I am an introvert loving the autumn and winter, the months of the year where dusk and dark thrive. Over the past several months I am content to stay inside the "womb" of my home and office to emerge in my work day and creative work. But now, it is March and my wife reminds me (one of the reasons why I love her) that it is time to step out into the light and find the renewal and rejuvenation of our life-cycle.
On March 20, 2017, at 5:28 am (PDT), it is the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere; marking the end of winter. The equinox is the time of year when the length of day equals the length of night all over the world. At this moment of the year this equinox ignites spring and a desire for renewal.
With the arrival of lengthening days and shorter nights consider greeting spring with some rituals to welcome change, growth, revitalization, and renewal for yourself. Rituals - those symbolic behaviors you perform before, during, and after a meaningful event - can help mark the beginning of a fresh start or new direction. They are often used to mark the passage of time or commemorate an ending or a beginning.
Consider some of these Rituals over the next few days and weeks (inspired by The Chopra Center's outline of "Spring Equinox: 5 Rituals for a Fresh Start).
Your Practice in Movement - movement is the medicine to a healthy and fit life. Activate and stimulate your brain/body and body/brain relationship. Commit to expressing your body's potential through movement to enhance strength and flexibility. Challenge your mind/body focus and integration. Create new patterns of movement to release "worn-out" habits that no longer serve you.
- Find time to move everyday. Include Nia or "Integrating Pilates" Classes at Santa Barbara DANCE ARTS on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of every week.
- Consider a short-term or long-term commitment (many options available) to the Pilates methodology of body mobility and stability. Private or Semi-Private Sessions allow personal focus and intention to better movement.
Plant some Seeds - what you plant grows in the physical world and in metaphor. Clarify your intentions and mindset. Enhance your purpose and potential of your body, mind, emotions and spirit. Find time to plant, nurture and prosper in the possibility of a new thought, feeling and action. Set your intention as you would plant a seed and relax into what will come.
- Plant colorfully luscious flowers, cooking herbs, edible vegetables, drought tolerant succulents, a tree you'll nurture over the years; let them become the metaphor.
- Journal your inner thoughts and feelings. Activate your body into manifesting your words into movement and action; empower your power of mind and body.
Time to Cleanse - time for a Spring Cleaning not only your home and office, consider other parts of your life that could use a tidying up or deep cleaning. Even more than a vacuum and broom, take a look at your clothes closet, your car, your kitchen and the food that you eat. Let go of figuring out what you think you might need "someday".
- Let your intuition guide you: what do you truly need to release and let go? If you have not used something, touched it or looked at it over the past 6 months; perhaps, it is time to give it away or sell it.
- Let go of old habits that hold you back from other choices. Nothing is ever a permanent change, try a one-time refresh. Get creative. Rearranging a room to boost your mood or donate old books to the library.
Head for the Hills (or the Beach?) - find a moment in the morning or the evening to shift your attention to the outside. Get out and stand, walk, run or dance in the sun-rise, mid-day or sun-set. Take a moment to connect and engage with the world around you. Nature can reduce depression and help heal in all kinds of ways.
- Create a ritual of going outside at the same time each day or to the same spot each week to better notice the spring awakening as it occurs.
- Take a new way home. Turn a different direction in your everyday path; let yourself sense and feel the stimulation of something new.
Time for Yourself - choose what metaphorical seeds you are planting this season, and how you will nurture them. What do you value, what do you desire and what are you hoping to align with? Get body-work that will stimulate your sensibilities to sensation and your proprioception (where are you in space and time). Give time to be yourself in body, mind, emotions and spirit.
- Light a candle or set up an altar to create a personal and sacred space for only you.
- Share with someone you trust, tell them about your focus and intentions to support you in your actions.
Welcome the spring time of potential and possibility.
Move and dance into a renewed sense of yourself.
The darkness has served its purpose and, now,
we move into the light!