Something’s Coming… Simple Steps to Ease into Spring
“Spring is made of solid, fourteen-karat gratitude, the reward for the long wait. Every religious tradition from the northern hemisphere honors some form of April hallelujah, for this is the season of exquisite redemption, a slam-bang return to joy after a season of cold second thoughts.”
– Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
“Something’s cooommminnngggg…” Ismael Araya, my Costa Rican surf shaman, would say as we bobbed on our surfboards in Costa Rica. We would all look up and into the distance and see a big set coming. “Something’s commminggg… paddle out!” He would shout with excitement.
We would start paddling out with all of our strength so that we could turn around and catch this big set. I like to think of this big set as spring time. Springtime is this big energy, this big wave, this big force of momentum that we can catch and ride. We feel this excitement and energy in the body and in the air, this momentum to cleanse our bodies, get outside, get moving, and play. This wave of spring is bringing us so many amazing opportunities, from new retreats to coming together for Earth Day.
The planet is gearing back up for springtime, too! The birds are back, and the plants are starting to bud again. Spring is like recess for the planet. There are certain things to do in the spring time because if you don’t clear out the pathways or the streams in your body and mind, things can get clogged. That’s why this is an essential time to spring clean internally. A bunch of us at WQ are participating in John Douillard’s spring cleanse called the Colorado Cleanse. Feel free to join! It starts on April 13th.
If you don’t clear the pathways, you can get more anxious, angry, and have gallbladder or liver congestion. Colorado springtime, for example, can be pretty stressful — one day it’s 70 degrees and sunny and the next day it’s snowing! But if you get on top of it, paddle out and you catch that wave, you’re gonna glide all the way through summer being super healthy.
We’re also getting so excited about the momentum of moving together and playing together soon. We have tons of amazing retreats happening this June, including the Sonoma Cycling and Hiking Retreat, which has 6 spots open. All of the incredible California flowers will be blooming, and we will spend our days cycling, hiking, wine tasting, and kayaking down the Russian river.
We’re also headed to Jackson Hole at the end of June (3 spots open), and there’s no better place to be at the start of summer than in the mountains.
Note: In order to travel to Iceland, you must be vaccinated. For the other trips, you don’t need to be vaccinated, but we do require a negative test prior to the trip. We are thrilled to travel and be together again, especially on such special retreats!
When spring rolls around, I just feel this deep need to get outside and play. (Okay, yes, I feel this almost all year long as well). But to help you do that better, that’s why we have the simple ways to ease into spring. Get greens in your body, breathe in the new air, count dandelions, and watch clouds drift by!
Simple Ways to Ease into Spring:
Spring is the Season of HOPE, RENEWAL, AND JOY. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, you are not alone! Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States. It affects around 40 million adults each year, and I think it is because we are so stressed out by deadlines and bottom lines! Springtime also brings us allergies and more light which affects our circadian rhythms
Seasonal shifting can be stressful for everyone including the flowers. I often wonder how the flowers break through frozen ground, withstand freezing temperatures and snow and still Bloom. It takes a lot of COURAGE! The earth has heard the wake up call and it is reminding us it is to do some spring cleaning to reduce our anxiety. Everything inside us starts to thaw out. There are old emotions, stiff joints, and stagnant fluids that are all yearning to flow once again. To help you refresh this spring I have taken a few clues from nature to help give you a jump start on your spring cleaning.
- Get Moving
- Meditate and Breathe
- Giving Thanks
1) Get moving:
The first natural impulse is to start moving more because many of us have been inside all winter (and all year!). Moving/Jogging/Riding/Dancing just feels good ,and it can put some Spring back into your Step! All of the animals, from elk to bunnies, are out frolicking and hopping around, and flowers are blossoming and shooting up through the tough ground to reach the sun. The planet is ready for spring; it is time to play!
As spring comes, people also start to move more, stretching their muscles after a long winter’s rest. The spring can be a good time to start a training program, but don’t worry, you will naturally lose weight in the springtime. All animals shed weight in the spring and so will you. JUST MOVE EVERYDAY AND PLAY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!
SIMPLE STEP: Just move around, dance, shake, take the stairs, go for a walk but GET OUTSIDE! Get your daily dose of nature and do forest bathing. We will also be relaunching our Movement Quest, an 8-week training program, this spring!
2) Time to Meditate and Breathe
This Spring tune-up is regarding your inner fitness. This is often the hardest to get going yet it is the easiest. All you need to do is take some quiet time each day to sit down, follow your breath, and meditate. It sounds easy right? This is important for any time of the year but especially in the springtime when you may start to feel anxious.
Meditation activates the body’s relaxation response through the HPA axis, the central stress response system. This lowers cortisol and slows your breathing rate, relaxes muscles, and reduces blood pressure. It also stimulates regions of the brain that control worrying.
It is hard for me to sit still at any time, but when the earth is bursting with energy, it is especially hard to calm my sympathetic nervous system. But this signals to me that this is the time that I really need to sit and be quiet so that I can stay grounded, focused, and centered in the rush of spring.
Usually, if I trick myself and say I will only sit for 5 minutes I can get myself sitting. Then, once you have been sitting for 5 minutes you are relaxed and you feel like sitting more. My average sit time is about 20 – 30 minutes. I focus on my breath and just let all my old winter thoughts and patterns flow out without notice or care.
In fact, the word breath comes from the word inspiration or inspire. This quiet time can also help you get the inspiration you need to take on the new spring challenges. The whole idea in the spring is to “lighten up,” so eating light spring foods, thinking light spring thoughts, and meditating can really be beneficial to your “lightness of being.”
SIMPLE STEP: Do one-minute meditations (but do them all day long). It is fun! Or join us on the Quest for daily meditations right to your phone during our Meditation Quest series.
3) Time to cleanse:
Another spring-cleaning tip is about nutrition. How to eat for spring vitality is fairly easy — just look around at what is blooming! You will see lots of green grass sprouting up and dandelions. Everyone thinks that dandelions are pesky but they are great for your liver this time of year. I like to eat bitter greens this time of year, and I also drink as much Green Barley as I can get down. It is also a good to do some type of cleansing to help open up your internal channels and get things flowing. We are also doing John Douillard’s spring cleanse called the Colorado Cleanse that starts on april 13th!
SIMPLE STEP: Drink a glass of lemon water in the morning or get your body flowing through some yoga.
4) Time for Gratitude
We have enjoyed practicing meditation through our Meditation Quests. It is so helpful to sit and be thankful each day. It is important to remember that spring is like a recess for the planet; everything miraculously unfolds in front of our eyes. So watch a leaf grow, bless the dandelion, count clouds, and appreciate the many gifts of spring.
SIMPLE STEP: Appreciate and Say Thank You to EVERYONE and EVERYTHING around you!