You’ve heard about coffee enemas right? An expensive cold brew you don’t get to drink. It goes in a different hole 😬.
Drinking coffee activates your bowels and improves peristalsis. Why would you…?!?! Never mind, I’ll never understand how this became a trend.
Spring’s got me thinking about bowel movements, pressure, frustration, self-judgment, irritability & anxiety. These are common feelings this time of year, believe it or not. Especially in Maine, we’re behind Alaska as the last to Spring. It’s a sloooow start and I can feel the agitation.
The truth is, Spring is uncomfortable. Even if you slept like a champion all Winter. Even if you live in a sunny state. Spring is like puberty, it’s awkward. It’s the opposite of smooth, it’s muddy, messy and there’s a lot of change happening at once.
The idea of reaching for a “coffee enema” to get your bud to sprout FASTER isn’t what mother nature intended.
Detoxing doesn’t release pent up energy and cleansing won’t restore order to chaos.
This transition can feel rough, no doubt! And you want to BLOOM when the time comes. If you do well with personalized attention, check out my Seasonal Spring Renewal.
When you feel bad, your mind spins with should’a, could’a, would’as –
That’s natural. Waking up after a long hibernating season, you’re not supposed to feel “springy & sparkly.” You’re supposed to feel like you just woke up! The key here is to understand you’re in a season and not get swept away trying to “fix” it.
Magazine covers of women frolicking & jumping in Spring dresses are designed to get you to buy Spring. They know you want to sparkle & shine. And a dress or a brightly colored hoodie (whatever your fashion sense) can give you a boost. But the idea that you roll out of bed Spring morning feeling like vibrant pastels is a MYTH.
Spring is a dance, it’s playful, like a game of peek-a-boo. And you may get impatient, angry and frustrated. If you BLAME yourself for being a “bud” and reach for a “quick fix”… I’ll wave my bright yellow CAUTION sign around, while break dancing, until you STOP and look at me. Embrace your awkward! Don’t miss your emergence.
Doing anything other than “nourish & tone” causes weakness & atrophy.
You become less resilient, more susceptible to dis-ease, more irritable, impatient, critical of yourself and others, making it a habit to swing from one extreme to the next and making life (a series of transitions) more difficult.
Here are my 5 favorite ways to flourish, sparkle & shine this Spring
1. Take a walk, often. Over steamy Thai curry, my friend told me (with awesome hand gestures) she’s watching Spring come to life! Other years, she’s looked up and there Spring was. This year, she can tell you how much a plant has grown each day, which fern’s fronds have uncurled and which plants are growing in her neighborhood. She’s taking it ALL in – the smells, colors and essence of Spring.
The conversation started over how much JOY her new dog brings. #1 could be, “get a dog.” The dog is the reason she’s taking walks every day, no excuses. But Spring is lighting her up, and in return it lit me up.
She figured out how to make time slow down by enjoying the season.
It’s so simple but ‘simple’ gets bullied by “too much to do.” So, stand up to bullies. Go for a walk! Look at the plants. Get to know your environment. Return to the same plant day after day. Talk to it!
Seeing change, makes you resilient to change. Not to mention, your liver functions better when you’re moving.
2. Bend down, eat a green (dandelion) leaf every day.
Eating wild food (often) is one of the best ways to build strength, resilience and vigor. Wild food has survived the elements. Weeds have the power to grow through cement. They’ve learned how to adapt in less than ideal habitats. You want wild in your diet!
Eat Dandelion because it’s the most easily identifiable weed. There are many edible options on your way from the house to car or bus. On your walks and along roadsides. If you want to expand your weed diet, google “Herb Walk” in your community. You’ll be amazed at the super-foods under your feet.
Even organic farming practices have bred nutrition out of plants. Wild foods help you reclaim the highest nutritional content available.
They’re also slightly bitter, a taste American palettes have lost. By increasing the amount of bitter in your diet, you naturally lower sweet cravings and change your taste buds to desire more nutrition. Buh bye, willpower!
3. Exfoliate. Scrub the s%$t out of your skin. That’s what I want to do!
I slacked on my winter sloughing and I can feel it. It’s like my skin’s not breathing as well and it’s less fluid. (This is from someone who spent years skin brushing).
Be careful what kind of brush you get. Not too firm, not too soft. You want the bristles just right. You can use a washcloth, “shower gloves,” and something my friend Wendy DeRosa just told me about, a “fascia blaster.” This is different than skin brushing, it works on breaking up fascia but the goal here is circulation, lymph movement and blood flow. I’ve never tried the fascia blaster, but Wendy really likes it. It’s known for relieving pain, inflammation and cellulite.
Skin brushing is for overall health, it’s not superficial.
Although the skin smoothing & exfoliating is awesome. You get some of the same benefits of exercise and an overall feeling of wellness. A consistent routine of 1-2/week is beneficial. It’s especially great after a long day of travel, sitting, road tripping and yes – during Spring season.
The lymph doesn’t have a pump like your heart but movement & flow is equally important. The lymph gets pumped by moving your tissues.
I never knew how impactful movement of any kind is, until my partner told me what happens to stroke or TBI patients in the neuro- unit. In the rehab hospital where she trains, when someone becomes immobile, even for a day, the body shows signs of breakdown. (I’ll spare you the details, it’s not pretty).
Side note: I want my stand up desk back!
4. Clean your house. The only “cleaning” you need to do in Spring is house cleaning!
This should cause a sigh of relief. De-clutter, shed or minimize, depending on your Feng shui school of thought, is the type of cleaning I want you to do. First, the surface clean. Then, the deep clean. Then, the ruthless elimination of stuff. Nah, it doesn’t have to be ruthless. But it helps when you’re guided by a vision of who/what/how you want to be.
Another friend recently told me, over the same bowl of curry, that out of “nowhere” she’s madly inventorying everything she owns. She either has to find a home for it, give it away or throw it away. You may find yourself “Spring cleaning” naturally, go with it! The desire to “clear out the nest” is real, people unfortunately confuse this urge for cleaning out their intestines. No! Stick with nesting.
I’m a guest teacher for a wellness program and I’m AMAZED when they get to the De-Clutter section, how much transformation happens from filling double-sized garbage bags with stuff and taking them away. I encourage you to make time for it, even if you take 15 minutes a day until each room is complete.
5. Get pissed.
There’s a lot to be angry about. But if you’re socialized female, you were taught that anger is dangerous, impolite and not tolerated. You were shamed out of anger.
It’s the shaming of anger that causes problems, not anger itself. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Spring is associated with the Wood Element. The wood’s “climate” is windy and the “emotion” is anger. When these two are flowing in harmony, anger comes to pass.
How do you let anger pass? Follow the steps above and acknowledge you’re angry. Before every blooming tree was an agitated sapling. Make this your motto and anger becomes food to grow!
There’s healthy ways to MOVE anger. Exercise, kickboxing, kundalini yoga, sex, singing (especially angry songs), dance and poetry. And while we’re in the Wood Element, the vocal quality is “shout.” There are workshops for this, which is great so you avoid unleashing on others. I haven’t seen that be effective on people you love. There’s Non-Violent-Communication and other tools.
To get in tune with nature, let your anger fuel your passions and take action. My whole business started because I was angry. Angry that people get sick from food related illness. Angry that the food system doesn’t care about health or animals, it cares about profits. Angry because sexism exists in the healthcare system. What are you angry about?
Now that I’ve got you good & pissed, here’s something to smile about.
Take these steps to heart, share with friends & family and tell me — have you felt the agitation? Reply in the comments below and subscribe for more unconventional wisdom.
*This essay was inspired by my Instagram post “what stage of bloom are you in?” My friend Yasmine, from Sweden, responded to my question with this beautiful poem by Swedish poet Karin Boye.
Yes Of Course It Hurts
Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking. Why else would the springtime falter? Why would all our ardent longing bind itself in frozen, bitter pallor? After all, the bud was covered all the winter. What new thing is it that bursts and wears? Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking, hurts for that which grows and that which bars.
Yes, it is hard when drops are falling. Trembling with fear, and heavy hanging, cleaving to the twig, and swelling, sliding - weight draws them down, though they go on clinging. Hard to be uncertain, afraid and divided, hard to feel the depths attract and call, yet sit fast and merely tremble - hard to want to stay and want to fall.
Then, when things are worst and nothing helps the tree's buds break as in rejoicing, then, when no fear holds back any longer, down in glitter go the twig's drops plunging, forget that they were frightened by the new, forget their fear before the flight unfurled - feel for a second their greatest safety, rest in that trust that creates the world. -Karin Boye
Photo Cred: Avena Botanicals