Tuesday, March 24, 2015

'tis the season (& don't let the turkeys get you down)

 I couldn't resist ...

Actually, I am always excited to see turkey.  He comes around a lot when I am with Cowgirl and his presence reminds me abundance is always afoot.

Still, as the calendar pages flip over to a new season I remember: transitions are always dicey.  Stepping off a stable dock and into a wobbly boat, usually there is someone ready to assist with a steadying hand. How then to step out of winter's inertia and into the energy of Spring without slipping or falling?  What steadies me?

Even thought it is still March, I find myself reciting the opening lines to T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land":

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering     
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

There is something challenging in the promise of Spring finding its foundation in the death and decay of Winter. I remember according to Ayurveda the three qualities - the Gunas -  that describe all of existence: tamas (inertia, darkness, impurity), rajas (energy, action, change, movement) and sattva (balance, unity, purity). These principles also describe the cycles of creation, preservation (living), and destruction that are in constant motion even though we prefer not to dwell on the fact that the only certainty in life is that things - ourselves included - will change, will never stay the same.

I catch myself thinking that death seems to be winning.  So many around me have been touched by loss in recent months.  Just this week a neighbor went to the hospital and it is unlikely that he will be returning home. Yet this is the way of life: birth, living, then death. The cycle isn't amplifying so much as I am noticing it more. 

Winter is tamas: the time of rest, decay, the natural conclusion to all that growth and activity of the previous seasons. When the time comes, when Spring arrives, it brings with it energy - heat, sun, light - to awaken the earth and to start the cycle of living/growing once again. So too I must reinvigorate myself. I must generate within myself some heat, some energy and coming out of a dark phase, this is always clunky, always challenging.

Thankfully, I have a few go-to moves that I've collected over the years.  Actions that help jump-start my day and in turn my inner engine so that I find myself moving in the direction of wholeness, happiness, joyful action transforming into joyful being.

It's really ridiculously simple.  I attend to the clutter. I find an rhythm to my day. Tidying up the morning breakfast, feeding the dog, then heading upstairs where I toss a load of laundry into the wash. There is  something about tackling the ever-present piles of dirty clothes that acts as a reset button.  It is my feeble nod towards productivity. I may get little else done, but there will be some clean clothes by the end of the day. I then hop in the shower and after I have bathed and dressed, I go through the house opening up all of the blinds, letting in the morning light.

Spring cleaning ... it makes total sense.  Before new growth can happen, I've got to clear out the death wood, tidy and prepare the way so whatever wants to be born has a place to land.  I'm itching to get outside, but the weather gods are not ready for me just yet. 

Inside there is plenty of half baked projects shouting out for my attention.  I start small, finding paintings in various states of completion ...

Pushing paint is what my one friend calls it ...  getting the juices flowing ... I know from past experience it doesn't matter so what I do as long as I do something. It is about stoking the internal fire, moving energy.  Some of the best advice I received from a yoga mentor was to consider before eating which foods would give me energy versus take energy to digest and assimilate. Expanding upon that idea, what can I do to support healthy energy flow within myself?  

The answer for me has been taking time to read, reflect, and meditate; daily prayer outside; cooking and consuming fresh foods, exploring new recipes; exercise (oh to run in the warm sunshine); and play. Lots and lots of creative play.

In the face of so much loss, there is a pull towards collapse, an impulse towards inertia.  The only valid response to death - in my humble opinion - is to live. The counterpoint to tamas is rajas, action. Both are necessary, both are part of the ever moving wheel of birth, life, death and the dance of opening, receiving, and releasing.  

The way I move out of Winter mode and into Spring is to follow the energy. Nurture and support it and then allow it to support and carry me. I am amazed to discover there has been so much all around me, so much waiting to engage and awaken me.

paintings in various states of completion; my intention is to offer them for sale soon!

What are you finding as you move out of Winter's cave and back into the sunshine? What gets your juices flowing?


Welcoming the mystery, relaxing into the not knowing is one way to navigate through the transitions.


  1. your productivity amazes me Lisa <3 the Mystery is a friend to us all.

  2. Walking in the warmer (relatively speaking for NH!) air; knitting new projects, painting (you've inspired me!), or even driving with the windows down Anything to feel the coming spring!

    Now, I need to go throw in a load of laundry...

  3. oh sister of my heart. i love these glimpses into your life... we don't get the same weather patterns out here, so it is easier for me to cycle through into the next season. here, it all about light, the degree of light which grace my day. still, the equinox (on both ends) is persephone time, coming up and out or going down and in... a bit of effort is needed either way i suppose. xx