In India, spring is celebrated with the festival of colours called Holi! There is dancing and singing, and people have fun throwing coloured paints on each other in the streets. It is a time of fresh enthusiasm and renewed intentions. A social time as we move out of the sedentary, solitary winter, and perfect for organizing a kiirtan or group gathering! We open and burst forth like the spring flowers.
It is also a time of forgiveness and letting go of things past.
The night before Holi, people find things that they no longer need to burn or donate – a kind of spring cleaning. In order to move into the new, we need to let go of the old. Physically, early spring is Kapha and is a time that we need to do extra cleansing to kick out phlegm and ama that have accumulated over the winter. Dig out your neti pot, do some daily kapalabhati this week, and ritually prepare to set a fresh intention for the new year – yes, spring is like a new year’s do-over.
The power of intention (sankalp shakti) is strong, but if we don’t follow through, there is a sense of restlessness or incompletion that lingers. Here’s a step-by-step plan for the next two weeks to set you up for preparing for and establishing a manageable intention.
Step 1: Cleanse! Dedicate a week to cleansing practices and a bit of spring cleaning. Starting this weekend, get up and do Jal neti, and 10-minutes of Kapalabhati. Remember – manageable. You’re only committing to Jal neti and kapalabhati daily for one week to support you in this Kapha season!
Step 2: The following weekend, set aside an hour to spring clean and practice letting go. Have an idea in advance of an area you want to work on – for example, books, old toys, clothes you have not worn in the last year. In that hour, set aside the things to donate or bin and actually get them out of the house, into the car to donate or onto the lawn from someone to pick up.
Step 3: Set a date at the end of the 2 week period to let go of last year’s challenges and step into spring, either alone or with a group. Over the course of this week, note down whatever comes to mind that you want to let go of or move towards.
Step 4: Sit with a candle, and write or draw what you’re letting go of. Hold it in your hand, and chant a mantra three times. I recommend Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah or Om Triyambhakam (the healing mantra). Then in a fire place or metal dish, burn the slip of paper on which you drew what you’re letting go of.
Step 5: Right after this, ritually set your intentions for yourself for this spring and summer with a few manageable steps in mind. Write or draw them out. Declare them to the group or out loud in your sacred space. And finally, do a meditation where you visualize what it will be like to have actualized this intention. What does it feel like. Manifest the energy of this state in you now. If you can visualize it and feel it in your energy system, it is already a part of you!