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Happy Spring

With the changing of seasons, lengthening of days, warming of the air, and growing energy within the plants and animals around us, it's impossible to deny the collective energy shift that occurs. Though there may still be a snowstorm or two ahead of us, especially for our northern friends, there is a peaceful knowing that it will pass quickly. Spring cannot be stopped.

For millennia, time has been tracked and recorded from the movement of stars and planets, but even earlier, from the simple changing of seasons. Plants and animals do not keep track of celestial bodies or moon phases; they rely on their internal clocks and attunement to nature around them. Plants can sense the temperature changes in the air, as well as the thawing soil, and the increase in daylight from the springtime sun, encouraging their branches to bud and bloom. Animals also listen closely, without much conscious thought. Their epigenetics pay close attention to environmental changes, creating chemical shifts in their metabolic rate, transitioning them from a slow hibernation into a more active state. The seasons can also indicate that it's time to shed their winter coat or migrate to new territory.

As humans, we have found other ways to record time outside nature, though nature is still at the core of our time-telling. The movement of the earth and our relationship to the sun will always be responsible for the changing seasons upon which we base our lives. But it is fun to see the meaning we, as creative and incisive humans, extract from nature to inspire our holidays and rituals.

In Christianity, Easter celebrates the "rebirth" of Jesus, which can symbolically remind us of the rebirth of nature that occurs with Spring.

Before Christianity, the Pagan religion celebrated the goddess Eostre or Eastre, who was responsible for dawn and the Vernal Equinox. Her name commemorates the sun rising in the east, and the holiday celebrates the increase of daylight and the fertility of the land to come.

Nowruz is the Iranian and Persian New Year celebration that occurs on the Spring Equinox. It means "new day" and is a way to welcome the start of Spring.

Holi is the Northern Indian Festival of Colors, which celebrates the many colors of Spring in nature and commemorates the triumph of good over evil.

Songkran Water Festival is a holiday in Thailand that celebrates the astrological passage from one year ending to another year beginning.

Regardless of the culture or species, Spring is a significant time of all life. It invites a renewal of energy into our bodies, bringing us out of the quiet and restfulness of winter.

What do you notice about the shifting seasons? A greater sense of energy? A calling to do more work or creative tasks? Perhaps you haven't felt much change yet, and that is okay, too.

Try embracing the simple practice of awareness. Each day this Spring, as you walk to work, school, or back home, allow yourself to be fully present and aware of your environment. Even if the weather is unruly, challenge yourself to pay attention to the earth around you.

Do you notice a different feel from that of the deep winter quiet? Can you feel the energy growing within the plants and animals around you?

What do you hear? Birds chirping? Water trickling down rocks as snow piles melt?

What do you smell? The thawing of snow over wet, soaked grass?

What do you feel? The warmth of the sun on your face? Is the wind brushing past your body? Or something more profound, like the energy or excitement that nature contains around you?

I hope you all have a beautiful spring season!

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