If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the Vernal Equinox is upon us. Vernal, meaning Spring, but also fresh, new and youthful, aligns perfectly with what is unfolding within us and all around. For those of us living just the right distance from the equator, life is beginning to awaken in its many forms. Green tips of daffodils, crocuses, and tulips are beginning to poke through the thawing earth. The honks of geese are sounding more and more frequently as they return north and begin their annual mating ritual. The buds are carefully sprouting on happy tree branches, and the days are feeling longer with more sunshine and later sunsets.
The Vernal Equinox is our astronomical Spring representing a shift in the seasons. Technically speaking, on the day of the equinox, the daytime and nighttime for the entire planet is nearly equal, a balance of light and dark. We in the Northern Hemisphere will then begin to see the light grow each day until the Summer Solstice. These three traits of the Vernal Equinox, the change in seasons, the balance of light and dark, and the growing daylight, all support personal ritual in unique and transformational ways. Tune into what is speaking to you, and honor the equinox in your own special way.
Spring Cleaning & Creating
Many of us find ourselves intuitively (or programmatically) cleaning things in the home, the office, the car, and within our personal lives as Spring nears. We’re coming out of a time of death (Autumn) and dormancy (Winter), and we need to clear things if we want to welcome in something new. Many of us think about cleaning the obvious bits, the house, the closets, the car, the basement. Add some lemon, lime, pine or fir essential oils or burn some sage, and your spaces will feel like new again. Space clearing is important, but don’t forget those other less tangible parts of your life. Is there a commitment that doesn’t serve you that you can let go of? Does your calendar or to do list need some spring cleaning? Are there habits that felt comforting in the Winter that you can release now, social media, television, sleeping in, and so on? Use this time of the year to check in with what you absolutely need to be doing and want to be doing, and let go of the rest.
Once you’ve cleaned it all up, you can then ask yourself what it is you want to call into your life. The Sun’s warmth and light is signaling to many of our plant and animal friends to come out of hibernation and begin to grow again. Supported by the Sun’s energy, creation is happening all around us in great magnitude. Align with the creation that is unfolding around you and tune into your soul’s desire for what it is you want to create in life. Spend some time outside around nature and allow yourself to soak up its energy. Consider a creative project or writing/journaling project to get those creative juices flowing. Mandala coloring books are all the rage, but they’re also quite practical for opening up to your creative energy if it’s not something that comes natural to you. If you don’t want to be specific but rather allow things to flow in naturally, then all you need to do is remain open. Just don’t forget to clear out the clutter first or there will be no room for creating anew!
We have at least two different elements related to balance to play with and ponder during this Equinox, the balance of dark and light, our shadow and expressed selves, as well as an investigation into what might be out of balance in our lives. Our shadow self is that part of our personality that is hidden, unexpressed. Often times this refers to negative traits like jealousy, envy or fear, but the shadow can be anything that we suppress in our subconscious and are unaware. It could be something positive in our personality that gets suppressed because of low self esteem or anxiety. The real question is how do we see these things that are hidden in our subconscious? They tend to rear their ugly heads in ways that we may or may not be aware. If you ever find yourself upset with or annoyed by someone, take a look at what about them or the situation is bothering you. Sometimes this can literally shed light on the shadow characteristic that you are hiding from yourself. Another way of truly seeing your whole self in a loving way is to meditate, mindfully. This doesn’t mean that you use a breath or mantra to try and quiet the mind, this means you allow your mind to be still and see what comes up when it’s trying to be still. Maybe this is something you want to practice on the Equinox with the intention of being open to your shadow side, knowing that the truth will set you free. If you don’t allow yourself to see your whole self, to accept your whole self, you will continue to act from those imbalanced places in your subconscious. It’s a good day to practice self love regardless of what’s hidden in the shadow. This can be extremely powerful and liberating. Here’s a yoga set that will help you with this.
Another aspect of your life that you may want to be open to in your mindfulness meditation is whether there are parts of your life that are out of balance. It’s not something to judge yourself about. These things happen which is why welcoming ritual into your life on some sort of regular schedule will allow you to check in with how you are spending your time, how you are eating, and how you are taking care of yourself to ensure a healthy balance. Sometimes building in a monthly check in helps to keep perspectives clear about what you wish for yourself, what you want to be doing in life, and how you want to be living. As we celebrate the balance of light and dark, consider setting a new intention to check in on your life’s balance each month. Put it in your calendar and keep a journal to track your patterns and habits and make adjustments accordingly. Here’s a yoga set for balancing your head and your heart which will bring a balance between logic and feeling and between ideas and the energy to execute upon them. When your life is in balance or harmony, that’s when you can really find your flow in life, surfing over the low times and riding the momentum in the high times.
Rebirthing into You
We have many opportunities to embrace a rebirth in our lives, after a crisis, monthly during a New Moon, every morning we awake, or any time of your choosing really. Springtime can be a particularly powerful time for rebirthing and re-emerging into our being, our authentic and divine selves. Just like the cleaning of our closets, it’s important for us to clear our bodies and our minds as well. From the time we are in the womb until this very moment, we are accumulating impressions, making decisions, and taking action. Depending upon the family we come from, the experiences we’ve had and the people we’ve interacted with throughout life, we are often shaped by forces outside of ourselves.
One of the key reasons for practicing yoga and meditation is to align with our true selves, our authentic selves, to tune in to our heart’s unique song. While rebirthing can sometimes feel unpleasant as we release old traumas and emotions, it can be incredibly freeing in how we move forward in life. Even if you’re not someone who’s experienced significant trauma or crisis in life, we are still very much a product of our environment, the news and media we consume, who we work with and the work we do, our social circles and our social networking habits. It takes regular clearing, meditating or other self awareness practices to prevent the accumulation of significant gunk. (That’s an official yogic term btw.) Rebirthing is a powerful way of resetting the self on a cellular level. Rebirthing practices can take many forms, from visualizations to breathwork. If you have experienced trauma and want to embark upon a rebirthing experience, it is highly recommended that you work with a professional who can create a safe and held space for you and guide you through it. If you are someone who is looking for a Spring reboot because of things you’ve accumulated this past year, then try this breath exercise. If you’re new to breathwork, then you may want to take it slow to start. Listen to yourself and follow your intuition. Be open to trusting and loving yourself completely. A good mantra for this work is, “I am.” It’s a complete sentence. There are no requirements, expectations, or limitations, just full acceptance of you. At the heart of it all, that’s all the work that needs to be done.