Winter is the season of moving slowly, rest and restoration. In our capitalistic society it is hard to follow the rhythm of the seasons. We are told that everything progresses at an constant increase without a pause for rest and recollecting ourselves. If you look outside, watch nature, you know that everything is cyclical and all things come around again and again. Rest is part of the natural order of things.
For plants, in winter the nutrients move down into the roots. The vitality at the tips of leaves retreats into the safety of the roots. Plants fortify their foundations during winter. How can we mirror this behavior? How can we send our vitality into our roots? Are our bones our roots? What are your foundations? How can you strengthen them during the colder seasons? What relationship foundations need to be reevaluated?
As we move towards spring, in the Pacific Northwest we have moments of bright sunshine and second or even third winter interludes. We weave back and forth through bright sunny warm (60 degrees F) to cold windy winter days (35-40 degrees F.) As we move back and forth through winter and into spring we have the opportunity to experience both seasons through connection practices. Just the simple act of walking outdoors can bring us closer to nature. Observing the birds, plants and other animals can relax our own animal bodies.
When spring begins in earnest, plants begin to send out intrepid shoots of green. Some of the first plants to emerge from earth are crocus and tulips. The nutrients make their way to help plant produce their green leaves. The vitality of the plants begin to expand and awaken. How might we mirror the expanding energy of the plant world? Do we emerge more from our cozy homes to experience the outside world more? Do we become more adventurous? Do seek more connection with friends and acquaintances? Do we incorporate more green foods into our diets as we move more deeply into spring?
An earth-centered connection practice that works for all seasons is a sit spot. A sit spot is a place in an outdoor environment that you can visit on a regular basis. The frequency and length of time is up to you. It could be a back porch or it could be a half hour hike into the woods or anywhere in between. This is a time to just observe and listen. The research shows that “Taking at least 20 minutes out of your day to stroll or sit in a place that makes you feel in contact with nature will significantly lower your stress hormone levels.” (Frontiers in Psychology). Taking time to sit quietly and observe your surrounding is good for your heart and your connection to the earth.
Connecting with spring can also look like planning your gardening or spending time outside prepping for planting season. On days the sun is shining or whenever it works for you, spending time outside helps our animal bodies acclimate to the changing season. Just sitting in your garden and imagining the coming planting season can help you feel more connected to the earth.
Cleaning is also commonly associated with spring. Clearing away the clutter of winter, preparing for more time outside, can be a nourishing way to live more fully in this season. Even just naming your cleaning/clearing practices as a spring renewal process can bring a feeling of living in time with the seasons.
Whatever practices you choose, deepening your relationship with nature can be nourishing on many levels. Make a commitment to take walks outside, create a sit spot or clear your desk. Do this with consciousness and with your heart connected to nature and you may find a deeper level of fulfillment. Feel free to share your favorite nature connection practices in the comments below!
Karin Olsen is a healer, a seer and a teacher. Her experience includes studying plants for more than 20 years, owning an herb shop and metaphysical store for 15 years. She has been a massage therapist for over 25 years. Karin learned her psychic medium skills from her mother and sees clients via zoom. She teaches classes on earth-based spirituality through Moonhill Mystery School in the Salish Sea area. In 2021 she earned a Master of Ecopsychology from Naropa University. Go to www,moonhillmysteryschool.com to learn more about her classes and events.