|Winter keeping its hold strong in early March.|
Although the weather is still cold, and the fires are still burning hot each day- the sun has changed, and it keeps changing. It is time to be renewed with the energy of emerging spring-- to work harder on bringing projects and healthy commitments to fruition, to create space in our lives by eliminating what does not serve a higher purpose or deeper self, and to clean house, so to speak!
The Catholic season of Lent, the 40 days leading to Easter, began yesterday. Our church, a Unitarian Universalist, had info printed in their upcoming events, so I was clued in. The reason we are observing it this year, however, is because the girls were intrigued. Ella, our youngest, noticed 'Ash Wednesday' written on the calendar. This prompted the question, "Mama, is tomorrow a holiday?" and so, several conversations later, here we are, with our lists of what we will let go of in order to make room for Spirit to grow and our creativity to flow.
Although Lent is a relatively new celebration, (it is not mentioned in the Bible)-- it lines up pretty well with seasonal detoxing, fasting, and spring cleaning around the world. Passover is observed in Judaism, Spring Navarati in Hinduism, and the Baha'i celebrate with a nineteen day fast-- to name just a few. In early spring, the traditions in China dictate a period of house cleaning to sweep away "bad luck" (followed by a break from house cleaning to allow the "good luck" to gather.) From Persia to Saudi Arabia, spring cleaning is well documented.
Timing wise, fasting, cleaning, and detoxing align well with the rebirth of the world, with changes in our lifestyles that trigger natural detox, and with the available food in the natural world. In Northern climates, this time of year brings a couple things. Traditionally, the wood fires in our homes have left dust and the closed windows, a stagnation. Spring brings the first days warm enough to let the breeze in-- hence the tradition of Spring Cleaning (which turns out to be another way of getting the toxins out).
It is also an especially empty time of year, in many ways, again with a nod to the time before grocery stores. For all you other homesteaders out there, maybe you see what I see when I look in my pantry these days. Pretty much nothing except pickles and applesauce is left. My shelf after shelf of carefully preserved winter food has been replaced with clean, emptied jars awaiting refilling. The freezer has some lingering fruit and a few chickens. It is a time of leanness in northern parts of the natural world -- so fasting makes sense. It is a natural time to allow the body to have a break and clean up.
Outside, in late spring, dandelions, fiddleheads, nettles, mustards, milk thistle, burdock, and young potherbs will be growing soon and all are supportive detox foods-- leading us from fasting to detox.
At the the site yogi mir, the article "Why Dextoxification is Essential" offers some great information to help you align with the natural urge to clean up.
Our list is pretty simple. We have each given up something that was consuming us a bit too much, or perhaps something that was shaping us in a way that we no longer wished to be shaped. I won't call out any one person in our little home, but here's what we are aiming for-- every goal is the goal of an individual, not all of us together.
- No sugar, no gatorade
- No being mean to my best friend
- No games (apps)
- No social media
- Avoid obsessive thinking
- Eat healthy, eat small, eat often
- Smoothie fast a few days each week
I am pretty happy with this list. I believe that even these simple changes will create important ripples in our lives that will have a lasting impact. They say it takes about six weeks to break a bad habit/ form a new habit-- just about 40 days, the length of Lent. 40 days has special meaning in Christianity and is used often in Bible stories-- and it is always associated with a transformation. Will we expect transformation? Why not? With dedication to emptying and freeing ourselves from bad habits, and committing to some new ones we can create new spaces in our lives. The creative and renewing energies of spring surround us, inspiring and offering. The very seed is beginning to swell into life from dormancy-- and soon these very seeds will burst forth into green sprouts and shallow roots. Coccoons overwintered are rearranging molecules and will soon fly into the world. Wild animals, following the seasonal cycles, mate and give birth in Spring. The wild geese fly home and peepers peep. With such magic everywhere, why not let it grow within? Letting go of what is not needed is cleansing, like the spring rains. Being mindful of our health is detoxifying and renewing, like spring's new life. Join us--it's never too late to clean up~