One of the ways to stay in touch with the big picture is to honor natures transitions as well as our own. What better time to explore this than as we move through the transition from winter into spring. Known as nature’s birthing season, spring is considered a time of creation in our world. Energies, which were drawn inward in winter for rest and renewal, are now ready to come forth and blossom. The first day of spring, usually March 21st, was on March 20th this year due to the leap year. On this day, the Vernal Equinox marks the time when day equals night. It is the beginning of the period when daylight, the sun, and yang (outward) energy will be the dominant force in our lives. At this time, I always become aware of the substantial difference in my energy as the days become longer; I begin to feel more drawn to the outer world, as I am sure many of you do.
Although for some of us, this winter was so mild that at times it actually felt like spring, honoring this shift can still be an essential way to deepen our sense of connection to our natural world and to ourselves. This time of transition gives us an opportunity to take a look at our lives and to begin to consciously create a plan of emergence. Spring is all about emergence. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of emergence is:
- the process of becoming visible after being concealed;
- the escape of an insect or other invertebrate from an egg, cocoon, or pupal case; and
- the process of coming into existence or prominence.
Although several origins are attributed, one of the oldest is from the Latin emergere, meaning, “bring to light”. One of the first signs of this for me is when I see new shoots bursting through the earth. The first I saw this year were the crocuses, which came early, but now new life is emerging in every direction. Just as the new shoots burst forth through the earth, we, too, are emerging from our “shell” of winter. This is a wonderful time to explore what we can leave behind that is no longer serving us and begin cultivate the energies and inspirations that can help us become more authentic and whole.
Spring is a time for planting; it is the greening season. In addition to planting outside, it is a time to really consider what new growth is emerging in various aspects of our lives, our work and our relationships. It is a time to let our dreams blossom. Being in tune with the rhythms of nature and of the season, can support us in allowing our own newness to unfold. Beginning to spend more time outdoors, in the natural world, feeling the earth’s energies is a way to align ourselves with the change that is occurring both inwardly and outwardly.
In Chinese Medicine, spring is associated with the Wood element, which governs the gallbladder and liver organs. The energy of Wood carries a connection to structure and this can be a good time to create new structures for our transformation. Mentally, Wood corresponds to ideas; it supports our mental clarity, focus and our ability to plan and make decisions. Wood is associated with the East and so rules the morning. Having a balanced Wood element gives us a capacity to be energized as we begin each day. Another association of spring is the Wind, which helps to clear the old and bring in the new. Creating a blueprint for how we would like our life to be is a way to bring this new vision to life. It is also a powerful time for beginning a morning practice of meditation or reflection.
The liver and gallbladder, the organs associated with Wood, carry out essential functions, particularly digestion and processing of the many substances we take into our bodies. A healthy diet and exercise can support these organs and the proper functioning of our whole energy system. Spring is wonderful time to review our eating habits, to take time to eat slowly and mindfully, allowing our food to digest and provide vital nutrients. A good seasonal diet includes many greens, fruits and whole grains. It is also a very good time for detoxification with fasting or juicing as a helpful part of the cleansing process. Just as with our mind or emotions, this is a way to leave the past behind, to cleanse the physical and to create new structures for our well-being with diet and exercise.
By following the laws of nature, we can learn to live in more balanced, healthy and conscious ways. It is when we move outside the laws of nature or resist change that we meet with difficulties. By becoming in tune with the energies of spring, on all levels, we can begin to move into greater harmony within ourselves and the world. This is a key component to holding the big picture in daily life. Spring is a perfect time to connect with our own creative intelligence and to allow our true nature to guide us forward to rebirth.
I began this spring by going on a medicine walk. I was planning to go on a medicine walk to honor a transition I am going through and it seemed like the beginning of spring was the perfect time. A medicine walk is a practice used by indigenous peoples to connect with Spirit and to gather medicine that comes from the wisdom of the natural world. How often in our modern world do we spend a whole day in nature, just wandering through the woods, sitting by the river, meditating with the trees and rocks, listening to the birds and seeking wisdom and guidance from nature? I find this practice to be a powerful tool for marking transitions; for letting go of the old and inviting in the new. And, what better practice for honoring the time of transition into spring. Whether for a whole day, a few hours or even a short time, I encourage you to take some time to go out in nature, to tune into yourself and to consider what you are ready and willing to let go of and what energies and qualities you might like to cultivate in your life. Allow the wisdom of the natural world to be your guide, harmonize with the energies of spring and emerge into your own new beginning.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, reflections and experiences as you transition into Spring.