Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari
Spring: A time for rebirth, renewal and hope
In Chinese culture Spring is the 'marriage' of nature, the 'coming together' of the sky Above and the earth Below. When the rain and sun from Above meets with the fertile soil and seeds from Below it's a precious process. This formation of 'marriage' gives birth to the creation of life, the blossoming and beauty of nature. The flowers, the trees, the plants, the spring smell and feel in the air are all the formation of nature's marriage. For me, spring is also about hope.
We can also see this marriage through the lens of psychotherapy as the Above being our spirit of the soul, and the Below being the matter of our physical body. In that sense, spring is an opportunity to unite the two, to integrate the mind, body and soul. In other words, it is a time to welcome change, to be open to growth and transformation on our journey. In the Kabbalah, ״the aim of the Kabbalist was, and is, to unite the two worlds: the Above with the Below; the invisible divine world with the manifest world...because everything, visible and invisible, is connected״ (Anne Baring, 2013). Spring might be the time for this union.
Here are 5 ideas to support you in the process of inner integration this spring:
1. Explore nature around you. As day light becomes longer and (hopefully) sunnier, make sure you have plenty of time outside to connect with nature. Whether it is a walk in a nearby park, taking the dog out or working in the garden, do it mindfully and intentionally. Be present and fully take-in every moment by connecting with your surroundings and your body, be aware of your senses and of course avoid using your phone, music or any other electronics.
2. Connect with roots. Maybe you can use more roots in your diet and cooking, maybe you can plant some new seeds in your garden. There are many advantages for your body, mind and mental health in eating roots all year around. But at spring it has additional wellbeing benefits linking us to the Earth Below and growth.
3. Think sour. My Chi Kung teacher says this is a good time to eat and drink sour food. A great example is to drink lemon in warm water in the mornings. This clears out the toxins, refreshing our bodies and senses for the day ahead. He also adds that having a hot water bottle over our liver area at night can be helpful too.
4. Time for reflection. Spring is a great time to slow down your pace of living and allow the winds of change to make their transformations. Gently reflect on:
- what you want to allow more of in your life,
- what you would like to let go of,
- what needs to heal,
- what requires your attention this spring
Take a moment in the morning, before reaching out for your phone, to connect with your body, with a sense of gratitude and with your intentions for the day.
5. Be kind. The old saying: "In a world where you can be anything, be kind", reminds us of the choices we need to consciously make to be kind. Kind to our soul, our body, our mind, kind to the people who are closest to us, and kind to strangers as we know nothing about the struggles they may be facing. You can never be wrong when you choose to be kind.
Remember to slow down.
You've got this.
This article was written by couples therapist and parental advisor Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari. With a doctorate in Psychology, Dr Ben-Ari has worked in the field for over 20 years and runs a private clinic in Hampstead, London. She is also an author, speaker, therapist supervisor, founder of The Village (getthevillage.com), and has been the Chair of Imago Relationship Therapy UK since 2013.