My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.
Spring Equinox occurs midway between the longest night of the year, at Winter Solstice, and the longest day of the year, at Summer Solstice. It is called an Equinox from the Latin “equal” and “night,” but in reality, the equality of day and night is only approximate and depends on your geographic location! In 2013, the Spring Equinox occurs at 6:02 am Central Time on March 20th.
Following on Winter’s long, cold, inward time, it is natural for us to be ready for the new life and new beginnings which Spring Equinox promises. Many cultures celebrate the Spring Equinox, which often has a connotation of beginning a new year or cycle, with celebrations such as Nowruz (Zoroastrians, Ba’hai and Persians) and Ostara (Celtic, Wiccan, and NeoPaganism). Here in Minnesota, we usually have to wait a little longer to see much physical evidence, but around this time, Winter’s grasp does begin to noticeably lessen as breezes begin to warm, snow melts more quickly, migrating birds begin to return, and early bulbs may even start poking up through the slowly warming earth.
Spring invites us to remember the natural rhythm of the seasons—it’s time, once again, to surge forth into fresh, new life, to open to a new cycle of growth, opportunity, and fortune. And yet, we can also keep in mind what the Equinox represents—just enough balance of day and night, dark and light. We can take a lesson from the plants that will soon emerge—even as the light beckons them to green again, their roots reach down into the dark, fertile earth for its support. Can we keep our feet firmly planted in the dark, ground of inner support that Wintertime has taught us while we reach into the excitement and possibility of Spring?
One common Springtime practice for opening to the newness and freshness is Spring cleaning. This can take many forms—cleaning and decluttering your home, your garden, your relationships, your soul…However you do it, I suggest it not be about banishing anything from your life, but instead about mindfully choosing life-affirming practices that could help you to live your life more fully. What could you choose to cleanse or enter into this Spring that will help you to open to new possibilities and growth? What will support your soul so that more of you can awaken to the possibility of new life? You may want to write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends that could include the following:
• Light a candle, yellow or light green in color;
• Place a living plant near the candle and meditate on the balance of root support and outer growth needed for this plant to thrive, sensing your own internal rootedness.
• When you are ready, breathe in one life-affirming quality or practice you might like to take on this Spring, and breathe out its opposite (don’t overthink this, whatever arises is fine). Do this for awhile until nothing new arises.
• Sit quietly, breathing at your own pace, with the living flame of the candle and the living essence of the plant, breathing into your own living, growing soul.
• When you are ready, say thank you and blow out the candle.
After the Spring Equinox, the days continue to grow longer, until at Summer Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest day. Please plan to join us for our Spring Equinox Celebration at Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul this year on March 20th! May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.
Collage as a Practice. I have a collage waiting for me to write about, but it hasn’t been the right time, so that one will have to wait…This collage represents my New Year’s Intention of living more in Natural Presence. It is good to revisit now as I write this Spring Equinox blogpost—just seeing the image again reminds me of why I continue to do my practices. I practice out of devotion to my essence, my soul’s unfolding. I want to be more whole, more natural, more simply present and awake and alive. Collage is one of the practices that helps me to get in touch with this, along with many others I write about in this blog!
What practices do you take on from a place of inviting your soul’s individual unfolding? When do you feel simply present and alive?
Connected, Grounded, & Alive! A 4-week Women’s Practice Circle. Do you feel stressed by life and out of touch with your natural, feminine state of being? Join a group of women to practice connecting with our feminine essence more deeply. We’ll explore with movement and inquiry how to nourish and cultivate our connected, grounded, and alive life-force energy in order to feel happy, authentic, and whole!
No prior knowledge or experience is necessary. Starting this Sunday, March 17th! For more information, see our calendar.
How do you stay in touch with your body? How do you nourish your instinctual life?
Laughter as a Happiness Practice! Come explore the art of laughter to invite more joy, play, and wellbeing into your life! Because of the deep pranayamic breathing exercises, this form of practice is also called Laughter Yoga, but it does not include any physical asanas and can be practiced by people of all ages who are willing to be a little bit silly. It was started in 1995 by a family physician in India and is now widely practiced in over 65 countries around the world. Medical research supports its physical and emotional health-giving effects.
I am a Certified Laughter Yoga leader, and I offer a few different opportunities for laughing with a group. The Summit Hill Laughter Club meets two Wednesdays/month, April-June 2013 at St. Paul Yoga Center: 4/10, 4/24, 5/1, 5/15, 6/5, 6/19 from 7:30-8:30 pm. No registration required, donations for use of the space accepted. I also offer a for-fee Noontime Laughter Class two Mondays/month at Tula Yoga & Wellness: 3/25, 4/8, 4/29, 5/6, 5/20, $10-$15 suggested donation, drop-in, 12:00-12:50 pm. Please contact me if you have any questions—I would love to laugh with you!
How do you consciously bring more happiness and joy into your life?
Reverending/Ceremony. I absolutely love performing ceremonies that bring more honoring of our intentions and love into the world! This above laughing picture was from a wedding I performed, and I facilitate the Seasonal Celebrations like Spring Equinox at my Unitarian Church. Let me know if I can assist you in honoring any transitions or special moments in your life—Weddings, Baby Blessings, Seasonal and Transitional Rituals, Memorial Services… You can read more about my practice of ministry.
What have you celebrated recently? How did you create sacred space to welcome or honor a life passage?
The Enneagram. Dave and I just finished facilitating a couple’s retreat using the Enneagram at our favorite B&B, Journey Inn, in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. It was a beautiful, sweet, and intimacy-building experience for everyone. Our next offering will be our Deepening Practice Study Group focused on The Enneagram & Childhood Development: Healing the Past & Attaining Wholeness. In this highly experiential workshop, we will use Margaret Mahler’s model of sequential stages of psychological growth to explore how the different phases in our early childhood development (from birth into our fourth year) leave distinctive imprints on each of the nine types. For more information, see our calendar. We hope you can join us!
How do you gain insight on the unfolding and inner workings of your soul? What maps or tools work for you to access your innermost self?
Awakening Spring Blessings, Katy