Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Summer Solstice: finding balance

As we approach summer solstice, two things are apparent: 1) the increasing light, warmth and openness, as if summer is opening its doors; and 2) the build up of busyness before Christmas.

How can we achieve balance? Try pausing at intervals. Stop and breathe. Breathe into summer. Let go of the imposed schedules of Christmas for a moment. Breathe into the spaciousness of summer.

Just one simple practice can make a lot of difference. I find stopping to breathe helps me to stay attuned to the season. For summer solstice is a time of expansion: maximum sun, light, and heart energy.

Walking is another simple practice to create calm during this busy time. Walk in nature, where you can rest your eyes on green trees, blue sea or a dash of crimson pohutukawa.

Summer Solstice falls on December 22 this year. See if you can make space to celebrate this uplifting festival. Keep it simple. All that’s needed is a few friends on a beach, park, or around a meal table. Light yellow, white or red candles. Bring in some pohutukawa blossom. Celebrate the achievements of the year and give each other blessings. Let it be a ritual of the heart.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Discovering the Sacred in Everyday Life

My book A Cup of Sunlight, is taking off. A Women's group is now working through it on Monday nights, and there is a resurgence of energy for this title.

When I feel under under pressure, or there are too many tasks on the lists, I find that returning awareness to the sacred is a way of restoring energy and connection. I am currently practising taking a deep breath before doing anything new, and making sure I stay present.

There is so much to observe in this burgeoning season. The elements are wild, but the earth is warming, receiving seeds and plants with gladness. Outside the trees, in full leaf, are waving in the wind. So much green as we approach Flowering and Saprise/Beltane/Green Day. So much to celebrate.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spring Planting

Carrots love tomatoes, says my companion planting book. I've just planted Roma Italian tomato seedlings, and sown a row of carrots alongside. Carrots help peas as well. My sugar snap peas, planted a few weeks ago, are climbing nicely up their bamboo stakes. Warm coastal Auckland soil, rich and black. I've found organic sheep pellets at Mitre 10 Mega Store.

Labour weekend is the traditional time to plant seedlings: beans, lettuce, courgettes, corn, tomatoes. Seeds of peas, lettuce, rocket can be sown straight into the soil in warm areas. So satisfying to plant seedlings in spring and watch the plants growing so fast in this wet, warm season.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sap Rise, Beltane and National Green Day

I’m reflecting on this season of ‘Sap Rise’, as I call it in my book Celebrating the Southern Seasons. It’s a time of high sexual, creative, greening energy. The ancient Celtic festival of Beltane was celebrated at this point midway between spring equinox and summer solstice. In the southern hemisphere Beltane falls on October 31.

For some time I’ve dreamed of this date becoming National Green Day, when we wear something green, or maybe a sprig in the buttonhole, and when we do something for the earth: maybe plant a tree, clear rubbish or weeds, create a garden.

My dream is contradicted by the dark energies of Halloween, based on the old Celtic festival of the dead. This festival falls on April 30 in the southern hemisphere, but the commercial world has imported it thoughtlessly to coincide with the northern hemisphere calendar. Sometimes I fantasise about having sprigs of green ready for the children who come around trick and treating. I offer each sprig with a smile, and say, ‘in our hemisphere, it’s actually spring and the Green Festival.’ It’s tricky though; I don’t want to make the children wrong, but at the same time I do object to this misalignment! Maybe I could find a green treat for them, as a graceful way of synchronising with our southern hemisphere season.

What ideas do you have? How can we celebrate this peak of greening, the lusty energy of full-on spring?

Add a comment (click comment, and then sign up for one of the ‘profiles’ that comes up in the list. Google is easy to do, or maybe you are already signed up for one of them. Then write your comment). I’d love to gather ideas about this.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

seasonal inspiration

Spring Equinox

The source is within you
and the whole world is springing up from it.

Did you know that this is our Southern hemisphere Easter? Yes, right now at Spring Equinox, on September 23. Or to be really traditional, on the first full moon after Equinox, which is not until October 4 this year. It's the season of resurrection, hope, and growth.

Spring Equinox itself is when dark and light are equal. And so I reflect on balance. Sometimes I lose it, that balance between inner and outer. I've found it helpful to monitor sometimes, by doing a quick drawing in the evening. I draw a circle, then fill in the portion that I've spent being 'out there' and active, and then the portion that I've spent being more inward and connected with myself.

If I spend too much time being outer focused, I find I can become fragmented. Too much time on the inside and I lose touch with others. When it's roughly in balance, I go to bed feeling that I've had a good day.

The light is increasing, spring is bounding in, and everything is quickening: not just the trees and garden plants, but my creativity. I have new projects underway. The season supports them, carrying me along with its surge of energy.

What about you? What are your responses to this season? Sometimes spring can sweep us off our feet. What are your ways of finding balance?