Have you been feeling the energy of Spring around you these past few weeks? For some, you might be completely surrounded by it, or for others, you might be only just now beginning to notice it's whispers. What does it smell like around your home? Are you hearing any new bird sounds? Noticing any flashes of green around you? It can be such a magical experience to watch the world wake back up bit by bit.
Here, in Ottawa, we've still been getting small sprinkles of snow and chilly evening breezes that gust through my open window near my bed. I only just noticed today a small patch of plants that are poking out from the ground, and I gasped at their resilience. I've been finding myself incredibly humbled by the non-linear process of this Spring emergence. One day it's still freezing and it feels like Spring isn't even close to being here, and the next day the sun is shining and there are new bugs flying in the air. The day after the Spring Equinox, I was feeling all funny with how optimistic I'd been feeling with thinking "okay, it's time to get my butt in gear, and start doing the things!", but looking outside and it was miserable and sleepy and cold, but right in that moment a butterfly landed on my window sill (the same as the image above, except this is a much better photo a mourning cloak then the one I took 😉), and I was reminded of the nuance of growth. The both and, of it all. That yes there can be absolutely no "sign of life" on the ground, yet there can be a new butterfly exploring it's new wings, flying in the air. That "emerging" doesn't have to all happen at once, and in a perfect order of sometimes arbitrary steps. That it's not one big flash and it's suddenly happened. There are unanswered questions and incredible clarity, all at the same time. There is grief and sadness still to be felt and hope and passion to be explored, all at the same time. It's messy and beautiful, all at the same time.
So, this brings us to the first theme of our Spring season: emergence. A few weeks ago, I shared some words on how to begin to explore this word and embody its' essence into your body. I'd encourage you to take a listen to the Emerge - Part 1 podcast episode if you haven't yet, where I shared a reading called The Butterfly and the Cocoon, and my thoughts on the beautiful nuance, ease, and flow that I think can be so valuable around emerging out of a cocoon, and stepping towards the things that you'd like to create and explore this season.
I've been thinking about the reading The Cocoon and the Butterfly a lot these past few weeks, and really allowing myself to listen to the anger I feel around the single-note lesson emulated in its' story. Anger I know might seem like a very strong emotion, but anger, I believe, is a really valuable emotion to be listened to. You know, I have to be honest, when I shared the words of the reading, I actually changed the gender of the main human in the story. The original story, the human is a man, but when I read it, the feminist in me thought "why is it always a man, let's change this, so it can be a woman for once." But you know what I've realized since then? If we switch it back to the human who tries to "help" the butterfly to being a man, the conversation around the conflict of masculine versus feminine energy in the right way to reach goals, becomes incredibly apparent and fascinating.
Let me tell you how I interpret the story: The human man in the story represents the masculine energy (and I'm not saying that masculine equals "man", I'm saying that masculine energy is an energy whether it be in the body of a man, a woman, or someone who identifies as non-binary), and the butterfly represents the feminine energy. A beautiful way of comparing masculine energy vs feminine energy is masculine being knowledge and feminine being knowing. The masculine energy in the story simply comes, barrels through, and thinks it knows what is best, and ignores the feminine energy's wisdom and knowing of what emerging out of it's cocoon on its own terms and at its own pace should be. The butterfly knew best. That alone should have been honored.
That is how I have been wanting to embody the energy of a butterfly this Spring: giving myself permission to emerge out of my cocoon on my own terms and at my own pace. Creating boundaries around the external influencers (whether that be on social media, or system's and society's influence, or people in my sphere) trying to convince me of how fast or how big my life and journey should be. That the dreams and goals I have for my life can absolutely be acted upon now without them having to look as flashy and perfect as I've been convinced to believe.
Okay, what do I mean by that?
There are quite a few dreams I have that I'd like to emerge into in my life, as I'm sure do you! You've done a beautiful job of embodying the energy of the cocoon this past Winter and all the deep, quiet, slow, and dreamy growing that happens within that container. I'm sure you've been lit up by some intentions that make your whole body feel alive. It can be very easy to become wrapped up, however, in external influences telling you how big and amazing that final goal should look like.
That if your dream is to feel healthy, that the only way to be healthy is to be thin, eat no carbs/sugars/fat, and your exercise routine is filled with power, endurance, and discipline.
Or, if your dream is to feel more connected to the outdoors, that the only way to do that is to hike 10km, up a mountain, with the best MEC gear on, and take super cool pictures at the top of the mountain.
Or, if your dream is to connect more with your creative/artistic side, that the only way to do that is to sacrifice your desire for financial security, turn your back room into a full-on art studio, and be incredibly depressed in order to create meaningful art.
Okay, I know that all sounds a bit ridiculous when you read it like that, but have you ever noticed yourself feel stunted to walk towards a goal because of these false "shoulds" you've convinced yourself to believe? Those statements above are all one version. They are all shoulds that other people have decided, are the only version that matters. So, it can be very easy to get discouraged, overwhelmed, and feel defeated. Your dreams, desires, and intentions are valid, important, and deserve to be paid attention to. Those dreams that you are attracted to, that light you up, intrigue you, and make your whole body feel tingly are worthy of being invited into your world, right now. You are allowed to emerge out of your cocoon, and into these difference versions of you at your own pace and on your terms. It doesn't have to look like the final version that is all put together and "perfect."
You are allowed to have a yoga practice that only comprises of breathing and finding stillness on your yoga mat.
You are allowed to feel healthy by taking the small but impactful decisions to drink a bit more water or take a 5 minute walk on your lunch break.
You are allowed to feel more connected to the outdoors by opening your window every morning and taking three deep breaths of fresh air into your body.
You are allowed to feel more connected to your artistic side by buying yourself a pack of crayons from the dollar store and colouring in a used notebook in the evening in front of the TV.
You are allowed to spread your wings, darling.
So, how can you begin to embody this idea of emerging out of your cocoon on your own terms and at your own pace?
Well the way in which we explore this on the mat this week is by taking it pretty literally: exploring different iterations and variations of butterfly pose. You will have the opportunity to choose different variations that feel right for you, and notice what moving at your own pace on your mat might look like for you. This theme isn't something we can all figure out in one week. This is only the beginning.
We are in no rush, and we're doing this at our own pace, together.
This week on YouTube -- You will be guided through a cozy & accessible yoga practice that explores the essence and variations of butterfly pose, a hip opener. This class is filled with hip mobility, strengthening, and stretching, with lots of modifications and variations to support you along the way. Consider this your gentle easing into the brighter energy of Spring.