders, and Facebook alerts. Reconnect.
Nourish Your Body with Fresh Flavors
Spring brings a bounty of fresh herbs, greens, and root vegetables. These foods are precisely what our bodies need to stay grounded amidst the changing season and clear out toxins. When spring days are chilly, treat your self to hearty vegetable soups or roasted roots. On the warmer days, like today, enjoy a crisp salad flavored with herbs and zesty dressing. I will be adding a few favorite recipes over the next week for you to sample.
As the ice of winter thaws and fills the streams and rivers, the stagnant energy in our bodies being to flow as well, often flooding us with undigested experiences and emotions leftover from winter's sleep. Unfortunately, we don't get quiet in winter anymore. Rarely do we offer ourselves the option to stay in, move slowly, rest, and process as nature intended. Instead, our pace grows more hectic than ever, fighting against the impending darkness and cold days with bright twinkle lights, parties, and pretty paper, going against the very gift of nature: A slow, dark, quiet time to rest and regenerate. As a consequence, we are overloaded with data. We move less, but input increases, resulting in imbalance that often presents as congestions, head colds, and the flu. Movement is vital to our bodies' filtration systems, and allows us to process our experiences, taking in nourishment from sweet connections with friends and loved ones, contentment with our work and sense of productivity, and, of course, the nourishment we take in from our food and nature. It also allows us to filter out the not-so-nourishing aspects of our experiences, and let them go. Holding on to unprocessed emotions and experiences is exhausting to the body. So, take a hike! Literally! Ride a bike, go rock climbing, do yoga, whatever speaks to you. Get out there and move!
As stress based illness claims over half of the top ten causes of death in the United States, it is incredibly important to recognize the signs of chronic stress, and take responsibility for our own stress management strategies and self care. We are in these bodies to experience life, not tolerate it. Each of us possess unique skills and talents that need to manifest through us for the greater good. Unmitigated stress rips the life force from those skills and talents, allowing them to go dormant and waste away. In the words of Martha Graham, "There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open."
Much love, health, and joy to you and yours,