“THE BEGINNING IS ALWAYS TODAY.”Mary Shelley
Happy Spring Equinox everyone! Today is the first day of spring, which officially begins at 3:24 p.m. PST for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. The Spring Equinox is also known as the Vernal Equinox, or the “First Point of Aries.” Interestingly, vernal translates to “new” and “fresh,” and equinox comes from the Latin, aequus (equal) and nox (night). Today the sun’s rays shine onto the equator while the Earth sits with its axis tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, which causes 12 hours of sunlight almost everywhere on Earth. Day and night last almost the same amount of time, though one may get a few extra minutes, depending on where you are on the planet. So cool!
In the past, I’ve been more of an autumn kinda person, but it’s been so rainy and cold this fall/winter season, I’m looking forward to more sun and warmer weather! The spring season brings with it increased daylight and more time outdoors, a sense of blooming everywhere, and of course, warmer temperatures. In a spiritual and metaphysical sense, the Spring Equinox is associated with rebirth and renewal, both in a worldly sense, e.g., spring flowers budding, new growth etc., but also in a personal sense – a fresh start, a sense of shifting. For me, it’s a time to pause, reflect, set some new intentions, renew gratitude, and breathe. Where do I want and need to make shifts? What do I need to let go of? What do I need to welcome more of? I can think of a lot of things I need to let go of. Letting go of stuff is hard sometimes, especially when patterns and ways of being have long been established, but are clearly no longer of service.
I recently listened to a talk by Tara Brach. She spoke of habit energy, the way we try to control our way through the day. Habit energy is associated with the Buddhist tradition. It’s the habitual chasing after the future in our thoughts, a blockage of our ability to be in the present moment. Tara also refers to it as “the big squeeze,” which resonates so deeply with me. It’s this potent force that tends to yank me through my day, propelling me to rush through tasks in order to get to the next one, often when there is no need to rush at all (this sense to rush or of urgency is common in those who have experienced chronic trauma). I’m well acquainted with habit energy and “the big squeeze.” They are old friends…yes, this too. Though I usually welcome old friends, I can’t say I’m happy when the big squeeze comes to visit. It’s my highest intention to send it on its way and invite more meditative experiences into my life this spring season and beyond.
So, today I’ve planned a little ritual to pause. To reflect and set new intentions, regenerate old ones, and be grateful for what is and is to become. As I enjoy the flicker and warmth of a favorite candle sitting on my desk, Max Richter’s Spring playing softly in the background, I’m basking in what’s most important to me. Relationships, creativity, learning, music, art, nature, animals, gratitude. Of all of these, gratitude is the toughest to maintain. With that, I gently remind myself of what I have, gifts within and all, who I’ve become and am becoming, despite great adversity and what others think.
If you’re interested in Spring Equinox rituals and traditions, there’s a great little article at Sunset Magazine called 12 ways to Celebrate the Spring Equinox and Welcome a Brand New Season. I especially like the Renewal Ritual suggested. And here is another great article by Michelle Holling-Brooks, March 2023 Equinox: Calling Forward Balance, Harmony, and Nourishment! with other suggestions.
MAY YOU BE HAPPY,
MAY YOU BE WELL,
MAY YOU BE SAFE,
MAY YOU BE PEACEFUL
AND AT EASE.Jack Kornfield