paris, spring, equinox, cherry blossoms

#GoneGreen2016 Day 74 / 365

Today is the first day of spring and thus, the day of the vernal equinox, an astronomical event in which the Earth's equator passes through the Sun's 'equator', making both day and night (pretty much) equal in length. 

In the circular patterns of the seasons, today symbolizes the rebirth of nature in the Northern Hemisphere, representing the arrival of new life, and the end, or death, of winter. 

When I was a kid, we celebrated the cycles of the earth and her seasons, honouring and acknowledging these changes and what they meant to ourselves, other species, and the planet as a whole. In Canada (where I grew up), often times there would still be snow on the ground even on the first day of spring, so we would learn about the stirring of hibernating animals and talk about which flowers and leaves might be first to bloom around us. 

paris, spring, equinox, cherry blossomsFor children, the idea of new beginnings is as simple as this, most are free of the burdens of the past and future and thus, carry no weight with the idea. My mum would ask us what we'd like to accomplish and discover in the coming year. For adults, today offers you an opportunity to open yourself up to new beginnings with the goal of creating more balance and grounding in your life (first the seeds go down and then the plants come up!).

Along with personal growth, my focus on this seasonal change as part of the #GoneGreen2016 series is inspired by my belief that the more you connect with the changing seasons of this planet. The more you will see it as a living, breathing thing, and if empathy and love exists in your heart , a sense of duty to protect it and all of its inhabitants will seed and soon grow inside of you. 

In the western world we sometimes become lost in our own needs and forget that the time we're blessed with to reflect on ourselves is a privilege, and that sometimes we take advantage of that privilege in a way that brings further imbalance. We become so focused on what is happening within ourselves; our own depth, wisdom, and awareness, that instead of growing outward and unbounded to give life, aid and love to others like a tree, we turn inward, hoarding our growth for ourselves or the (instagram) stage on which we try to glorify a growth which exists only for our own ego. We stand tall like a prickly cactus in a hot desert for all to see, yet keep our lubrications and nourishment for ourselves only.

This is why these five little steps which welcome spring are important, they aid in your personal growth which brings you the intrinsic motivation to do it, but they also aid in your growth as a steward of this planet. These practices, along with other gallant acts my mother made, are amongst the reasons I believe I'm sensitive to the issues of the earth, and even during times of unconscious rebellion, always have been.  

There are many ways to ground and grow today, and all the days to come, and all of these practices will water the seeds of change in one way or another.

- 5 Ways Embraces Spring Equinox -

paris, spring, equinox, herbs
I saw my first Magnolia Blossoms budding in Paris today as we stumbled outside for our morning run, something I've learned to recognize as a telltale sign of winter's end. Living in Europe where it is warmer and snow rarely falls, the only signal I have of springs arrival (rather than melting snow) is the sudden bright and bountiful bloom of magnolia blossoms and cherry blossoms, which light up the neighborhoods in pastel hues. It's one of the things that brings me the most wonder each year, so getting outside for  a walk, run, picnic or wander today, to see what you can see, will help open you up to the visual side of seasonal change. It is also a good time, to see, without the distractions of one's smart phone, how much litter the melting snow or lack there of, has been uncovered, and do your part to remove these potential harms to other living things from your path, making room for new growth and positive change within you, and beyond you. 

Whether you reflect on your wonder wander, through meditation, during your yoga practice, or upon returning home, this is an ideal time to reflect on the year to come. This is one of the two days within the year when night and day are equal in length and thus, a day the earth, and you a child of it, should be in perfect balance. Journalling your goals for the year will help you to connect with where you are and where yo'd like to go. It's a perfect time to reflect on the elements of yourself you'd like to let go of and what you'd like to welcome in and how you can make changes to creating more balance in your life, the decisions you make which affect the planet, and the decisions you make which negatively affect the lives of other living things. Ignorance is no longer bliss.

paris, spring, equinox, lemonsThree. | SPRING CLEANING
I remember vividly the spring cleaning we did as a kid each year at equinox. It's a perfect time to reset and refresh everything around you. Reducing clutter and cleansing spaces to create balance. My mum uses 13 lemons mixed with water in a big bucket which you use to wash all the walls, door knobs, taps, floors and surfaces. Once your home is filled with the fresh scent of lemony goodness, consider going through your household and wardrobe to reduce clutter, as you organize your objects, ask yourself some of the questions from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and donate what doesn't bring you joy to charity so it might bring joy to another. 

Four. | PLANT
Check what bulbs and seeds are ready to be planted in your local environment if planting outdoors and find out what plants will best survive indoors if that's where your new blooming buddies might live. Check out this diagram which helps you choose your indoor plants based on access to light. 

Make yourself a meal using the foods seasonally sourced from your local environment, and make enough to donate to those who might otherwise not have such a hearty meal available to them. Eating in season helps you to reconnect with, and be grateful for, the gradual and rewarding process springs blooming and budding brings, that this earth works for you to have nutrition and therefore you ought to work to ensure the earth gets the same (nutrition rather than poison from our actions and products).