There are 16 days to spring. I am, as I imagine many of you are, eager to smell the thawing earth and feel a warmer breeze. The light is coming back, and soon, buds will be showing themselves, and layers will be stripping from the earth and our own heavily covered winter bodies. I look forward to this time of seeing the world around, and feeling it inside of myself, come more alive with color, sounds, and scents. What a treat spring is for our senses and our hearts to feel and become more awake and alive.
I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peak of nature’s abundance and warmth while down in Costa Rica for the Yoga & Surf Retreat. From the moment the plane landed, my shoulders softened back and my body felt enveloped by the sweet warm air. All my senses began to wake up. As we traveled deeper and deeper into the jungle, the world around us kept getting more and more vibrant. There was a constant hum and whistle in the air of all the birds and insects that inhabit the jungle. Howler monkeys would begin their calls (more like deep gut throated grunts and groans) at the wee hours of the morning. The waves crashing on the rocks and beach provided a constant white noise that was soothing and grounding.
The abundant nature only helped to inspire all participants to feel and become more and more alive each day they were on the retreat. The two yoga practices a day (3 hours) as well as the daily surfing, sore muscles, and utmost fatigue at the end of the day, also helped to lift spirits and remind us of being alive on this planet.
During our evening yoga, as we neared the end of the session in the open air studio, all our senses would be bathed in rich experience. The sun would be setting, the view of waves would turn the horizon shades of pink and orange. At 5:30pm, like clock-work, the jungle would amplify its sounds and provide vibrant and energetic music that literally could be felt through the thin layers of our skin. Just at this moment the sweet and delicious smells of ylang ylang would come wafting into our nasal passages (and this usually aligned just perfectly with a pranayama exercise or meditation). The lessons in yoga philosophy teach us that we are all one vibration, we are all connected, and all come from source. Here, in this vibrantly alive and rich environment, you really could truly feel the boundary between your skin and the outer world soften. My hope is that all participants opened their senses to embrace the experiences offered during this week of adventure, play, relaxation, connection, and reflection. But, speaking for myself, I truly felt more connected, alive, and free as nature’s abundance surrounded and enveloped me in pure presence and play. I returned home with my husband, feeling more grounded, connected, and clear headed.
I tell you all this not to make you angry you did not come (you can come next year!). I tell you this to remind us of what is soon to come. The grass is going to show itself again. The natural wonders of the quiet and snow covered world will once again wake up and begin to inspire and support us all to grow into more alive and radiant beings this spring and summer. My wish for you all is that you can take the time to trul
y appreciate life as the gift it is. Take pause in the daily routine and watch the sunrise and/or sunset. Walk barefoot on the beach and feel the sand in your toes. Get your hands dirty in the dirt and feel the lush fertile quality of the earth. Plan time to be with loved ones, 100% – no cell phones, no distractions. Make time for your practice and reflect on the reality of your own senses and presence.
As nature begins to wake up, may it inspire us all to wake up. I will leave you with one of my favorite poets Mary Oliver, and her inspiring words on this natural world.
I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it nothing fancy.
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is the dark pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and beautiful silence as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too hurried to hear it.
As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too, and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones, so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being locked up in gold.
Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early