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 what we do in the name of “health.” I notice self-judging thoughts, irritability & anxiety, and an overriding sense of frustration. These are common feelings this time of year, believe it or not. Especially in Maine, we’re behind Alaska as the last to Spring 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.
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 (whichever 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 – and myths don’t serve women well.
Spring is a dance, it’s playful, like a game of peek-a-boo. You will get impatient, angry and frustrated if you BLAME yourself for being a “bud” and reach for a “quick fix.”
Embrace your awkward! Don’t miss your emergence.
Doing anything other than embracing causes weakness & atrophy.
When you don’t nourish your needs, you become less resilient, more irritable, susceptible to disease, impatient and critical of yourself and others. Responding heroically forms a habit of swinging from one extreme to the next, making life (a series of natural transitions) more difficult.
Are you ready to live beyond the coffee enema? Would you like to honor your emergence?
Here are my 5 favorite ways to flourish, sparkle & shine for Spring:
1. Take a walk, often
Over steamy Thai curry, my friend told me, with awesome hand gestures, she watched Spring come to life! Other years, she’s looked up and there Spring was. This year, she could tell you how much a plant grew each day, which fern’s fronds have uncurled and what plants are growing around her. She took it all in – the smells, colors and essence of Spring. Spring lit her up – and in return it lit me up (eh hem, that’s called inner glow).
She figured out how to make time slow down by enjoying the season.
It’s so simple but SIMPLE gets bullied by “to-do” lists. So, stand up to bullies. Go for a walk! Look at the plants. Get to know your environment. Return to the same place day after day. Look up, look down. Have a relationship with nature.
Seeing change, makes you resilient to change. Not to mention, your liver functions better when you’re moving. The conversation started over her new dog. The dog is the reason she’s been taking walks every day, no excuses. #1 could be get a dog! But you don’t need a dog to commit to daily walks.
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 they’re 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 can also buy herbal medicine that uses “wild crafted” herbs or find a friend that forages.
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 your skin.
This year 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). The lymph doesn’t have a pump like your heart but movement and 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 (traumatic brain injury) 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.
Skin brushing is not superficial, although the skin smoothing effects of exfoliating is awesome and minimizes cellulite, the major boon is pumping your lymph and blood like this has similar effects to exercise (all in the comfort of your bathroom, without sweat) plus an overall feeling of wellness. A consistent routine of skin brushing 1-2/week is beneficial (some people enjoy it daily). It’s especially great after a long day of travel, sitting for hours or road tripping. Be particular about what kind of brush you get, not too firm (no red streaks or cut skin), not too soft, somewhere in the middle.
You can use a washcloth, shower gloves, or a “fascia blaster.” Fascia blasting is different than skin brushing, it works to break up fascia but the goal here is circulation, lymph movement and blood flow. I’ve never tried the fascia blaster, but it comes highly recommended for relieving pain, inflammation and cellulite.
4. Clean your house. (Not your body)!
This should cause a sigh of relief. De-clutter, shed or minimize, depending on your Feng shui school of thought. First, the surface clean. Then, the deep clean. Then, the ruthless elimination of excess stuff. Nah, it doesn’t have to be ruthless. Instead, imagine in your minds eye who you want to be and how you want to feel in your space – let that guide you.
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. The desire to “Spring clean” is natural, go with it! People unfortunately confuse this urge for cleaning out their intestines, hence the coffee enemas. Stick with the house.
As a guest teacher for a wellness program that includes de-cluttering, I’m always amazed 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.
Take these steps to heart and share with friends & family. Have you felt the agitation? Reply in the comments below and subscribe for monthly wisdom.
*This essay was inspired by my Instagram (@marciegoldman) post “What stage of bloom are you in?” My friend Yasmine responded with a 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