What a beautiful web that is being weaved by the blessing of our Spring. Spring's growth of pulsing life is just waiting to burst through our deep winter's earth into pure beauty that is spinning for us to evolve into...another layer, another seasonal shift, another year, and another life for us to wake up to.
With each seasonal shift, we have another chance to unravel real and very raw wounds to heal. The seasonal shift reveals and refocuses us on how we process and purify these new layers that we have the chance to work with. Most importantly, these seasonal shifts reveal how we can evolve with and from these deep-rooted wounds that are now exposing themselves as they surface into the light to breathe. These shifts offer a chance to grow into something beautiful that only these wounds can be in creation of.
Therein lies it...the word CREATION.
Every moment we are in pure creation. Every breath is a creative expression of the life you choose to live. Every day you decide to RISE to embrace or face another day of pure creation.
Your creative expression depends on how you choose to live this life. Are you going to embrace this life with all of its complicated ways of trails for you to follow, or is it hard to rise in the morning to face another day that doesn’t really seem worth it? These are your choices: embrace or face. What do you choose?
Spring Equinox is the day of the great balance. It's where in our seasonal map we pause to the equanimity of Grandmother Moon, Grandfather Sun, and Mother Earth. This pause is the recognition of our deep winter's brew of isolation, reflection, and divine powers of the NORTH.
We pause as we say, "Oh wait, what have I learned, what teachers came to me to work their wintry magic of such teachings that I couldn’t turn my cheek from, what lessons did I FINALLY pause, embrace, and can release and be free of, because this time I learned my lesson, truly."
This pause I speak of is so very SACRED and should not be rushed.
The ritual of the pause is a way for all of our parts—Mind, Body and Essence—to reflect into each other and say, we all are in agreement, we can cohesively move forward to the Spring and her awakenings of hope of new growth, because you paused, you revealed the release, and now there is space for the new growth to have the energy it needs to RISE UP!
Transition is not such an easy task. We must learn to be patient for the moments of transition to turn our destruction into the beautiful flower that is rising from the deep earth of winter's manifestation...there must be a belief in all parts of the growth and where the energy of the seeds of winter’s manifestation wants to grow to (it is not always what you thought it would be). This is where we learn to deepen into our humbleness, and allow life and Universal Flow to pave a way that is supported for all parts to find the most complete flower to blossom in all of its beauty. This flower might not be the exact flower you thought would blossom, but it’s your flower you earned through your blood, sweat, and tears. When you learn to work with deep acceptance of the Honoring the DIVINE: Mother Earth, Her Directions, East, South, West, North, Mother Earth, Father Sky, and all of the Relations, you develop a ritual of a humbled yet sacred path of your personal soul evolution in this human beingness.
Developing rituals that are meaningful to you will help you find the blessings in the balance and light in our seasonal shifts. These shifts of seasonal celebration support your way in the world and your soul’s path. I choose fully to do this work no matter how deep it goes because I am here to evolve to my full potential I am here to blossom into. This community of Earth Ways Yoga is here to support you on your path, let’s break open to a wiser, more beautiful beingness than we were a year ago. I choose to rise with my community, will you?!
Spring, The Ultimate Inspiration for Living
by Trudy Welty
In the midst of a quickly changing and chaotic world, there are changes that are always the same.
Spring is one of the most tangible changes for new aliveness, and yet it always comes after winter. If we hold fast to that which is always in order, it might help us stay internally more peaceful. And hence, we may move more peacefully throughout each day and not get caught up in or add to the chaos.
Robins herald the early morning Spring day, letting all creatures know there is a change on the Earth. Their joyful sound reminds us that a new cycle has begun. For Robins, it means springtime is here, and that means rain, and rain means worms. Worms mean full bellies that will lend strength and much needed energy to awaken to their busy lives of building nests, laying eggs, feeding a family, and singing.
White fluffy clouds carry circles of moisture that cling to one another and raindrops begin a journey downward, gathering particles of dust that provide a path bound to earth, to the next stop, leaving freshness in the air.
For many creatures, smelling the air after the raindrops have cleansed it allows for a deeper breathe. Sometimes a sigh of gratitude also acknowledges that all things have just been nourished.
If we look skyward, we could see after the raindrops have stopped falling a splash of six different colors that manage to touch one another and create something greater than themselves. The Rainbow has been waiting at least a winter season in silence, and now when all is in alignment, it makes its debut quietly but boldly.
Newness of color and tasks and creativity have begun, and everyone feels it and joins in the celebration. Spring has come again and a new cycle has begun. If we, the humans, could allow the ease of change like Nature, we too might know without a doubt, our bellies will be full. As we experience Spring as part of a greater cycle, maybe we can acknowledge we too are part of a greater cycle. Knowing the ways in which it stays aligned and all is in order is the same alignment we can choose to be in. This might give us strength and energy to meet all the challenges of the new season.
As you hear the Robins, how can you share joy with others?
As you smell the Rain, how deeply can you breathe?
As you see the Rainbow, how deeply can you feel at peace and cooperate with others?
As you walk softly on Mother Earth, how much gratitude can you hold in your heart for yourself and all life?
The Wonders of the Wood Element
by Kelly Kessen, Licensed Acupuncturist
Ah, Spring has arrived!
I just sat under a tree in the park as white fragrant petals swirled through the air and landed on my body. I’m always in awe of the beauty of Spring. With each year that passes, I get more and more inspired to live in accordance with its wisdom.
According to the Five-Element Acupuncture perspective, Spring is associated with the Wood Element. We can learn so much from witnessing the Wood Element and the season of Spring in the natural world, and in turn, we learn more about ourselves and how the Wood Element is functioning within us.
The Wood Element relates to living, growing beings: plants, trees, animals, and humans.
Within us wood helps us with our ability to focus, plan, and make clear decisions with mental clarity, and also with flexibility. It holds our enthusiasm, desire to live, and our visions and direction. Wood channels our energies toward a particular focus. Think about how the trunk and leaves of a tree channel what they receive from the nutrient-rich soil and sun into the buds, leaves, and fruit of its branches. It’s a very clear and focused energy.
Our Wood Element governs our Determination, Hope, Purification, Planning, Decision-Making and Judgement.
The color associated with Wood is green—yes the fresh green of Spring. We see it all around us, in nature’s birthing season—the rains moisten the soil and germinate the seeds, preparing them for sprouting. Fresh salads made with fresh spring greens become part of my daily craving in this season.
Spring is a time to witness one of the most grand displays of a tree. Although for the tree, this blossoming is focused around reproduction, their opening performance can inspire so much creativity and growth within us human folk.
The Spring Equinox marks the time when day equals night. This is the transition out of the deep yin of winter and into the rise of the yang. During the following 6 months, yang is dominant, as is the sun. As the days get longer and the nights get shorter, plants start to sense that it is nearing time for their performance. They have a special pigment/photoreceptor called photochrome, which detects light in order to regulate their time of germination or flowering. Just like a tree knows when to come out and play after winter, our hibernating friend the woodchuck knows when to come out as well. In hibernators and also in bears, which actually go into torpor and not true hibernation, there is a series of chemical reactions controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain, like an alarm clock that says it’s time to wake up. They sense the arrival of Spring by the very nature of their being. Just as we humans, when our circadian rhythm is in tune, awaken when the sun rises in the east at the beginning of each new day.
When witnessing Spring, we can see the strength and power of the Wood Element. Teeny tiny, yet very determined seedlings push their way through the surface of the earth with all their might, buds on the trees explode into gorgeous flowers, trees start rapid growth of their next annual ring (forming the light-colored springwood part of the ring in Spring and the darker summerwood ring in Late Summer).
This intense yet focused energy of Wood can be witnessed in humans as well. The Wood Element and the Spring season represent our idea phase, a time of creation and development, as well as new beginnings. It’s a great time to take a look at your life and make a plan. We begin making more plans for our year. We begin new projects and start to feel our creative juices flowing.
This Wood energy is governed by the Liver, the Official in Charge of Planning. Our inner architect and brilliant cleanser, the Liver, helps us find our vision for our future, and helps with our process of birthing ideas and bringing their energy into form. The Gallbladder is in charge of decision-making and judgment. These tasks of the Liver and Gallbladder can be witnessed so clearly in Spring, as it is the time for planting physical seeds and energetic seeds. This is not to say that our Wood energy within is not useful or active during other times of the year, but just that we can witness it in all its grandiosity in Spring. When deficient or out of balance, our wood energy can manifest as poor judgement, difficulties with planning or organization, inability to make decisions. When in excess, over organizing, difficulty relaxing, and inappropriate anger can be manifested. When someone is expressing anger out of context, we call this inappropriate anger. By bringing our systems back in balance, we may find that the anger was stemming from a desire to control a situation or even from an old wound that needed tended to. Please note that none of our emotions are wrong or bad and that it is important to our health to let them flow. Suppressing our anger can actually injure the liver and gallbladder. When in balance, we can channel the energy behind our anger in a productive, intentional, and intelligent way. Spring is the perfect time to look at and release any stagnant anger or frustration that we have kept pent up inside.
The Wind is associated with Wood. Wind is an agent of change, it clears the old, brings the fresh new air. Along with its new ideas, wind nourishes wood, making it stronger. There was a woman I knew once that would shake her houseplants as she walked by them, and I always thought it was so strange, and one day she told me, “I am like the wind for them since they don’t have wind to make their trunks and roots stronger, I shake them a little.”
Our ligaments and tendons are governed by the Wood Energy. Spring is a great time to start paying closer attention to our bodies. As we peel back the layers of Winter, we can once again access our strength and flexibility. This is a good time to encourage our active, more yang side, waking early with the sun and starting our day fresh and focused.
As humans, who live with a plethora of modern conveniences, we have found ourselves pretty far from living in accordance with the changing of the seasons. I find it so refreshing to relate my experience to what is happening in the natural world around me and hope that you have the chance to lie on the earth next to a tree or some daffodils this week and witness the wonders of Spring and the Wood Element.
Venus Goes Direct
by Chris Corl
The beautiful lady and diamond of our skies, sweet Venus is still sleeping. Since March 4th when she turned retrograde, she has been in the “winter” of her cycle. Fallen from her throne at the height of the evening sky, she sleeps, for a short while, somewhere between us and the sun. And as she sleeps, she dreams, and all of us are her dreams. She dreams through us, revisiting the story our love has told over the last 584 days of her cycle with the Earth. Through us, she connects the dots and tries to help us see in dream-logic the honest state of our own heart.
Where have we been this last go ‘round? Who have we touched, and how have we been touched ourselves? What of worth have we created? How have we shared the beauty and blessing of this gorgeous life? How have we resourced ourselves and found nourishment? These are the questions of her dreams. They are the questions we have been asking ourselves too, whether we knew it or not. Her sweet dreams are guiding us through a kind of rediscovery and reassessment, to a resolution of sorts, a rootedness in our hearts truth and a resolve to step forward again in a brave new way.
Because, as one cycle closes another begins, soon enough she’ll be waking. Even now she rises just above the sun at dawn, glittering and shining in her half-sleep. But on April 15th she’ll wake again, out of her retrograde, already high in the morning sky and ready to share her love and light. And so will we. As she moves direct it will finally be time to put into play all these glorious dreamings we’ve been with during this time. To step forward in a new more heart-centered way.
Without getting too technical let’s just say this new cycle will bring so many new opportunities, new relationships, creations, and blessings. But be forewarned, it’s bound to be a little extra passionate and fiery than usual this time around. Enjoy the warmth and fill yourself up, but be careful of getting burned or burning others or burning out. Fall in love with someone or something. Fall in love with yourself and let that love guide you. Find healing too. Specifically let Venus help you heal some of those old old wounds. It’s time. You’re ready, I swear. But in the freshness of this Spring don’t lose sight of your priorities and your ultimate goal, your soul’s authentic path. Personal responsibility, diligence, discipline, and hard work are all stressed during this next cycle. So don’t get lazy with your light. Know that it is a gift beyond measure and treat it with the proper respect and honoring.
First things first, though, in this season with Venus presiding, let yourself feel the love. Let it in. Let it fill you up. And spread it as best you can. That’s the work and it always is.
Many blessings during this special season, this Spring of Springs.
Eating with the Seasons: The Wood Element
by Kimba Homer
Wood: Element of Liver and Gallbladder. Resonates with the springtime, Yang energy, motivation, and new beginnings.
The following recipes are nourishing to the wood element. The color of the wood element is green, and its flavor is sour. Liver is associated with the spring. Spring marks a miraculous bursting of energy. Sap, which is nature’s lifeblood, courses through the trees; new life pushes its way up from the depths of the earth, and we are surrounding by a bright sense of renewal and creativity. Wood dwells in the east. The hours for the gallbladder are 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.; liver is 1 to 3 a.m.
Please enjoy the following recipes in honoring of Spring!
Wood Element Inspired Salad:
Lentil, Grapefruit and Fennel Salad with Avocado
4 cups spring greens
2 cups cooked French green lentils
1 head radicchio, chopped
1 head of fennel, thinly sliced
1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into wedges
1 avocado, thinly sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbl fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp honey
Combine the lentils, radicchio, fennel, grapefruit, avocado and red onion in a large bowl, set aside.
In a bowl or glass liquid measuring cup, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon, zest, salt, pepper and honey. Whisk vigorously to combine.
Pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
Serve lentil salad over a serving of spring greens
Liver Detox Green Smoothie
6 dandelion greens, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 kale leaves, stems removed and chopped (about 2 ½ cups)
1 organic lemon, peeled and sliced into 1” chunks
1 small banana peeled and broken into 1” pieces
1 Fuji apple, cut into 1” chunks
1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
Place all ingredients, along with 2 cups water, into the blender (powerful blenders like the Vita-mix are ideal for these drinks). Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes until very smooth. Add more water as desired.
Earth Ways Yoga Teacher Training Student Spotlight
by Caitlin Oriel
"When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” ~ Paulo Coelho
This yoga is a mirror and reflection back into our lives and how we show up in our authenticity in this world—in all of its chaos and beauty.
When I first started taking class with Kate 2.5 years ago, I would have ridiculed the idea of becoming a yoga teacher. I did not think I had it in me. I thought I was too sensitive and too shy to get up in front of a yoga class and share my knowledge. I didn't believe that what I knew so deeply was worth sharing.
What Earth Ways Yoga has taught me over this years is that this yoga shows us what we’re made of, and it teaches us to honor the needs of our Body, Mind, and Essence in authenticity and integrity. And to trust in knowing and doing what we share with the world—because it's worth it. The work of this yoga is the hardest work I have ever done and trusted in, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Earth Ways Yoga is truly a journey. And we can’t separate ourselves from that notion easily, for we'd be ignoring that this yoga is an offering to help us stand stronger and more balanced in the rest of our lives.
I started the teacher training journey this past February. The biggest lesson of this training is that we are powerful beyond measure and stronger than we want to believe when it comes to trusting the gifts of our sensitivity, the gifts of subtlety, and the lessons of sharing our gifts and strength with tenderness in the world.
I am truly honored to learn in these ways.
You're strong enough to walk forward. You don't have to have it all figured out. But you're stronger than you think.
The Earth Ways Yoga Teacher Training is a 6-month journey into your individual process of living and teaching from a place of balanced alignment and healing.
Life in the Sacred in Scotland: Join Kate for a Retreat from August 27-September 2
To be asked to lead a journey to retreat to Scotland in co-creation with Yogascapes was one of those moments that I will always remember.
To be honest I burst into tears!! I responded to Ben Crosky with an absolute yes from the mountaintops! The work I do is a way to bridge Mother Nature and the human beingness as a way to cooperate in a peaceful coexistence through ritual, yoga and healing for a greater way of being in this world!! So to then be asked to go to one of the most potent, spiritual and deeply held spaces to embrace reflection, beauty and fairies! YES!!
Please join me to work with this engaging and powerful land of Scotland through the land, waters, healing foods, yoga, ritual, soul journeying, and a remembering of your original alignment of walking this Earth!! Yippee!! The dates are August 27-September 2, 2017. Check out the Facebook event.
Over the next few months, we will be offering classes focused on each of the 5 Elements. Please join us in celebration of the elements, the seasons and the emerging of Earth Ways Yoga. We'd love to have you join our community!!
If you're joining, please be sure to arrive 15 minutes early to get settled before we begin.
Wild Connection Backpacking Trip in Utah
With: Kelly Kessen, LAc and Jessica Dallman, MA LPCc
Wild Connection is a 5-day women/womxn’s trip focused on exploring our interdependence with the natural world, recognizing our reciprocal role within a rich ecosystem, and engaging our own wildness.