HARMONY AND CREATIVITY
Here is spring, flowers are in bloom, trees have miraculously come back to life, and soon comes summer, the birds are singing and the sun is shining … Well, at least in some parts of the world, and hopefully where you are.
Nature is reawakening and so are we!
How can you make good use of the Spring and Summer vibes 🙂 ?
In my previous posts, Modern goals the Ancient Way, Standstill and Autumn, and The Expat Winter Survival Kit, I reiterated the importance of aligning your own personal life with nature’s rhythm so as to maximise the outcome of your actions.
A good farmer knows how to align his actions with nature. He knows that by planting the right seeds at the right time in the right place, he favours the healthy growth of his crop and provides maximum nourishment and income to his family.
According to the I-Ching, Spring marks a time when everything is naturally in harmony. As I explained in my previous post Peace Within and Without, Hexagramme 11 – which represents the beginning of Spring – depicts a time when Yin and Yang are in equal amounts and perfect order, meaning, in terms of life situations, moments when things just naturally fall into place just as per magic.
Spring is the time to start surfing these lucky vibes and make good use of all the energy you have wisely stored and protected during autumn and winter, as advised in The Expat Winter Survival Kit …
How to be helped by Spring Energy?
1. Press the REFRESH button!
Just like a car needs a good oil change once in a while, your body and your mind also need a good spring cleaning so as to function at optimal levels during Spring and Summer.
I suggest a very simple light and healthy dietary 7 day detox anyone can do very easily.
What you will eat : Lots of vegetables (preferrably local and organic), fruit, nuts, a lot of water
What you will not eat : Sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed food, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, dairy
When you next go shopping, make sure you load up on veggies, fruit, nuts and water!
Happy detoxing! Don’t forget to let me know about the changes you have experienced.
Ideally, spend ONE ENTIRE WEEK OFFLINE!
I know, this sounds like a real challenge…
(Ok, if the task feels out of reach, start with 24 hours…)
If you can, couple it with a holiday and you have the perfect recipe for a powerful Reset of your mind.
I can assure you it can be done, and the benefits of living life at a slower pace of stimulation are simply innumerable, here are a few:
- You will improve your ability to concentrate and focus
- You will be more present for your family and friends and as a result will enjoy more quality time
- Your eyes will thank you (in Chinese Medicine, the eyes are linked to Liver energy which is linked to Spring energy, resting them at this time will be greatly beneficial not only to your eyes, but to blood in general as the eyes are pumping out a lot of blood and energy, which results in more energy, less headaches, etc…)
- You will be able to go to bed earlier, will sleep much better and will wake up refreshed in the morning… invaluable!
You have probably heard of Feng Shui, it is an ancient Chinese practice based on the assumption that your house is a reflection of your body and mind, as a result one can affect the other positively or negatively and vice versa.
Consequently, the cleaner the better…The Western spring cleaning tradition is actually very close to this old Chinese practice.
There is much more to know about Feng Shui, but to start with, I highly recommend, along with the body and mind cleaning and clearing suggested above, that you carry out a house detox as well.
Start by getting rid of anything in your house that is broken, has not been used for years (objects, clothes), or brings back bad memories. You can do this one room at a time. It can be a lot of work if you have never done it, as clutter acumulates very fast. For Expats who change homes (and countries) regularly it should be easier as there is not enough time for objects to totally invade the territory. Each change of home naturally calls for this type of clearing away of old stuff.
Anyway, just do it and let me know if you are feeling the atmosphere is different in your home.
Spring is an optimal time for « starting », if you want to launch a new project, start a business, buy a house, move into a new house or job, NOW is the time to take the first step.… Each « new beginning » will benefit from the growth effect of spring.
« A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao Tzu
Summer is symbolised by Hexagramme 1 of the I-Ching, which is constituted of 6 full yang lines, meaning full light, full creativity, full leadership. It is even brighter than Spring, it is the brightest time of the year. It is full of energy and very active. How does it translate in terms of every day life, how shall you behave in order to be in alignment with Summer energy and allow it to help you bring your plans (initiated in Spring) to fruition?
It is a good time to socialize, to talk, to go out, the energy of spring is an outgoing one, so reach out to people and just have a little bit of fun.
« I see your true colours shining through… » 🙂
Like a flower, you are colourful, so show off all your colours, don’t be afraid to shine, to be seen, it is a present to the world!
2.How to Shine?
Just put a A BIG BRIGHT SMILE on your face !
(make sure you use all your teeth ;-))
If you can’t because you are not in the mood…
Serious research carried out by psychologist and “facial coding” expert Paul Ekman, but also more recently, by Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman, published in Psycological Science, has demonstrated that faking smiles could reduce stress and affect general mood positively.
Not only is facial muscle activity a precious anti-aging tool but it can also alter the mood in a positive way. That being said, in the same way it can improve the mood, it can as well affect it in a negative way.
Frowning for example can increase the feeling and damaging effect of anger in your body. It can also create ugly disgracious wrinkles – watch out for them in the mirror, if you notice 2 big deep lines at the base of your eyebrows, it means you have been frowning a lot. Ask yourself : what is making me frown? Identify the source of your discontent and find a way to change your circumstances, or to react differently to the triggering factor (changing habitual responses requires a bit of practice but is totally achievable 🙂 so that you don’t have to frown as much.
You can also massage your eybrows frequently – in particular right after you find yourself frowning – and put on a big smile (yes, even a fake one :).
« I am fresh like a flower »
This is a very simple “mantra” – a mantra in the buddhist tradition is a sacred syllable or sentence which is repeated by someone who is praying or meditating – that I like to repeat to myself, I learned it from Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. Repeating this mantra, aloud or silently to yourself as you breathe in and out will renew and brighten your energy throughout the day.
Here you go. I think you are now fully equiped for a beautiful Spring and Summer time.
Please still be aware though of the fact that Spring and Summer are moments that have more to do with a good push of luck from the universe than with your own actions. So fully enjoy these peaceful and prosperous times, indulge in them while they are there, yet don’t take them for granted and expect them to last, as this phase is by definition only temporary.
In the same way, whatever you put your attention on grows. Be aware that, in your garden there are good plants, and there are weeds. Spring and Summer are good times (full of light) which further growth of whatever we focus on. So just be careful, don’t get carried away and water everything in your garden, including weeds, as they will grow just like the rest!
If the garden is an analogy of your mind (your inner garden), weeds will be all the negative emotions that rise up, spread at a fast pace and risk suffocating all the good plants (the positive emotions).
They would be emotions like anxiety, anger, overthinking, excessive sadness, indecision, etc…
These emotions will need to be acknowledged, experienced, understood and accepted but not « cultivated » (watered)…
Make sure you don’t focus too much on them because they will also grow as a result of your focus and of the power of Spring and Summer, and can dominate you before you know it.
Be a good farmer, and know how to differentiate weeds from good plants.
The good plants in the garden would be an analogy of emotions like love, thankfulness, compassion, joy, courage, etc, if you water these you will get a rich and bountiful harvest.