Our Evolving Selves: Visioning a Spring Growth Spurt
- 2012 March-April
Like most people, I rejoice in the coming of spring. Despite my firm intention to appreciate nature’s pageantry all year round, the short, dark days of winter tend to leave me cold, inert, and unmotivated. All forms of life are designed to adapt to their environment, becoming quiescent in the autumn and reactivated in the spring. We humans are no exception. Spring is the perfect time to effect a positive change in our lives because the ever-lengthening days of warmth and light — and all of nature’s responses to them — are powerful cues for new growth. This is the ritual that I’ll be doing to capitalize on the potential for renewal inherent in the season. I hope you’ll consider joining me!
Day One. To make way for new growth, it helps to clear our mental landscape of any pernicious thoughts or feelings. Throughout the day, whenever a negative thought or feeling crops up, stop and consider both the event that prompted it, and the sensitivity within you that made you vulnerable to it. Jot this information down on a piece of paper. At the end of the day, go back to the first feeling you noted. Allow yourself to embody it as fully as possible. It’s likely that you’ll start experiencing memories of a time in the past when a younger version of yourself felt similarly. Follow the feeling all the way down to its historical root tip. For example, maybe you had a thought about an upcoming date with a friend who forgot your birthday, and that triggered a complex feeling of hurt and anger. As you let yourself embody this feeling, you might recall the time when your best friend in college failed to show up at your recital, and then you remember the time when your father didn’t make it home for your fifth birthday party. Now, ask yourself what kind of loving reassurance might have eased your pain in that long-ago moment. Give it to yourself, just as you would any child suffering from emotional pain. Take all the time you need. Then, when you’re ready, move on to the next feeling on your list and repeat these steps. When you’ve completed this clearing process, give yourself a huge hug, take a warm bath, and get a good night’s rest.
Day Two. Now that you’ve prepared the ground, it’s time to stimulate the growth cycle by syncing yourself with nature. The sun is the ultimate source of energy, light, and warmth for all of life on earth. Simply witnessing the solar ascent is enough to lift our spirits, but bright sunlight also stimulates serotonin production, gifting us with a sustained elevation in mood and vitamin D production, providing us with an essential pro-hormone with many rejuvenating properties. So set an alarm to wake yourself up early enough to greet your celestial benefactor. Don some comfortable clothes, and go outside to watch the sunrise. Do a few (or many) sun salutations or simple stretches, and then spend a moment watching a new bloom opening to the day or witnessing a bird take flight across the sky. Appreciate your own integration within this majestic ever-changing world.
Now, settle into a comfortable position facing the sun, and focus your awareness on the slow, rhythmic ebb and flow of your breath. In your mind’s eye, imagine a vast, open landscape resting beneath a bright blue sky. Visualize the sun rising at the horizon. Continue breathing rhythmically as you focus on the sun. If an errant thought emerges, simply allow it to drift on past. Now imagine that the sun’s energy is seeping into your body (which, of course, it is). See it as a glowing, warming yellow light, warming your flesh, sinking into your muscles, and gently melting away tension. See it entering into the dark recesses within you, seeping into your heart as it beats and your lungs as you deeply breathe. See it filling your pelvis, your thighs, your calves, your feet, and moving into your arms and hands, your throat and head, and your mind. Feel your energy level rising. Feel yourself connected with the whole of creation, for, indeed, you are. If you have a specific goal for how you wish to grow your self in this beautiful season, bring it to mind now as your accomplishment, taking root in this very moment, for indeed, it has.