Recently I have felt oddly sick or like I’m about to get sick. You know that hot and cold feeling you get when you’re coming down with the flu or a bad cold? I had that for three days straight without getting worse or better. The sensation came with the advent of spring. The days are finally, and noticeably, longer and warmer and though the trees aren’t quite blooming yet, you can see the life returning to faces of people going by.
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, we have just moved into the season of Wood. In spring, “wood” (like tree or flower shoots) springs forth from the ground. Wood is a time of action, growth, and movement – quite a change from winter when life is dormant.
Since I was a child, I have always felt uncomfortably restless at the start of spring. I feel exposed and vulnerable and overly conscious of the sun glaring down on me. I feel expansive and, contrary to what one might expect, this often feels paralyzing. All of sudden, I have too many places to go and too many things to do – too many paths to choose from! So, I feel stuck when everyone else is bursting with life and energy.
This time, as I have reflected on my feelings of restlessness, I realized that I haven’t been very good at syncing with the time of rest that should be winter. In the past month or so, I have been recovering from being extremely burned out from overextending myself with work and other activities. I work for a nonprofit, at a restaurant, and for myself as a healer and coach in private sessions. I am also finishing up a seminary program and a sound healing program. This is all in addition to attempting to maintain my house, body, spiritual practice, and relationships that are important to me. This spring, for me, has been a time of cleaning out anything that is burning me out. Unfortunately, my winter was an extremely active one when the season is supposed to be a time of hibernation. So, now, I have been trying to rest at a time when the world is coming alive into action and movement.
No wonder I feel a bit out of sorts, inside and out! This is a cue to pay more attention to my body and my spirit and not let myself get to the point of utter exhaustion. This is also a cue to realize when I am actually “being the change” I wish to see in the world. I often look at people around me and wish that we could all just take a break. Breathe. Notice. I know that New York City represents an extreme pace of life that may not be the norm in other places. Even still, couldn’t we all use a breath to find stillness? When I teach my students meditation, I remind them that every meditation begins with just one breath. You have time for one breath, don’t you? That stillness will lead to just a little more awareness, awareness of mind, body, and soul.