Yes, of course it hurts.
You’ve heard about coffee enemas right? An expensive cold brew you don’t get to drink. It goes in a different hole. Drinking coffee activates your bowels and improves peristalsis. Why would you…?!?! Never mind, I’ll never understand how this became a trend.
Spring’s got me thinking about bowel movements, pressure, frustration, self-judgment, irritability & anxiety. These are common feelings this time of year, believe it or not. Especially in Maine, we’re behind Alaska as the last to Spring. It’s a sloooow start and I can feel the agitation.
The truth is, spring is uncomfortable. Even if you slept like a champion all winter. Even if you live in a sunny state. Spring is like puberty, it’s awkward. It’s the opposite of smooth, it’s muddy, messy and there's a lot of change happening at once.
The idea of reaching for a “coffee enema” to get your bud to sprout FASTER isn’t what mother nature intended. It's natural to wake up after a long hibernating season NOT feeling “springy & sparkly.” You’re supposed to feel like you just woke up! The key here is to understand you’re in a season and not get swept away trying to “fix” it.
Magazine covers of women frolicking & jumping in spring dresses are designed to get you to buy spring. They know you want to sparkle & shine. And a dress or a brightly colored hoodie (whatever your fashion sense) can give you a boost. But the idea that you roll out of bed spring morning feeling like vibrant pastels is a MYTH. It is myth that does not serve women well.
Spring is a dance, it’s playful, like a game of peek-a-boo. You will get impatient, angry and frustrated if you BLAME yourself for being a “bud” and reach for a “quick fix". Don't make me wave my bright yellow CAUTION sign around, while break dancing, until you STOP and look at me. I will shout, "Embrace your awkward! Don’t miss your emergence".
Doing anything other than nourishing actually causes weakness & atrophy. You become less resilient, more susceptible to disease, more irritable, impatient, critical of yourself and others. Choosing this less natural path forms a habit of swinging from one extreme to the next and making life, which should be a series of natural transitions, more difficult.
Are you ready to live beyond the coffee enema?
Ready to honor your emergence?
Here are my 5 favorite ways to flourish, sparkle & shine - no matter what the season.
1. Take a walk, often.
Over steamy Thai curry, my friend told me (with awesome hand gestures) she actually watched spring come to life! Other years, she’s looked up and there spring was. This year, she told me how much a plant grew each day, which fern’s fronds uncurled and which plants grew in her neighborhood. She took it all in - the smells, colors and essence of spring.
Spring has lit her up, and in return it lit me up.
She figured out how to make time slow down by enjoying the season.
Go for a walk! Get to know your environment. Look up. Look down. Return to the same places every day and mark the changes - nature's emergence. Have a conversation with nature.
Seeing change, makes you resilient to change. Besides, your liver functions better when you’re moving.
2. Clean your house.
This should cause a sigh of relief. De-clutter, shed or minimize, depending on your Feng shui school of thought. First, the surface clean. Then, the deep clean. Then, the ruthless elimination of stuff. Nah, it doesn’t have to be ruthless. But it helps when you’re guided by a vision of who/what/how you want to be.
Another friend recently told me, over the same bowl of curry, that out of “nowhere” she’s madly inventorying everything she owns. She either has to find a home for it, give it away or throw it away. If you find yourself "spring cleaning" naturally, go with it! Though the desire to "clear out the nest" is real, people unfortunately confuse this urge for cleaning out their intestines, hence the coffee enemas. Let's stick to the house.
As a guest teacher for a wellness program that includes this step, I am always amazed when students get to the de-clutter section how much transformation happens from filling double-sized garbage bags with stuff and taking them away. I encourage you to make time for it, even if you take 15 minutes a day until each room is complete.
3. Bend down, eat a green (dandelion) leaf every day you can.
Eating wild food (often) is one of the best ways to build strength, resilience and vigor. Wild food has survived the elements. Weeds have the power to grow through cement. They’ve learned how to adapt in less than ideal habitats. You want wild in your diet!
Eat dandelion because they’re the most easily identifiable weed and they are available in many seasons. There are many edible options on your way from the house to the car or bus, on your walks and along roadsides. If you want to expand your weed diet, google “Herb Walk” in your community. You can also look for herbal medicine that uses “wild crafted” herbs or find a friend that forages. Even organic farming practices have bred nutrition out of plants. Wild foods help you reclaim the highest nutritional content available. They’re also slightly bitter, a taste American palettes have lost. By increasing the amount of bitter in your diet, you naturally lower sweet cravings and change your taste buds to desire more nutrition. Buh bye, willpower!
4. Exfoliate. Scrub the s#%t out of your skin.
This year I slacked on my winter sloughing and I can feel it. It’s like my skin’s not breathing as well and it's less fluid. (This is from someone who spent years skin brushing). The lymph doesn’t have a pump like your heart but movement and flow is equally important. The lymph gets pumped by moving your tissues. I never knew how impactful movement of any kind is, until my partner told me what happens to stroke or TBI patients in the neuro unit. In the rehab hospital where she trains, when someone becomes immobile, even for a day, the body shows signs of breakdown.
Skin brushing moves your lymph for overall health, it’s not superficial. Although the skin smoothing and exfoliating is awesome, the real gig is that you get the benefits of exercise and an overall feeling of wellness. A consistent routine of skin brushing 1-2 times per week is beneficial. It’s especially great after a long day of travel, sitting, or road tripping. If you try skin brushing just be careful what kind of brush you get - not too firm, not too soft.
You can also use a washcloth, “shower gloves,” or a “fascia blaster.” Facia blasting is different than skin brushing, it works to break up fascia but the goal here is circulation, lymph movement and blood flow. I’ve never tried the fascia blaster, but it comes highly recommended for relieving pain, inflammation and cellulite.
5. Get pissed.
There’s a lot to be angry about. But if you’re socialized female, you were taught that anger is dangerous, impolite and not tolerated. You were shamed out of anger.
It’s the shaming of anger that causes problems, not anger itself. In traditional Chinese medicine, spring is associated with the wood element. The wood’s “climate” is windy and the “emotion” is anger. When these two are flowing in harmony, anger comes to pass. How do you let anger pass? The first step is acknowledging it. Anger is a part of every emergence. Before every blooming tree was an agitated sapling. Make this your motto and you can move through anger as it becomes food to grow!
Want some healthy ways to move through anger? Exercise, kickboxing, kundalini yoga, sex, singing (especially angry songs), dance, and poetry. And while we’re in the wood element, the vocal quality is “shout.” There are workshops for this, which is great so you avoid unleashing on others. I haven't seen that be effective on people you love.
Let your anger fuel your passion to take action. My whole business started because I was angry. I was angry that people get sick from food related illness. I was angry that the food system doesn’t care about health or animals, it cares about profits. I was angry because sexism exists in the healthcare system. What are you angry about?
This essay was inspired by my Instagram post “What Stage of Bloom are you in?”
My friend Yasmine responded with this beautiful poem by Swedish poet Karin Boye:
Yes Of Course It Hurts
Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking.
Why else would the springtime falter?
Why would all our ardent longing
bind itself in frozen, bitter pallor?
After all, the bud was covered all the winter.
What new thing is it that bursts and wears?
Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking,
hurts for that which grows
and that which bars.
Yes, it is hard when drops are falling.
Trembling with fear, and heavy hanging,
cleaving to the twig, and swelling, sliding -
weight draws them down, though they go on clinging.
Hard to be uncertain, afraid and divided,
hard to feel the depths attract and call,
yet sit fast and merely tremble -
hard to want to stay
and want to fall.
Then, when things are worst and nothing helps
the tree's buds break as in rejoicing,
then, when no fear holds back any longer,
down in glitter go the twig's drops plunging,
forget that they were frightened by the new,
forget their fear before the flight unfurled -
feel for a second their greatest safety,
rest in that trust
that creates the world.
Blog written by Marcie Goldman. There’s nothing that lights up Marcie more than getting you glowy-good-health. Her work combines functional medicine strategies with nourishing Wise Woman Traditions, a stellar combination she's honed over the last 15 years in her professional one-on-one practice & group programs. When Marcie finally realized she couldn't stop people’s search for the “quick fix," she created Mojo Mastery Month. This popular health makeover program celebrates food, nourishment and your body’s natural ability to heal. She invites you to sample her 7-day program for free including her menu of over 21 recipes!
Don't miss Marcie and a whole tribe of like-minded women at this year's Emerging Women Live event. This October, you can find yourself surrounded with real support, authentic thought leadership and inspiring stories. From the talented Elizabeth Gilbert to Esther Perel on sex and Sera Beak on spirituality, it's an integrative experience you won't want to miss! Register today!