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March 18, 2021

The Longest Winter Lends to the Brightest Spring.

Each year, it seems that by the end of February we collectively look forward to sloughing off the winter in anticipation of spring.

Growth, warmth, abundance, and excitement begin to manifest in each one of us.

Except in March of 2020.

It didn’t take long to realize that the spring we expected was stalled. Instead, winter’s heaviness accumulated and was unyielding. The isolation, uncertainty, and anxiety of winter and the COVID-19 pandemic were resolute. Winter 2020 raged on.

And while Mother Nature still gave gifts of green grass and blue skies (and eventually fall color and pumpkin spice everything), in so many ways, the whole of 2020 felt like one long winter.

Last March was full of uncertainty and heaviness for so many, and I was no exception.

Would I get sick? Would my loved ones? How would I make money? What would happen to my therapeutic yoga business? The studios were closed—everything was closed—and the students were just as fearful and nervous as myself.

What would we do now, when we needed our grounding yoga practice more than ever to feel better, to feel like ourselves in a time of crisis? Of course, I didn’t know what to do at first. So I did what I do best and went to the barn to see my horses. And it hit me: I could stay there, lazily watching them eat grass for as long as I wanted. I had nowhere to go, and not just today but for the foreseeable future. So I stayed, and I groomed, and I rode, and I watched them for as long as I wanted (which was until I got hungry.)

Back at home, I made a plan—as terrifying as it sounded, I would teach yoga online. Besides, it’s not like I had much of a choice, and at least I knew I’d be able to talk my mom into attending. It was hard at first; I needed a pep talk before each class those first few weeks, but I did it.

A triumph amid a pandemic.

Over the years, plenty of students have told me that my voice is “so soothing,” but now that I’m hearing my voice all the time, I hear it like nails on a chalkboard. I’m convinced there is something innate inside of me, something animalistic, that says it’s unnatural to hear my own voice when it’s coming from outside of my body. I can now commiserate with those actors who don’t want to watch their own films. It’s painful and has remained so.

I’m also not technologically savvy and would rather beg someone else to do any computer work for me. Out of necessity though, I buckled up and did my best to learn slowly and surely. Spoiler alert: I now love teaching online, but it still takes everything in me to listen to a recording of my voice.

Like I said, last March was hard. But when I wasn’t catastrophizing how my live online classes could go wrong, I finally had time for all the creative pursuits I had been neglecting. I read fantasy novels, colored, baked, and gardened.

When my lavender plants bloomed, I combined the two and put lavender in everything (biscotti, bread, tarts, drinks). When I couldn’t find yeast, I was gifted a sourdough starter from a friend, and I took baths nearly every day until May (when I consider warm bath season to come to a natural close).

I walked the dog mindfully and noticed flowering trees (had they really been there all along?). I chatted with neighbors across the fence. In a way, I kept going in—deeper and deeper. It was hard but it was good.

If we are attuned with Mother Nature, winter is for rest. We go inward physically and emotionally. Winter, cool and quiet, is traditionally a time of recuperation and planning for the upcoming year. At the same time, winter can be chilling and lonely or insightful and creative.

If there’s one thing I know to be true, nature works in patterns. For every up there is a down, every in there is an out. For every high, there is a low, and after darkness comes light.

March 20th marks the Vernal Equinox, a moment of balance and time of equal day and night. This spring, in particular, the equinox appears to be a tipping point—the culmination of one very long winter. Now the seesaw is in balance, the dominos about to drop. We are on the precipice of birth and growth, light and life.

Can you feel it? There’s excitement and anticipation with darkness at our back and light propelling us forward.

Spring is the season of water, of life. Nourishing and sweet, adaptable and flowing. The warmth and rain of spring cleanse and drive us as we are tied unceremoniously with the laws of nature. Although we may still be feeling frozen or stagnate, now it’s time to unearth our buried selves and make time and space in our lives for activities that inspire. Go outside, move and be moved, by nature, creativity, and the wonder of it all.

While this spring may still look different than what we expected, it’s nonetheless ripe with fresh opportunity. So what dreams will we plant and nurture? How will we collectively and independently step into the spring that arrives after the longest of winters? What power will we generate and tend?

I’ve love to hear what creative powers are brewing out there. Please share with our community in the comments. And remember, keep your mask on and keep reaching for the stars.

~

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