This past week I’ve started many days by walking my daughter to school over puddle covered ice. I’m perfecting my bent knee shuffle. I’m probably developing all sorts of new neural pathways as I unexpectedly slide over even the slightest slope and barely stay standing. I stagger and lurch. But I am buoyed by the sound of birds and happy children that delight in any sort of puddle.
I find this transitional point between seasons with all the ice and puddles especially difficult. But I think I’m learning a few good reminders about transitions too.
My heart is often focused on the work of creating a Just Transition towards an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all its members. In some ways, longing for this future is like longing for summer in the middle of winter. Just like the change in seasons, this change takes time and can be messy.
Last month my qigong teacher, Master Chunyi Lin, made a presentation at a Spring Forest Qigong meeting about the energy of this year. From an energetic point of view he sees the energy for the year becoming increasingly peaceful and balanced, especially in the fall. Yet in the first months of the year, things may feel very volatile, with the energy swinging up and down. He thinks there will be some great breakthroughs during this time and a lot of heart opening. Yet it will also feel chaotic.
Master Lin concluded his talk encouraging everyone to maintain practices that help them keep their heart open. We need open hearts to navigate through the opportunities brought by uncertainty.
I also am embracing my slow, icy puddle spring walks as training sessions for moving through chaotic times of transition. Here is what I’m learning.
Bend Your Knees
This is rule #1 for walking on ice, skating, skiing or anything requiring balance.
What practices will give me a cushion to respond skillfully to things that might throw me off balance?
Take Small Steps
It’s the penguin walk. There is not enough traction for a long satisfying stride. But with a lot of small careful steps, I will get there.
While I long for a big leap forward, what is my next small step?
Go with the flow
While I expect each step to be on firm ground, some steps just keep sliding. I found myself simply sliding down parts of my alley. I have to bend my knees and go with it.
Where else in my life am I trying to take “action steps” yet finding that things are unfolding in their own way?
Walking in these conditions has required intense focus. If I look away from the step ahead of me I am quickly surprised by the ice under my feet. On one walk with my daughter she abruptly huffed “I quit!” No sooner has she thrown this little fit (mainly bluster), did she suddenly find herself sitting on a patch of ice.
How can I maintain my focus and not let myself get thrown off by distractions from within and around me?
Might falling sometimes be the best option?
The other night as I was falling asleep I felt my legs twitching as though they were still scrambling for balance on uneven wet ice. It was as though my body had not completed that movement and was still trying to resolve it before I fell asleep. I wonder if what I really needed was an opportunity to fall rather than hold myself upright at all costs. My daughter made a game of crashing into snow banks and clearly had a lot of fun.
Where else in my life am I spending a lot of energy trying to stay upright? What would it be like to allow myself or things to fall or drop?
Revel in the spring sunshine
The lengthening days remind me that these puddles are really on their way out. The forecast is for a beautiful week here in Minnesota. I’m so excited!
How can I savor and participate in this wonderful swelling of energy for our collective transition to a regenerative culture based on right relationship?
Swell with Spring at the Dance Retreat on Saturday March 23.
Join in the ancient tradition of dancing to help the world come alive in spring. Collective joy is one of our most ancient and powerful sources of healing and transformation. Register now.
Make joy and healing a touchstone in your week
You are welcome to drop in any week to either the Healing Waters Qigong practice group, based in Spring Forest Qigong, or the Wisdom Dances Circle, based in Laura Shannon’s research on traditional dances as tools for healing and transformation.