Spring Equinox corresponds with the rising sun (the direction east) and the Aries New Moon (the beginning of the astrological year), an aligned moment each year to begin again. In life each beginning starts with a question - an honest inquiry that sets us in motion. Yet how often do we give energy to crafting the question?
Where in our culture have we been taught to ask a question which is tender and innocent, less critical and snarky? Where have we been taught to ask the questions from the heart (vulnerable and compassionate) as opposed to the “head” questions that fill our learning systems? As we know, the set-up, i.e. the questions, designates the tone for the whole journey.
Humans hunger for answers. We search for answers in books, people, oracles, and inside ourselves. But so often the answers elude us and we get frustrated. And in our frustration we think it must be the wrong book, the wrong teacher, the wrong oracle, etc. What if answers eluding us is due to asking the wrong questions?
All journeys begin with a question. We are often afraid of wise and provocative questions - what path might they lead us down? What hard truths might I have to face? Who would we transform into? Questions are powerful and the refining of our questions is the quickest and most transformative way to uncover the answers that we seek.
What if we honored questions for what they were? A doorway to more questions and a way to cultivate greater curiosity. An inquiry all on their own, whether an answer arises wouldn't be the point. What if we held questions in high regard and not just something that directly moved us to action? How would questions change us if they were not about the answer, but about simply getting deeper and deeper to more questions and therefore more truths?
For many years I had a prayer practice that required several rounds of prayer. Each round started with a question, and each round brought me closer to the answers I sought. At the end of each round I would find myself with a new question - one that was clearer and more refined in regards to what my heart & soul were really grappling with. By the end of the three rounds, I was grateful for the opportunity to improve in my original question. I found that what I considered an impediment to my development often diminished with the wiser questions.
This spring equinox my invitation is for each of us to be open to questions leading to more questions. To invite an abundance of answers through a fertile practice of questioning, and not to halt inquiry simply because one answer has been found. May we all have a practice of inquiry that allows kind, gentle, delicate questions as you would ask a baby bird instead of the stern, task master questions so many of us hear in our internal worlds. May your question be ever wiser and lead you to a deeper knowing of yourself and the world around you.
Fall Equinox is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere. Like any season, there are some that rejoice at its arrival and others that groan at the loss of leaves, the diminishment of light, and the pumpkin spice abundance. Maybe you are a bit of both. Seasons remind us that context matters and isn’t something to be disregarded.
Seasons are an obvious context. Certain seasons invite particular clothing, indoor environments, and available food. A tomato in the winter is not the same as a tomato from the garden in summer. Context matters.
And yet, often when we consider ourselves and other humans we take context out of the equation. We forget about the relationship of culture, lineage, community, family, connections. Is this because these contexts are less overt than the natural world? They certainly are not less important to our survival.
Fall equinox is the invitation to turn inward. It sets up the context for longer nights and the need for more shelter. It is the still point of perfect balance before the wheel turns moving us forward to winter. With this turning, many of us are forced to forget context. Isn’t that what electric lights and alarm clocks are for?!
I am certainly not suggesting we turn away from all of our modernity. I am simply offering an invitation to explore where and when you embrace what context…because of course modernity is one context.
Other contexts that impact our well-being are the environments and communities we were raised in. They leave their mark on us and without sacred tending can simply become part of the background noise. Sacred tending to the air we swim in helps us to become aware of the forces that impact us - much like the seasonal impact. The forces of culture, systemic structures that constrict and oppress, the familial environments that we took to be universal, all of these we carry inside us like collective internal weather patterns.
My invitation to you this equinox is to reflect on the contexts that you acknowledge and those you wish to turn away from. To consider that context may very well be the missing ingredient to your personal growth and inner knowing journey as well as really knowing others. What generosity might come forth if we placed ourselves as well as those we engage with in context? What possibilities and guiding forces may meet us when we tune into the environments that forged us?
My hope is that this season lands gently for you and that the times ahead are filled with self-compassion and your perfect recipe of savory and sweet.
Equinoxes, the midpoint between the two extremes, the solstices. Here above the equator, we are heading into fall. The leaves are beginning to turn and drop, the air is a bit crisper, and our energies are starting to turn inward. At the same time, below the equator the grey begins to clear, foliage is returning, and awareness grows outward. Both points, two sides of the same coin.
This year I have been pondering the symbiotic nature of the equinoxes of the world. While fall and spring appear so different, presenting as opposites, in reality, letting go and emerging work together to form the rhythm of life. Each one feeds the other. I envision the leaves dropping, seeping their nutrients into the ground and re-emerging into the flowers in the Southern Hemisphere and the reverse happening when it's Spring Equinox here. This interconnected nature of what was planted in the spring is coming to harvest, and what was harvested and given space to rest is ready to emerge anew. And the equinox is the still point between the two halves, a sliver of balance among the waves of change that never end in the natural world.
And during these seasonal changes, I am reminded of the many times in my life where my insides didn't match what was happening externally. I was in winter when it was outwardly summer, or in spring when it was fall. During these times I took comfort in the possibility of a new season and the honoring of my own rhythm, even if it didn't look as it was supposed to.
Rhythm is our anchor. We sync up with it, we attune to it. And this attunement doesn't even need to be conscious. Andrew Huberman, has a wonderful podcast that explores the inner state of our being, from the chemical to the emotional, and the research has caught up with what humans have known, we are linked. Our heart rates mimic each other and our breathing syncs up with those we are with. We can register the internal state of others, all unconsciously, and what we register our bodies begin to turn towards. We are linked the way the trees have root systems that reach out and support each other. Not only can we be connected to each other in this elegant way, we can attune to ourselves and our own inner rhythm by a tool we have with us all the time, our heart. Sensing our hearts for our own rhythm can be a freeing anchor when the world around us swirls. And with our heart sits our lungs, the air element that resides in us. And we can bring our awareness to our breathing and notice it. And the noticing will change our breath...no effort required other than attention.
These touchpoints of the seasons, the equinoxes and solstices, are moments that call our attention outside of ourselves. To look up from our lives and orient to what is here, now. And what is here, is the natural world's moment of balance. Two days out of 365 are moments of complete balance, and after this, either daylight or nighttime will begin to expand. Might we take a cue from the natural world and relinquish the perfectionist drive for balance? The scales of Libra are never fully still, and this moment of natural balance will fade with the sunset. I invite you to reorient to rhythm and see how that anchors you in a way that is different from balance. Rhythm makes room for what is present right now, and will continue to make room for the present, again and again. Balance is fleeting while rhythm is change and constant in one beautiful energy. May we all connect to the rhythm of OUR season and let the winds of change be our heart’s desire.
Spring Equinox - a time when the day and the night are in balance for one moment, and then the wheel turns again. How many of us strive for the perfect balance when Nature shows us that it doesn't exist but for a moment? Life is precarious, one moment all is well, and the next the biggest hurdle we have come across is in the middle of our path. We jump, we walk or run around it, we bulldoze over it, we examine it closely or pretend like it isn’t there. Maybe some of us hug that hurdle and say a prayer of gratitude or disgruntled words when we meet it and others of us circle back to explore that hurdle for meaning, insight, and guidance. But that hurdle in our wake shifted the currents and forward in a new way is what calls us.
Spring holds the energy of May I Be Open for us to witness, emulate, and ponder these words for ourselves on our journey. May I Be Open asks us to be open to what arises within us with compassion and curiosity. May I Be Open invites us to explore what is opening inside us, even if it challenges us and make us a bit more uncomfortable. May I Be Open is a call for discernment, to be in a new way with boundary and stability. May I Be Open invites us to renegotiate our new life. May I Be Open isn’t a call to be a scapegoat, a dumping ground, or to share when it isn’t safe and welcome to do so. May I Be Open isn't anyone's business but your own. May I Be Open is a tender inner call to soften to a new way of life, a new experience, a new paradigm that aligns with your soul’s journey. It is a quiet, tender call like the new shoots of a dear plant that you want to protect from the elements.
May I Be Open is a whisper to the universe that we are resilient, we are hopeful even in the face of despair, that we will put one foot in front of the other - even if we have to scoot it forward because we are too afraid to pick it up or drop to our knees because the ground needs to be closer. This isn’t a lion’s roar, but a call inward to all your aspects that may be trembling from the last year or lifetimes, that even if the outside world’s constitution isn’t welcoming, that our inner constitution is.
May I Be Open is the spellcrafting that the new buds and leaves bring to the world during this moment of renewal. Let it work its subtle, nuanced, shapeshifting magic inside you so in turn it may restore our world.
Many Blessings, Valerie