Vernal Equinox: Time to Grow Something New


vernal

“If you want to succeed, you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” ~ John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

I like to think that many of us spend the winter like some of our mammal counterparts, hibernating in our snug homes awaiting spring. It’s been a particularly harsh winter in much of the US this year. Our versions of “hibernating” probably included a lot of time shoveling snow or just trying to make it to work.

However you hibernated, there’s a good chance that you’ve been putting off something that’s important to you, or something new that you’ve been meaning to do. It can be far too easy to stay in that hibernatey rut and keep up the routine of kind of slogging through our days that we fell into over the winter.

If the sun isn’t shining where you are, find hope in the fact that that it’s still up there, (and maybe even eclipsing, depending on where you are!), and the the days of darkness are behind us for a while. This is a great time to stop and reassess where you are and where you want to go. Are you still traveling on the same old familiar road, wondering why it never takes you anywhere new?

Shake off the snow and cold today, or whatever form your winter blahs take,  and make today the day you revisit your goals, start yourself on a new path, or get to work on that spring project you’ve been hibernating on all winter!

A Different Body


MP900402316This is a share of a post I wrote for a new blog I have created called Fitness for Real Girls, but the conversation fits just as easily here on Spiritual Tea, as it gives us reason to stop and think about how we perceive our own bodies.

For me, one of the big ruts is that of inertia. Once I stop, it is so hard to get started again. It’s part of a routine that is probably familiar to many of you. I get sick, or hurt myself, or feel tired and achy, and I don’t exercise.

Then of course, since I work at my computer all day, I feel tired and achy and blah because I’m sitting at my desk and not exercising. And I don’t exercise so I feel blah, and I feel blah, so I don’t exercise, and on and on, you get the picture!

I realized that some of my aches and pains were most likely due to being overweight, and if I was going to sit here and feel achy, I might as well exercise and have a good reason to be achy! Interestingly, the muscle aches from biking and hiking are a different kind of pain, maybe one might even call it a good pain? Ok, yeah, that might be pushing it. But at any rate, it feels better than just feeling achy and crummy from sitting inside all day!

Around the same time I was contemplating all of this, I came across an interview on Slate.com with photographer Jen Davis.  The article by David Rosenberg is entitled In Revealing Self-Portraits, Body Image Is Front and Center, and is well worth the read. Jen spent many years taking self-portraits that centered around her body image and the thoughts, emotions and fantasies that shaped it.

The interview and the photos really touched and inspired me, and led me to think about my own image. Perhaps her self image and reasoning were not necessarily positive, and many people may not agree with her process, but there was a line in the interview that struck me:

“It was kind of shocking, kind of painful to look at myself and to see myself evolving and growing and understanding a deeper sense of myself but my body not being able to change after nine years’ time. I was shocked and thought ‘why can’t I take control of my life?’ and I realized I didn’t want to wake up at 40 and be in this body—I wanted to know what it would be like to be in a different body, and that was a painful realization,” Davis explained.

I wanted to know what it would be like to be in a different body… Very simple, but somehow it struck me as very profound. Again, maybe it’s not the best philosophy in the world, but it has become something of a mantra for me. For years I have felt stuck in this rut of being overweight and feeling unhealthy, most of my motivation for exercising and losing weight was for all those same “rut” reasons; feeling bad about myself, my body and disappointed in my own inability to get out of the rut.

So, I have put a curiosity spin on it. This body is fine, it’s served its purpose, but what would it be like to be in a fit body? Even if I am not skinny by today’s marketing standards, feeling stronger and healthier would be a GOOD thing, and looking at it this way has helped me feel empowered and keep moving. While the process is slower than I might like it to be, I can feel the difference, just a little hint of what’s to come in this different body.

Welcome to the Present


Time is an invention. Now is a reality. So much creativity is happening for the simple reason that we have withdrawn ourselves from the past and future. Our whole energy remains blocked, either in the past or in the future.

When you withdraw all your energy from past and future, a tremendous explosion happens.

That explosion is creativity.

~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (From Begin It Now, by Susan Hayward)

Kripalu Sundial - Tricia GriffithFind yourself in a creative rut? Or even just a general “life rut”? It could be that you are worrying too much about the future or the past and not living in the present.

If you are an artist or a writer and you spend a lot of time worrying about how you’ll ever become published or famous in the future, or about dumb mistakes you made in the past that you’re worried you’ll make again, chances are you’re getting little to nothing accomplished in your present.

Perhaps you’re holding out on taking a job that you don’t like very much because you’re waiting for that ideal job to present itself. Maybe you’re not allowing yourself to find a loving relationship because someone did the Mexican Hat Dance on your heart in the past, and you never want that to happen again.

It’s hard to wrap our heads around it, but in reality the present is all that matters. Do what you need to do now, and the future will begin to form and take care of itself without you fussing over it.

chocolate cakeLet’s bake a cake. You decide to use this delicious new cake recipe. You have all these dreams and fantasies about how fabulous this cake is going to be. But, instead of just letting it bake, you keep poking your head in the oven to see how it’s doing, and eventually the whole thing goes flat, and you have to start again.

Neither does your past successes or failures at baking a cake really have much relevance on that cake you’re baking now. You think to yourself oh, I didn’t use enough flour the last time I made that cake, so I better adjust it this time. You don’t say, oh my god, I screwed that cake up so badly I will never make it again. Well, at least you shouldn’t be saying that, anyway.

We make our lives so much more stressful by constantly dwelling on the past and wringing our hands about the future. Redirect your focus to the present. Pick a cake recipe and just bake it. If it comes out, it comes out. If it doesn’t, you note what you have learned and try again.

pen and inkPick up the paint brush or the pen. Make bad art and enjoy it. Write a crappy first draft. Take the job that will put food on the table today and keep yourself in the present so that you will see that new opportunity when it arrives. Go out on a date with someone you’re not sure about. Start a conversation with that person you’ve been admiring.

Nothing at all, good or bad, will change unless you take a step. Taking one small step today is better than planning a thousand steps tomorrow.