Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ah! Spring!

Granted, it's just as chilly today as it has been for the past few days, but tomorrow's high is going to be around fifty. It's a lovely thought, even if it doesn't happen right away, the warmer weather is finally coming. We've hit the lotto on sunny, end-of-winter days out here on Cape Cod, though. I don't think I've seen a sunnier, more cheerful end to winter, to be honest! We've had minimal snowy, rainy or cloudy days these past two or three weeks. Sure, it's been windy, down right gusty some days, but the sun's been there to remind us that soon we'll all be complaining that it's too hot. *^_^* Ha!
Especially in my house! All throughout this frigid winter we've turned the heat on in one, closed off room only (though I did have a few nights when I had to keep my heat on in my room no higher than fifty-five for the lack of another body in my bed.) Sweaters are a wonder in our house. Even better? Soft, cuddly robes over sweaters with some sort of booty-socks to keep every inch of our skin covered. This practice we've adopted is great for our budget and the environment, not to mention showing the electric company that we do just fine with little of their intervention, thank you very much.
Here's the rub: venturing out to places of business or friends' or relatives' homes has been taking its toll on Auntie. She seems to have the worst time adjusting to the heated buildings. Though Uncle and I have our share of requests to "turn the heat down a little," poor, poor Auntie flushes, almost swoons and often must take herself to the door, sometimes requiring a step outside for cool air before she can rejoin the fun. *U_U* I feel that I can adjust well. I prefer the cool air to true cold or true heat. Lukewarm is fine with me.
My point? The heat is coming. Spring and Fall are the easy favorites in this household. We're all creative and active enough to get out there and enjoy the weather, but once it hits "too hot" or "too cold," we retreat to the inner sanctum and laze about the house, finding other ways to enjoy the weather without being in the thick of it. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Sissie's apartment complex has a pool.
Equinox's and Solstice's bring sweats at my Anam Cara's sanctuary. Her husband was grand enough to build her a modernized (plastic tarp to keep the heat in; strong, plastic piping to keep the form; resilient canvas for the "roof" protecting the structure, rocks and sweaty people inside from the outer forces of nature), Native American sweat lodge. He's a marvelous man anyway, but he takes responsibility for the upkeep and function of the lodge, too. Before sweats, he builds the fire on a pile of rocks varying in size and shape. That fire needs to go for the majority of the day; at least four hours! He tends the fire and rocks as Anam Cara readies the vat of water, bough for sprinkling the water, lavender and other herbs for scenting the sweat and other spiritual purposes, centering herself and cleansing herself and space for the safety and enjoyment of all attendees. Once we've all arrived, but before we enter, each member of the sweat is smudged [which means that our chakras/auras/energies/whatevers are cleared of negative energies and opens our chakras up to healing, positivity or whatever other good things one hopes to gain from the experience of the sweat] with sage, sweetgrass, incense or other forms of Air Element-related cleanser. We enter the lodge one by one, because that's the size of the door, not for any other spiritual purpose. (Anam Cara is a very relaxed practitioner who welcomes all for of spirituality into her sanctuary (My Secret Garden in Mashpee, MA), as long as you are respectful of others.) When we have all settled into our spots (cushions on the ground with enough room between each of us that we can lay down if the heat becomes too much, but not enough for us to leave), Anam Cara's hubby-helper comes in with a metal basket of hot rocks, glowing red and carefully empties them into the circle of stones in the center of the lodge. He retreats, and Anam Cara soaks the bough with water, then sprinkles it onto the rocks, pulsing with heat. They hiss like snakes and steam emerges. She continues with the water until we've hit a satisfactory temperature, only sprinkling again when the heat begins to subside.
It's a glorious feeling! Usually, we'll keep the lights out and talk. Last night, we dedicated the first round to healing and offered up names of those who are in need of a little extra help from the cosmos, Great Mother, surrounding spirits, guardians angels, etc. Breathing deep, I filled my lungs with the hot steam and felt it course through my veins to the tips of my fingers and toes. When I sweat, my mind wanders, but less outward. More inward. Inward thinking and feeling brings me to my Self. The Self I hide from everyone, including myself in day to day life. I breathe in the moment. I live in the moment. I exist in the moment.
I exist.
I love sweats for this reason. Last night's experience enhanced my feelings of being especially. I'm uncertain as to why the trees loomed more glorious when I emerged from the heat into the cool, new Spring evening air. Why the Sky's hue was glowing blue likened to the color of my favorite moonstone ring; the one that makes my eyes feel brighter just gazing at it. Why it felt immensely greater to be alive last night, when most days and nights I simply move through the paces. Being alive was never so full of wonderment as it was last night, and it has carried through to today; hopefully beyond. But living in the moment, feeling my body adjusting to the temperature, feeling the chilling effect of the ground on my feet when the rest of me expelled foreign toxins through my skin, it was...
For years, I've listened to spiritualists and enlightened friends recall instances of self and existence. All without fully understanding. Not only could I not understand what they had gone through because I wasn't them, but I couldn't understand because I had never been in the moment.
My mind wanders, you see.
It could all be part and parcel of being an Air sign.
I might just be flighty.
Whatever the reason, I don't ground well, so my experience of the now has always been punctuated with thoughts of the future or memories of long past. Not really the now. Not truly feeling myself. The Self I find when I sweat.
Though I didn't concentrate on healing or praying or meditating, as such, I feel that I realigned my Self with the Universe. I was all out of whack, and last night, the Spring Equinox, Ostara, for some reason clicked me back into place. I've been wondering if I would ever have one of those awakenings. You know? The kind that change people. The kind of awakening that helps people realize what they want, helps them plan the path of being and happiness and wholeness and helps them become exactly who they are meant to be; not just who they want to be.
I have a lot of energy that is waiting to be tapped. Or so I've been told.
Yeah, I think it's one of those kinds of awakenings.
Welcome, Spring! What's in store for me, now? What seedlings peek through their snowy blanket for me to discover as the ice melts and the Wheel turns?

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