By: Tiffini Williams
For 31 years, I had ignored spring. Around this time last year, my neighbor’s tree became a sage of sorts…
I remember getting home around 2am from work. I distinctly recall walking past its bare branches. By the next morning, I was left no later than 9am and it was in full bloom. It was truly beautiful, a jasmine tree I believe. The blossoms were ivory with a slight basil hue. There was a warm perfume in the air. I just sat there for a while admiring it. Two days later, I went outside, and every petal was on the ground.
I felt an immediate sadness. A longing to continue being greeted by such a wonderful image. Why was it gone? And so quickly. In that, almost, desperate recognition, a sense of gratitude washed over me that I had even been present enough to witness that moment. A year earlier, I would have, well actually I did, miss it. Just coming and going, my head always down and my mind wrapped up in story. But not that day. That day, I was present. I was aware. I knew I had witnessed a shift in both of our beings. I knew I wanted to experience more of this unfolding season of Spring. Often, I’ve heard Spring described as a time of rebirth from the frozen death of Winter; a time for things to be alive once more. But like my tree friend helped me to realize, most things aren’t dead at all but simply at rest. For myself, this season has come to embody movement from dormancy to activity.
This time of year is marked by an equinox. The Sun will shine directly on the Earth’s equator and give an equality to day and night. This will initiate the transition from Winter to Spring. We will have longer days as the Earth tilts more and more toward the Sun until its peak pose, the Summer Solstice (which is Ali’s born day by the way). During this time, everything here on Earth becomes more exposed to the life-giving rays of the Sun. Winter is about preservation while Spring supports restoration and growth.
This year, as I’m catching the budding phase of this tree. It’s showing me that growth is a patient progression with many stages. Notions, desires, dreams or what have you, lie dormant inside of all of us. When they’re awakened, it’s as if a fire has ignited; mostly because they’ve been with us all along, just covered up by life’s inevitable conditioning. A lot of times, we rush and force these things into being something before they’re ready, and sometimes before we evaluate if we really want them or not. Like the tree storing energy and resources to survive winter, we too accumulate the tools we need to blossom before we are able to do so. Both of us very much so alive. What once looked dead to me, I now see as proper adaptation to its conditions. The internal processes are happening just on a slower, more subtle level. The blossoms weren’t some overnight miracle but the product of the buds I now see who were growing, developing while all I saw was a skeleton.
Similarly, with us, sometimes internal processes take time to find an external expression. While it seems we are all more tired than usual, and not accomplishing as much as we’d like, we are just shaking off the stiffness and retraction of our Winter selves and becoming more awakened from inside out. We won’t always see things happening, but change is always occurring. It might not always feel or look amazing but having faith that what we’re doing is moving us in the right direction could be our focus instead.
For instance, I noticed my practice was kind of a standstill last month. I’m at the studio almost everyday but I rarely worked out. In yoga, we need strength just as much as flexibility. So, I started a routine. Every other day, I workout in some capacity. At first, it didn’t feel like anything was happening. At times, it felt like my practice was getting worse, but I knew I needed to just stick with it. Sure enough, I’m noticing I have more energy throughout class, longer holds, less modifying and more confidence to explore variations of poses. When I removed the need for instant gratification and self doubt, I got out of the way and allowed my body to naturally evolve.
Embracing spring has come to mean (to me) honoring where you are, doing the work for where you are, embracing the natural ebbs and flows of growth, and having faith that you know what you need. So maybe, this spring, think less of renewal and making things happen to shed winter, but instead allowing time and giving space to naturally return to a higher level of activity.
This year’s equinox coincides with the last supermoon we will experience this year. This celestial movement is slated to happen this Wednesday, March 20th. This could be a great time for ritualistic cleansing and setting intentions. Releasing whatever you’ve stored during winter, thanking it and letting go to make space for all spring has to offer. Asking yourself what you need and then creating an intention around how to receive it. Allowing this transition to be less about effort and more about alignment. The following day, Thursday, March 21, we begin our spring challenge—the first challenge of 2019 here at the BFPY—another opportunity to connect with yourself, your practice and receive support from the community around you.
However you chose to move into this new season, I hope you do it joyously and from a place that truly serves you.