Updated: Feb 26, 2022
As I softly open my eyes, a small sense of dread awakens with me as I feel a familiar sensation in the center of my chest. Long lost since Autumn, hello again to a familiar flutter. I must say I have not missed you, even though I have thought of you often. Wondering when you would make your unwelcome yet bittersweet visit. Although in the past I believed that you were unannounced, now I understand that you are quite timely. A respectful and gentle reminder to me. Your remind me to take care of myself well and with purpose. To go deeper. Your nudge allows. I do realize this feeling may get more intense if I try to suppress or kick you out of my life. I have learned to allow you in, so that your visits come less often. You remind me to listen to you so that your light knocking doesnt turn into a full-blown hurricane. Your are still kinder than raucous guests. Like Anger. He comes swiftly but destroys everything in his path, yet you….you sit across the room fluttering your wings so I feel you. I must not keep you caged. Wings are meant for flying. Yes. Yes, I will honor your secrets until you leave. You are always gone by Summer. It is much easier to respect you.
In our society we look at discomfort as something to be feared. We run from it, suppress it. Try to ignore it. This is an impossibility, after all. Every element is a part of us. Including the wind. It is all around us and inside of us. We need it. It is our breathe, our circulation. In Ayurveda it is the vibration of Vata, the Dosha of air and ether. It is the power of artistry, creativity, travel, and flow. There are ways to release it, to transform it, to tame it, and to understand it.
During the beginning of Spring and Fall, Earth becomes lighter. As the density of Winter begins to lift, the ground and leaves begin to get dryer. As without, so within, we can look at how our own bodies begin to change during this transition. Our skin and tissues all become dryer. Our circulation slows, our joints lose a bit of lubricaiton, we are vibrating higher even. As we begin to lighten the load so to speak this can arise a very unsettling feeling. This disorientation is higher in the Spring and the Fall. In the last few years I have developed a strong awareness of my body space. I have learned to see my past patterns that took me to distraction to avoid these emotions or imbalances in my body. I also am now aware that my unknowing of why I felt this way led me to abuse alcohol for so long. This also led me to other addictions of my past. Nibbling when not hungry, or distracting myself with anything that would pull me away. It was painful to be by myself with pain. These days I look deeply into it and sit with it.
Many of us are so unaware of the seasons that we do not realize that the elements outside of our body in Nature, are a mirror of the elements inside of us. This is why it is so important for us to be in touch with the world around us. Mother Nature. In Ayurveda we hold strong attention to the Equinox and Solstice times for a touchstone in our habits. If you know the world, it is easy to know yourself and to understand why we feel certain ways during distinct times of the year. This makes it possible for us to begin to look ahead and prevent unwellness with sacred rituals that diminish seasonal transitiory sickness, as well as emotional upheaval. There is nothing "wrong" with nature. But if we look outside our window we can bring an awareness of the everchanging flow and rhythm to nature and begin to understand why we too have a rhythm all our own.
In this day and age many women that reach mid thirties to fifties are encouraged to partake in pharmaceutical medicine for perimenopausal symptoms of anxiety, discomfort, and dryness. For thousands of years, women were taught by their mothers and grandmothers to follow rituals to ease the way. Pharmacy is relatively new and does not point to why we have inbalances. Pharmacy only treats a symptom of an inbalance. Ayurveda looks at the body as a whole and recognizes that as we get older, we begin to become dryer and lighter. It is important to develop seasonal habits to ground ourselves so that we may enjoy this magical phase of our lives. Aging well should be taught to all of us, but sadly many of these practices are dying with our elderly who were still connected to the rituals of our ancestors. And less of our youth are devoting their dharma and careers to these practices because they are not higlhy supportive financially to modern lifestyle. We are losing teachers and practitioners. But a light is never diminished and people are becoming more and more aware of the healing powers of their own self. And with an abundant world that gives us plentiful in plant and food medicine. Wellness costs little financially, although it seems that we are not taught wellness as we should be. Wellness should be a birth right, not something you have to find out for yourself with the first medical scare, yet sometimes this is the entrance to the path. The truth is, living well is an art form that can be practiced to perfection with ease and love. It becomes a very part of you. That lost part that has been covered up in a world that tends to diminish the light and limitless of our own healing powers. How can there be anything wrong with nature. Even growing older should be enchanting for us all. Let's change the game on the last sweet phase of our lives, if we are blessed to have the gifts of growing into wisdom.
Spring can be that gorgeous time that we see everything letting go and coming alive. It is magic really. As the winter settles out, we see creeks flowing, sprouts of green and the birds singing loudly to celebrate. There are ways to make the most of this time, and to transform all of this high vibrational energy into creating! Gardens, revitalizing our systems, tossing out stagnation, bringing in adventure. This is the time that empires are built and gardens are blooming.
I have some tips to share for you if this time of the year brings upheaval. If we work with Mother Nature, we can begin to understand and love every dynamic and complex facet of ourselves. And appreciate how to transform every emotion into something good for our lives, solid to our practice, and rich in spirituality. This is the time of Artistrty. And our iArtist is always looking to be uncaged, released.
Here are some tips that work for me in knowing thyself and my anxiety a little more.
Stress can trigger it. When you are hard pressed in work or taking care of those around you, remember to take deep breathes throughout the day. Breathe can settle vibratory patterns in your body. Give yourself five minutes early in the morning of deep inhaling and even longer exhaling. Or five or ten minute guided meditation with focus on heart or belly space. Also settle yourself in a comfortable seat between 2pm and 6pm in the afternoon for a simple scan, noticing spaces in your body that you are holding. Even checking your pulse throughout your day can settle you down. This will grow an awareness to your anxiety so that you begin to create coping skills that lesson these vibrations.
Air blows windier in the Spring and Fall. As Mother Nature is a mirror of what is happening inside of our bodies, then we can realize that we will feel less grounded during this time. Understand that this may be the time for more down time or reflection. Check in with your calendars so you know the time to up your practices. Also, during transitions in weather, we may need that extra hour of sleep per night. Eating foods with LIFE in them are going to encourage deep rest and more energy during waking hours. Avoid foods that take all your energy in digestion. Fruit and veggies in smoothies juices and a quick saute go a long way. Rest, hydrate and nourish!
Yoga. In movement heated flows are excellent for anxiety. Heat can add an element of heaviness to the vibration of Vata. Heated Yoga flows are excellent as well as dynamic Vinyasa style classes with a lots of core work. Salutations are excellent. Restorative Yoga is a remedy for anxiety. During high anxiety, the style of Yoga to avoid would be anything that is jumpy or high movement. I love artistic expression style practice but during my anxiety I avoid fast and fluttery movements. It can aggravate your Vata and increase anxiety. Save this for more sluggish times. Also a gentle morning practice can go a long way. Rub some rose oil on your wrists and ankles, play soft music and enjoy.
Hot baths, hot saunas, hot teas. Heat is excellent for anxiety. I actually feel like it “burns it all up.” I practice a lot of hot Yoga during this time because it tames Vata dosha. Saunas, hot tubs, hot baths. Lavender, rose geranium or even your favorite bubble bath is nice. Heighten your senses. Massage your body at night with warm oil. Also wear layers if you are outside. Wool socks around the house. Keep the heating blanket on the bed for another month. Heavy quilts during sleep will ground us as well and give us more warmth.
This can be the time to enjoy the sweets or a little bread baking. In Ayurveda we use healthy sweets and breads to tame anger and anxiety. it is the perfect remedy. Bake some sweet cake. Add flaxseed instead of egg and butter. Make some vegan brownies. Enjoy these precious acts. Any act that heightens all the senses and allows us to be more present, tames Vata. Check out on my social media my plant based Naan bread recipe. It is luscious. I make wraps, little pizzas or compliment my curries with it. It is the PERFECT balancing comfort food.
Apothecary. Chose teas from your local distributers. Adaptogens are excellent for this time of the year. Adaptogens keep the body in homeostasis so they are excellent for allowing body to run well. Sometimes we notice cold feet or hands. Adaptogens are great for the circulatory system so they go a long way in allowing us to stay well oiled during this time. I sip on warm teas all day long during spring, sometimes finding cups all over my loft in the end of day, half empty. Roobios, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Chamomile. Play around. Add some honey or maple syrup or agave. Take time to sit during the afternoon with a hot cup. Tea is my favorite Dinacharya. It allows us to be still. It is not only nourishing to our cells, it is nourishing to our minds.
Check in. Fellowship. Counsel. You know who you need. Check in with your trusted party. Reach out. It is important for us to have that person that we entrust with our anxiety. I have one person that I speak to often and we do this for each other. We hold space. She always knows when my anxiety runs high and I know when she needs me as well. It is nice to have a touchstone. This may be your counselor. Or an online group. I have several online groups that I stay connected with. Or your partner. Reach out. We have so much access to each other during this time. Take advantage. Never believe that the world has lost humanity. If you look for support, you will find it. People are good.
Reading, Writing, Arithmetic! One way to tame anxiety is to grab a good book, or write down your feelings. Share a poem. Or do some of your grocery list, write out some bills. Get some things done that can ground you and transform your anxiety into action. This is one way to use your anxiety in movement and productivity. Clear out a drawer or organize your pantry. Make some labels and clean up a part of your home that has gotten a little messy! Keep yourself moving and puttering. Puttering time is a great way to diminish Vata dosha because it allows us to tidy up externally. Remember so within, is without, and without is within. Our worlds are in nature to each other, outward and inward. If you putter around and do things a little aimlessly and without hurry, it can feel good.
Nature Calls. Nature is our only healthy distraction. And such a beautiful one. Take a walk. Feel the dry leaves under your feet. Allow. Hear the birds. Breathe. If you live in town, stroll around and smile at other people. Be awake and alert. Notice the trees and feel the wind. Enjoy this rainbow season.
Remember to check with your Doctor or Nurse Practitioner before making any lifestyle changes, including diet or herbs. Also chose Health Counselors and Coaches that have the proper training and education. (Check with your CBD Educator or Physician before taking any herbal or pharmaceutical medication.)
Remember during this time that you are not alone. And all of our changing patterns and even inbalances can be a reminder of the everchanging seasons. Of passing emotions. It reminds me, that like the Moon, we must go through our own phases to feel full again.
I see Red when I am called to keep my disciplines strong and ground my feet into Earth.
Orange visits me when it is time to dance.
Yellow tells me I am a hero and a friend.
Green always moves my heart.
Blue shines a light on my path, missing my mark less every year.
Indigo keeps one foot before leaping off the cliff into the unknown.
Violet takes me home. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.