On Monday March 20, at 6:20 a.m. EST, the northern and southern hemispheres of planet earth are equally illuminated. This marks the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere and the autumn equinox in the southern hemisphere.
It’s a day of equal balance of the hours of light and dark before the sun continues its journey towards longer daylight hours and warming temperatures in the northern hemisphere.
The equinox energy is strong for four days before and after March 20th, giving us time to bask in the opportunities and lessons it brings.
Where I live, in Michigan, it’s still gray and dreary, and it’s snowing as I write this. But a few days ago I saw a red-winged blackbird, and local lore says they come back when spring is just around the corner. So I took heart!
WHAT THE SPRING EQUINOX MEANS
Ancient cultures throughout history have celebrated this time of rebirth of Mother Earth. But what does it mean for us?
As a teacher of meditation, I’m always perplexed when I find people who don’t want to try meditation, because the benefits are so enormous. I finally realized that it may be that some meditation myths are holding them back.
So I’d like to address them here:
The 9 most common Meditation Myths
- It’s hard
- I can’t stop my mind entirely
- It takes too long
- I have to sit on a pillow in the lotus position
- I have no time
- I’m not calm enough to meditate
- I’m not spiritual enough to meditate
- It will take years to reap benefits
- It’s a religious practice
None of the above is true, but let’s address them one at a time:
I’m an imperfect practitioner of decluttering. I try, but it’s hard. Which today raised these questions in my mind: Are we our things? Do our possessions define us?
For some, the answer may be yes. I think that was true of me for many years.
But perhaps the “things” evoke memories and teachings that go far beyond the physical representations.
I’m much less attached to stuff than I used to be, but I still struggle with my annual decluttering extravaganza.
What does our stuff mean to us?
When people walk into my home, they can see indigenous art from all over the world. It’s clear what I love, what speaks to me.
And what would happen if I lost them all? I’d be sad, but not devastated because it’s the spiritual practices behind these things that give them their beauty in my eyes. And that is something that can stay with me.
“Start before you’re ready” may be the best advice I’ve ever gotten.
As a child I was afraid to start any undertaking, for fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.
Afraid of failing.
I think a lot of people can relate to that, and it causes us to be overly cautious about taking risks or starting work or projects that would make our hearts sing, if it weren’t for the fear.
“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” ~ Miles Davis
We’re taught to be cautious and afraid, by parents who, in trying to protect us from disappointment, discourage us from pursuing our dreams.
From schools that grade us and humiliate us for not meeting their standards.
But taking risk is how we learn, grow and succeed.
The concept of making “new year’s resolutions” has been a bit of a joke in our society for about as long as I can remember — the joke being that people never follow through so the “resolution” will never come to fruition. And for reasons that escape me, very few people talk about the key to success, which is “goal setting.”
And that’s a shame because the start of a new cycle [of anything, not just a year] is a chance at a new beginning.
How often in our lives have we wished for a “do over?” Well, we can “start over” any old time. And setting specific goals, instead of making resolutions, is an excellent way to do it.
But you have to know the right steps.
The reason resolutions don’t work is that they’re just words and don’t include a plan. Research has shown that after six months, less than half of people who made New Year’s Resolutions have stuck to them; after a year, less than 10%. Why? Because they had no plans.
Goals, however, entail a plan and focus on action!
“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
~ Alan Cohen