Planting the Seeds

There is something so magical about the Spring Equinox.

From balancing eggs on one end to the ever-uncertain weather, Spring in the Midwest US is a time of potential. We could still have snow, or it might reach 70 degrees tomorrow. In many ways, this uncertainty can feel agitating. At the same time, there is a hope in our hearts, thawing from the permafrost of the Dark Time and moving us toward the increasing light.

(Yes, I know it is the Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. Stay tuned to the end of this post, written especially for you readers down under...)

When large public rituals were still my thing, the Spring Equinox ritual was filled with young girls and marigolds and lots of dirt to be swept up after everyone else went home. Here, it is too early to plant seeds in the ground -- the risk of frost and snow still too great. But there is some catharsis is playing with dirt, digging our hands into fertile soil and knowing that this is the place ideas are born.

For this week's personal ritual, I want to bring together the potential of Spring (or Autumn!) and the commitment we make to our writing.

Here are the items you will want to gather: * Your journal or other notebook * Writing tools -- as simple as a pen, or as creative as crayons, markers, or colored pencils * A place you can sit and look out the window, or a comfortable spot outside * 15 minutes of uninterrupted time (or at least mildly uninterrupted) and a timer (phone will do)

Find a place to sit, and don't worry about if it is on the exact day or time of the Equinox. This energy radiates for while, and you can tap into it as you are ready. Set the timer for 5 minutes, and open your notebook. At the top of one page, write boldly:

THESE ARE MY DREAMS.

Begin a list of the things you want to manifest in the coming months when it comes to your writing. This might be the first draft of a novel or memoir, an essay collection or a body of poems. It might be as simple as posting to your blog twice a week. You might dream of winning a writing contest, or picking up three new projects for clients. These dreams can be anything, but most important for this exercise is that they are uncensored. Do not think about the steps to achieve these dreams, yet. Simply go big and wild and find the audacity in your possibility.

When the timer goes off, stop writing. You can repeat this as many times as you choose, on as many areas of your life as you want. For now, focus on the writing dreams. Set the timer for another 10 minutes, pick up your writing tools, and on a new page write:

THESE DREAMS ARE POSSIBLE.

Choose three of your wild and creative writing dreams, and divide this page into three boxes -- one for each dream. In each box, begin listing some steps or practices you can implement to make these dreams possible. The thing about Spring is that, no matter what we plant in the ground, without some care and cultivation -- which includes light and water and warmth and the trimming back of weeds and dead branches -- it will not grow to it's full potential. Our dreams are the same. We can plant the seed of possibility and hope in our hearts, but without acknowledging that there is work involved, they just remain seeds of dreams. Jump between the boxes, or fill them one at a time. If the timer sounds and you have an empty box, fill it. It is more important to get out the first steps of achieving a dream than to worry about fitting into a space of time.

Lastly, before you get up and leave this space you have created for your dreams and their becoming, choose one thing from your three boxes of action steps that you can do today. Big or small, one action that you can take to cultivate the seeds of your dreams into the most beautiful blossoming of your own becoming.

Rise from the space you have been occupying. Tuck away your things if you need to, and before bed, check back in on your one task. Did you complete it? If so, take a moment to write about how accomplishing this feels. Didn't make it in today? Set a goal of completing it tomorrow, and forgive yourself. Compassion is the most important tool and emotion for achieving our dreams. Without compassion, we cannot support our tender hearts enough to fully reach through to our potential. In compassion, we find the nutrients our soul needs to thrive.

Living in the Southern Hemisphere, and stepping into Winter? Now is the time of great fertile darkness, when our hearts and minds tend to sink inward. We travel deeply into the curious places of our soul. As you are considering your dreams for writing the next few months, acknowledge that this is a time of reflection. Of renewal. Of stepping into the unknown and trusting that the answers we receive are the messages our heart needs.

When moving into phase two, and looking at concrete action steps, be gentle. Accept that things move in the Dark Time at their own speed. We cannot rush them, much as we might wish. Your one thing for today might be to have a cup of tea without any distractions, or to light a candle on the mantle or bed stand while you relax. Allow your words to percolate in you, because when the time is right, they will emerge. And the world will hear you.

I would love to hear about your one action step for today, and about all your dreams for the coming months. Leave me a note below!