Greetings! Welcome to Spring!
Stems and Roots
The Love we show saves the Love we hide,
the way a sprig in sun feeds its unseen root.
Even though I believe in living in the open, parts of me hide. I can't help it. But what I can help is which parts of me- the open or the hidden- run my life. What I can rely on is this inexplicable knowing that when I am in the open, life nourishes even those parts so sorely hidden.
Just as green stems in spring stay connected to their darker roots, just as the roots grow when the stems do, my compassion soothes my fear where I can't see. Unknown to me, my love feeds the underside of my confusion. The light I take in keeps the roots of my soul alive.
We become so preoccupied with what we are not able to address, what we are not able to mend, what we are not able to leave behind, that we forget that whatever we are in the light of day is slowly, but surely, healing the rest of us.
I am struck by these words from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo and have reread them many times. Initially it spoke to me because of the beautiful imagery of spring, the arrival of which I have been very excited for as these past winter months have been particularly dark and grey.
Upon further study, the most striking part of this piece that I am continually learning, is how the dark, that which is in our roots that is not always exposed, informs our light. I have seen, especially in the yoga community, a denial of our darker parts. Rather than embracing the complexity of emotions and the discomfort they may bring, all to often in the yoga community the message of "choosing happy" is applied as a cure all. Neuroscience does prove that what we focus on the most is what the brain chooses to remember and I believe that is where this sentiment comes from. However, I feel it can easily wash away, or discredit someone's experience of sadness, loneliness and heartache. Being with these "darker" parts of ourselves is crucial to our understanding of ourselves more completely, wholly. I believe this embracing of the darkness informs the light within us.
I have definitely been through some dark periods in my life, where the light seemed so dim. Since I have started practicing yoga and meditation, I have slowly been able to allow more space for the darkness. For me this means sitting with feelings in my body and practicing self compassion for the pain I am experiencing. I interpret Nepo's message of living in the open as living in it all, not simply idealizing the light. I have experienced when I can let life live through me I am not so easily stuck in the darkness. As we move from the darkness to the light, to blossoms and spring air filled with loveliness, remember how the darkness of winter may have also nourished you. Below, I've included some Ayurvedic tips for intentionally transitioning into spring. I hope you enjoy them. I am also running the second round of the yoga course, The Heart of the Practice!
P.S. I added a prenatal yoga class at Namaste on Williams! :-)
P.P.S. Stay tuned for more news about my work as a doula!
Ayurvedic Tips for Spring
Move your body- Take a walk and enjoy the blossoms. Play basketball with your kids. Garden. Practice yoga. Get your heart rate up for 20 minutes a day if possible.
Establish a daily waking routine- Skip naps even on the grayest of Portland days. If you need time to rest, try legs up the wall pose!
Stay warm- Eat cooked, warm foods. Wear cozy clothes and warm colors like red, orange and yellow.
Practice heating pranayama- (unless you are pregnant). Try ujjayi and kapalabhati.
Spring cleaning- Clear out what you don't need, remove the clutter. Aren't we all happier when our space is tidy?
Connect- Spend meaningful time with your loved ones that warm your heart.