This weekend was Persian New Year, which marks the first day of spring. Although Norouz has always been a big celebration in our family, it’s only recently, since I’ve come to appreciate the power of aligning with nature, that I’ve truly begun to appreciate what our New Year means and why it makes so much sense. As a child, I understood that it marked the first day of the Persian calendar, and I’d have to explain to people why I was celebrating new year in the middle of March. Increasingly, though, I find myself thinking that it makes complete sense to celebrate the new year on the first day of spring, and instead wonder what on earth there is to celebrate on the first day of January, in the middle of bleak midwinter.
Spring is a season of transition. Nature shows us the way – as always – with animals starting to wake up from their winter hibernation, and the trees starting to blossom, starting their journey towards giving fruit in the summer. There’s a little robin outside my window who’s been diligently making her nest for the last few weeks, popping out of the bush every few minutes to pick up another twig or leaf. She, too, is preparing for transition. She’ll be a mama again soon.
For me, personally, spring is when I awake from my own winter hibernation. I’ve not written for the blog in three months, and that’s largely because winter isn’t a time of creation for me, but a time for deep conservation of energy. But as the days get longer and the trees show me the way, I start to get moving again. New ideas. Writing. More vigorous exercise. It’s also the time to think about my personal goals and reflect on my intentions for the coming months.
It’s been a very difficult year for a lot of people. For some, the thought of springing into action (pardon the pun) might seem just too much. But I think that this transition isn’t necessarily about achievement. Sure, if you have specific goals in mind, now might feel like a good time to work towards them. But if you don’t – or if you’re simply too exhausted – then the intention of this post isn’t to make you feel like you should be doing something more. Goodness knows we throw enough of those expectations on ourselves. But perhaps this transition season can represents something different for you. Perhaps it could be about opening up to possibility. To turning towards the light and letting it recharge your batteries. Taking your cue from nature, which teaches us that nothing can be rushed. Just as the blossoms bloom in spring and the leaves fall in autumn, things will happen when the time is right, as long as we nourish ourselves and take care of our own energy.
In the physical practice of yoga, we talk about the pose not being the destination. There’s a lovely quote, I believe by Dr. Jigar Gor, that ‘yoga is not about touching your toes; it is what you learn on the way down.’ As a transition season, I think that spring is the epitome of this sentiment. If the goal was simply the fruit borne by the tree, then we’d miss the beauty of the blossoms.
So, as I start to think about my own goals and plans, I’m mindful of also immersing myself in the present journey. Not thinking of everything as a stepping stone to an achievement that’s currently beyond reach, but understanding that the present experience is the only thing that is actually real – and so making sure that I choose my steps along the way in a manner that serves me now as well as serving me in the future.
I love journaling at the change of the season. If you’d like to reflect on some of the above for yourself, then here are some journaling prompts that might get you started:
- What do I most need right now?
- Spring is about growth. Where in my life would I like to grow? Self-care? Relationships? Work? What can I do to foster my own development in this area?
- Is there anywhere in my life that feels it has come to a natural transition? What are the paths available to me? What’s holding me back?
Yoga people love to break out a bit of Rumi, but since he was one of the great Persian poets, I think I’m allowed this time. I leave you with a quote that really speaks to me:
“We began as mineral. We emerged into plant life, and into the animal state, and then into being human, and always we have forgotten our former states, except in early spring when we slightly recall being green again.” – Rumi
Happy Persian New Year. Happy spring. May this transition be full of wonder.