I think we have our holidays and celebrations all messed up. January 1st isn’t really that big a deal. It’s a good marker I suppose, a recognizable and finite period of time that we mark on our calendars, necessary for paying taxes.
But SPRING! The Vernal Equinox! The turning point of winter’s transition to spring when day and night are equal. Our days begin to lengthen and nights become shorter. THIS is worth celebrating! The Sun! Warmth! Gardens! Flowers! YESSSSSSS! Cultures all over the world, current and ancient, celebrate spring as a time of Renewal and Rebirth, Fertility and sowing seeds, the coming of the Sun after the darkness. Forget about January 1st when we have all this!
Especially after the longest, most intense, cold, dark winter EVER! right? THIS is worth making a big deal. HOW WILL YOU CELEBRATE? Don’t let this slip by as just another Thursday. This is special! Spring 2014. Lets begin today.
We all have a LOT on our plates. I won’t go into how we overuse the word stress for common daily events and circumstances right now (not in this article). No doubt there are stressful things going on in your life. But when traffic, workload, busy schedules, social activities and relationships all fall into your Stress Category, it might be time to make peace with the full and prosperous lives we have here.
Let me call your attention to a condition called Ritual Deficit Disorder. It’s kind of like the Nature Deficit Disorder that kids seem to be suffering these days, the excessive attachment to their “devices”, even though they are more portable now, seeing a child in the park or woods playing on their “device” is no improvement. Sometimes I think the more technologically advanced we become, the dumber we get… about some things. John Naisbitt, author of High Tech High Touch: Technology and Our Search for Meaning tells us that “We must learn to balance the material wonders of technology with the spiritual demands of our human race.”
Ritual can be an intentional way to embrace or cope with change, from winter to spring in this case. Rituals can help to weather difficulties and life transitions; to express and transform feelings; to make us feel part of a greater whole; to give greater meaning to our lives. How can we let the wonder of Spring go by without honor and appreciation? It’s easy to be grateful for Spring, right? Perhaps if we can start with a ritual of appreciation for Spring, it’ll be easier to create rituals for other events in our lives, not just birthdays and anniversaries, but all kinds of changes and transitions: moving to a new home, overcoming an illness, losing a loved one, a new job, another menstrual cycle, an upcoming IUI or IVF, a new friend, a new good habit, quitting an old habit… It’s endless.
If you’re suffering from Ritual Deficit Disorder or depression or sadness or boredom or stress! let Spring be your first 2014 ritual.
- Get yourself some dirt. You might want to buy a bag from a nursery.
- Get a pot or a tray for planting seeds.
- Get some seeds. If this seems too daunting, get a sprout or cutting of basil or a flower…
- A candle, or 3 or 4 candles.
- Some flowers.
- A piece of fabric, tablecloth, sarong
Lay out your fabric, create your ritual space, light your candles. Add anything else that makes it special for you: a statue or symbol of your faith, a picture of a relative/ancestor. Fruits or vegetables. Music. Make it yours.
You may want to sit quietly, think about what spring means in your life: a new beginning; renewal; rebirth; a transition; perhaps greater activity? You may ask yourself: what do I want to cultivate this year? What projects and plans will I sink my energy into? What beauty will I create in the world? How will I walk in the world in beauty, balance, and delight? The equinoxes are the times when day and night, dark and light, are equal and in balance. Ask yourself, what, if anything, is out of balance in my life? What will I do to bring myself back into balance?
Write about it if you like. Or not.
I offer you this reading. You may want to find a different one. What does spring mean in your life? What would you like for it to be? What is your intention?
For a New Beginning by John O’Donohue
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to fiind ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul sense the world that awaits you.
I hope you have a lovely and meaningful celebration!
Of course, you can dance around a fire too if you like. But use a small flame in case your leap isn’t as high as it once was. Enjoy yourself.