“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
Even though he could be a bit arrogant at times, HDT is still one of my favorite writers. I had the great pleasure of taking a pilgrimage to Walden last fall and can see why he was so drawn to the place. While I am not likely to see the pond this Spring, I am enjoying the greening and blooming of the land here in Carolina. The little veggies we planted in our garden this weekend are enjoying the return of the sun; the daffodils and Bradford pears are all cheery and bright; if you look closely you can even see, or sense, the return of the sap flowing in the trees. There’s a budding juiciness to this time of year as the building and storing energy of winter begins to thaw.
HDT offers us the wisdom of “living each season as it comes and… resigning ourselves to the influence of the earth.” This resignation is one more of yielding, of being guided and led rather than passive fatalism.
What are some of the influences of the earth in Spring to which we can yield? Take a moment and check in with yourself. Notice if you are beginning to feel the impulse to clean your house, or your closets; to clear out the underbrush in the yard; to transition your wardrobe, to wear brighter colors and eat brighter, lighter flavors in your food. You may also notice that just as the weather pulses between days of sun and relative warmth and days of cold damp your instincts also pulse between the need to brighten and lighten and the desire to stay warm and cozy. Listen to this! These natural impulses to lighten and brighten while still staying warm are inherently balancing to the influence of the earth in Spring. Here’s why.
In Spring, the natural world thaws. You know this. It’s pretty obvious. But did you also realize that in the Spring your body goes through a thawing of sorts as well? This thawing shows up your body as in the thinning of the bile in your liver so that the fat stores you’ve been building and using during the winter can clear a little; it also shows up in the expulsion of mucus as the body is naturally more hydrated by the damp atmosphere of Spring and lessening of the dry qualities of indoor heat and air.
Now, for some of you these thawing and greening influences of Spring may be your favorite of the year. You may tend to feel really great during the Spring. For others they may be a challenge as you find yourself more susceptible to allergies and colds. By following the natural impulse to lighten and brighten while also staying warm you support an optimal environment for your body to thaw and detoxify – to get rid of whatever you no longer need so you can live into your fullest potential for health and vitality on every level.
There are many ways to live into the detoxifying and greening influence of the earth in Spring. You can do this by clearing your body through eating fresh food; cleaning your house, your closets, your car; you might even clear your mind and spirit through meditation and yoga. Here’s the great part, it all works together! Whether through food, yoga or just taking out a few bags of garbage you are leaning into and resigning yourself to the influence of the earth. Some years or seasons you may feel the need to detox more physically, some years you may feel a greater need for mental or spiritual cleansing. Whatever the impulse, I urge you to flow with it!
Living with the rhythms of the seasons, be they rhythms of clearing or transforming or building, heightens your sensitivity and guides you to greater harmony through a very deep feeling of integration and belonging in this tapestry of life.
In the Bringing You to Balance Coaching course we’ve been exploring ways to stay vibrant and healthy throughout the year; to lean into the influence of each season, enjoy its gifts and skillfully navigate its challenges. Last week we had an excellent conversation with Charlotte Clews, a yoga teacher from Maine who graciously talked with us about some of the specific influences and challenges of Spring mentioned above.
Listen to the Call!!
In the meantime, here are some beautiful ways to let yourself lean into Spring: to resign yourself to its influences; to enjoy its gifts and navigate its challenges.
Spring Wellness Tips:
- Layer Up: It’s still a little chilly, don’t ditch your coat just yet. Layer to keep your core temp even. This will keep you grounded as the winter chill thaws and warms.
- Love Lemon: Try drinking a few cups of hot water with lemon first thing in the morning and sipping the same throughout the day. The astringency of the lemon will help thin that thick winter bile and give your system a kickstart on its internal Spring cleaning. (Which it will do with or without your knowledge. Why not help it along!)
- Breathe in the Earth: Take some time, first thing in the am if possible to walk outside and breathe in the pungent, fresh earth. Feel revived just as the earth is revived.
- Taste the Flavors of Spring: Notice if you’re drawn to more bright flavors in your food at this time year. Things like asparagus, lemon, shoots and sprouts, early greens, bitter green tea, beets, carrots and artichokes. All of these tastes and flavors naturally support the Spring cleaning and thaw going on in the world and in your body. Enjoy them in abundance.
- Enjoy an Evening Sabbath: Take advantage of the extra light in the evening. Go for a walk, spend time in the garden, read, do something pleasurable and renewing. A few times a week, let your evening be one of calm renewal more than vegetative collapse.
- Loosen the Lymph: Lymph (from the Roman goddess Lympha – whose name means clear, fluid water) is the fluid carried through a series of channels and vessels in the body. It functions as a major part of the body’s garbage disposal system. Since it lacks its own pump (like the heart for the circulatory system) it needs muscle movement to help it flow. Stimulate your lymphatic drainage through arm, wrist and ankle circles, crossing one arm in front of your chest then letting it float back behind you (like a ballerina would do), even shaking out your arms and legs.
- Twist it Out: Just like wringing out a dish rag, you can further support the cleaning and cleansing of your lymph and organs by adding some twists to your yoga practice. Start with some gentle, open twists like those in an open lunge pose and wring your way up (or in) to deeper twists such as revolved standing poses, parivrtta janusirsana and ardha matsyendrasana.
- Be Present for the Dawn: Get up at or before sunrise. Drink your hot water then step outside or stay by a window and watch the sun come up. Delight in the colors and the knowledge that you didn’t have to do anything to make all this beauty possible. The same creative flow that awakens the world, also awakens you! Lean into it.
Incidentally, Presence the Dawn is the current working title of the novel I have been writing. Writing this novel has been very much an exercise in resigning to the seasons. I’m almost finished. It seems fitting that as the world reawakens and the plants blossom up from the earth I move into the final phase of the story. I expect to have the first draft completed by the time the spring crop is mature and ready for a May harvest.
What seeds in your life have you planted that are now starting to green and which, as you lean into the clearing and greening influence of Spring, will blossom and bloom?