April 1, 2023

Spring is dawning, and so am I.


I have, quite unknowingly, given myself the opportunity to experience my life from a whole new perspective.  Who could have imagined that moving our family from sub-tropical Florida back to our northern roots would cause me to be able to truly see and experience the magic in the mundane of life.  The awareness of the connection in my relationships, my home, nature.  It’s in the squelchy, brown mud, the new, tender spring shoots, and the spongy dense moss.  Even my astute eldest referred to it as a “different quality”.

Maybe it takes coming from 30+ years of relentless sun/green/toxic heat to rediscover the magic of experiencing the turning of the wheel of the year.  A blessed escape from the endless summer. The soulful sigh of autumn as nature lets loose her leaves and tucks in for a peaceful winters’ slumber.  The visual reminder that rest is necessary.

The snow reveals and betrays all who touch it, from the secret contours and cliffs of the wooded hills, to the magical, moonlit forays of bunnies, foxes and deer.  It bears the proof that magic is afoot even as the world sleeps.

The light and warmth from the sun greeting your face on Imbolc somehow holds a gentle sweetness that seems to glow like a dandelion under your chin- creamy and lemony in the back of your nose.

As the sun pirouettes northwards, the melting snow reveals thick carpets of greens- the perfect stage for the unexpected pattering of a flurry of snowbells to grace the hills, heralding the dawn of spring.  The robins add their joy with laughter in the waking trees. 

The seasons have really carried me over the past year.  I had decided last spring that I was not willing to tolerate another Florida summer- climatologically or politically.  By early summer, we began our trek northwards and the hunt for our next home.  By late summer, we had found it- the spacious, bright, peaceful country cottage of our dreams.  The launchpad of all our future endeavors. 

I was falling over myself with ideas and optimism and the desire to dive straight into my work.  But, before I could make real headway, my health took a big hit and stopped me in my leaf-littered, snowy tracks.  So, I took my cue from the natural cycles I had missed so much, and attempted to rest.

Oh, rest.  It’s so important, but who’s got the time? And what even is rest, anyway? A Mirriam-Webster search listed about 20 different interpretations of ‘to rest’.  Sometimes when life is at its most hectic, “2: to cease from action or motion” is all the rest we can afford ourselves.  But it isn’t quite the same as “3: to be free from anxiety or disturbance”, or “4: peace of mind or spirit”.

Rest has depth, and the deeper the rest, the more thorough the healing. True rest needs peace and trust. It’s vulnerable. It’s being able to lay down our burdens, without opinion, and allow ourselves to be held in a cozy inner nest of love and compassion, and Just. Rest.

Detaching from duties is sometimes part of rest.  Detaching from duties with peace, and not the guilt, shame, and self-judgement of detaching, allows for a deeper layer of rest.  Stress affects heart rate, cortisol levels, and blood pressure.  It’s really hard to relax when your body can’t physically relax.

The tree truly rests by releasing her leaves without guilt or shame, trusting in the soil and her roots to hold her as she slumbers, bare and unprotected.  She trusts the creatures that take refuge in her leaves to do without them as she rests and resets.

As the bitter winter winds bit the hillside raw, I got real with myself about the guilt I felt about resting. I found some deep, murky pockets of fears I didn’t even realize had been sewn into the fabric of my mind throughout my life.

Firstly, I’m terrified of the idea of being scared.  Whether it’s the boogey-man or starting my own business, the thought of being scared makes me feel vulnerable. It’s not being scared that’s the issue, it’s the thought of being scared. 

So, in my angsty teens, I learned how to armor-up that feeling by fronting a cute-but-slightly-intimidating-posture-and-energy-to-appear-strong-and-fierce-while-never-actually-offending-anyone. Strong and likable!  As my relationships with people changed, so did my armor evolve to protect my ego*. And then I remembered a word worse than “scared”. 

I’m almost certain that my first desire in all of my life was to not be selfish. It was one of the first rules I ever learned, along with “don’t bite your brother” (probably). I took sharing very seriously.  It made my mom happy when I shared, and that felt really good. So, sharing made me feel good- dopamine, endorphins, the works.

You can imagine, then, that the worse word- “selfish”- from the wrong person could inflict some mental anguish. And, the Wrong Person did, in fact, show me that asking for what I needed was greedy, and very upsetting.

It was only the influence of one year, but the trauma still caused my adolescent armor to form new layers.  These were meant to supress the sharing of any needs or ideas I had that could be construed as “selfish” to the people I wanted to like me.  I was trying to allow myself to let go like a slumbering tree in winter, with the unhealthy coping mechanism that made it feel like I couldn’t express that I needed to drop my leaves.

We all should, every once in a while, if for no other reason than to examine if the leaves we’re carrying still align with our hopes and dreams.  I was afraid to let go, once I realized I could. There would be no hiding anymore. No more fierce posing to hide my vulnerability from myself. I was afraid I was going to be afraid. So, I opened my heart to the feeling of the fear. I decided if I accepted it, it might not terrify me anymore. I let go, and trusted.

And it was creamy and lemony like the sun on my face at Imbolc. And I realized I was strong enough to work through my own, personal winter solstice.  I didn’t freeze over, never to thaw again.  That’s not how nature works, and it’s not how healing works. Besides, crying releases endorphins.

I’m finding I was right.  No more hiding, no more posing, just the joy of experiencing life. Like unexpected snowbells on the hillside, and surprise alliums, and Buster’s daffodils- like the ones from when I was a kid that I loved with all my heart. 

But old fears have created new ones with their absence.  I find I’m afraid to blink.  I’m afraid to miss what each new day has to offer.  I want to be present to truly experience every magical moment of this liminal season.

Spring is dawning, and so am I.


Kalinah is a Spiritual Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Ordained Minister, and founder of River Grove Wellness. She’s our new regular contributor here at Wildsom of the Wildwood.

Her website is www.RiverGroveWellness.com
Insta @RiverGroveWellness
Twitch www.twitch.tv/KalinahRGW

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1 Comment

  1. AnnMarie Slater

    This is beautiful. You and I share a similar path. I love Florida for many reasons, but the ‘Turning of the wheel’ in the North is needed – mentally, emotionally, even physically. I crave it. I have met people in Florida who said “I’ve never seen the colors” and oh what incredible colors they are. I will always treasure my NY roots and be grateful that I can go from one state to another when my soul tells me to. TY for sharing your lovely insight on the beauty that the changes of seasons bring to us all.


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