By Ciel Patenaude –
Spring has always been celebrated as a time of rebirth and renewal. From the Roman festival of Floralia, Imbolc day of the Celts, and Baisakh in Nepal–the traditional New Year celebrated in the month of April–spring is seen in cultures around the world as a time to begin again, to intentionally shift our attention and actions to what is new and being reborn, and align ourselves with a changed set of priorities than those which guided our past many aphotic months.
These new priorities can take endless forms, of course, but underlying most spring-time action and reflection is the often unconscious desire for revolution, both within the self and the surroundings.
The idea of ‘revolution’ conjures up variable images for all of us; however, times of total unrest and chaos, probably, and not in a good way. But this is what revolution becomes only when it is unmindful or lacking forethought; the violent and boorish actions of a too-long suppressed individual or community become unhinged by the pressures of their circumstance.
This is not an intelligent way to create change in any situation, and yet it is often the reactionary manner in which we respond to discomfort. We wait until situations have become unbearable to make change, and then the change itself only becomes possible because of unfiltered, unmindful reactivity … which often results in only more chaos.
There is a different way to have a revolution, however, and a backing energy is offered to us to create such revolutionary change every spring without creating chaos or just reacting haphazardly. We just have to take certain steps to make sure we’re aligned with and aware of it:
- Figure out what hasn’t been working.
Without a clear picture of where we have been avoiding discomfort, numbing ourselves, or distracting our attention from things that must be attended to, it’s far more likely we will spring into action in a misdirected manner. Taking the time to self-assess–with great honesty–what areas of our lives could use some change will provide us with a roadmap or blueprint by which to guide our activities. Some areas to take a closer look at include our physical health, stress levels, creative expression, and sense of emotional connectedness.
- Set some goals.
From a place of clearly seeing first when there is space for revolution, we can then come up with some deliberate statements that express our intentions in those areas of our lives. Writing goals down and sharing them with others is an extremely effective way of aligning yourself with positively-oriented change and keeping your focus on an incremental target. Use the SMART acronym when developing your goals to make sure they have some power behind them, creating statements that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
- Plan for your distractions.
We all know, deep down, what it is that is going to keep us continually pulling away from a path of change and back to a place of complacency and/or avoidance. Whether it’s Facebook or family or the fridge, honestly recognizing the myriad of ways we distract ourselves from our intentions and goals will make it easier to plan for an appropriate response to them. Maybe you allot yourself a particular amount of time for ‘distracting’ activities per day so that the temptation to busy yourself with them is not there, or utilize apps like Rescue Time or Focus Booster to help you stay on task.
- Get outside.
The energies of spring are associated with the Wood element and the liver in traditional Chinese medicine, and these are expressed through new growth and the ‘cleansing’ action that takes place at this time of year (both within our bodies and as the old remnants of last year are integrated into the sprouting growth). Being surrounded by this energy is the best medicine, taking sunshine into our eyes (which helps to ‘reset’ our pineal glands to the new light of this season), and enjoying the connection to a living Earth again makes us feel brand new, too.
- Clean house.
There can be nothing new and no real revolution in our lives if there is not space for it. Too often we engage in the process of attempting change without recognizing that things must be let go to allow for what is to come. Cleaning house in a literal sense–really, spring cleaning is the most effective mental/emotional tool at the end of the winter–as well as in a more metaphorical sense (relating to our emotions, thought patterns, and habits) can ready us for a new vision of self and experience.
It may seem rather intense and morbid, but the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die.”
He meant this not in a literal way (although it is in fact true), but in reference to the inability of systems, individuals, and societies to adapt and change—to experience revolution. We are in need of great revolution in all of our systems at this time, outdated and failing as they are, but perhaps the work for change begins with each of us individually rather than trying to take on the whole right away. Let us all make this spring our time for revolution, shedding our old skin so that a new rendering of yourself may make itself known, and we may create a rippling of widespread change in all directions.
Ciel Patenaude is an Integrative Health & Shamanic Practitioner based in Williams Lake, BC. A highly trained and naturally gifted intuitive healer, Ciel holds a BSc in Biology, an MA in Integrative Healing, and is a certified yoga teacher & wellness coach.