Spring Tip #1 Watch the birds
So many of the books that I pick up on outdoor learning start with bird watching. I never really got it. There is so much to notice - why the birds? But this spring, I started to learn more and watch the birds with different eyes. I learned that the beautiful barn swallows migrate to South America during the winter and then back to the farm’s old barn to have their babies. I learned what different owls sound like (look up barn owl) and now I’m familiar with the two great horned owls that reside on the property. I became familiar with how the red tailed hawks navigate the horrible winds we had this spring. But what I started to notice was how they are almost always around and how they prepare for spring in their songs, their gathering, their search for spring morsels. I stared to recognize some individual birds that have their routine and started feeling like I knew who was around me more than I had noticed before. Watching them, sensing the change and the busy spring energy without being busy, a calmness started to arise. Give it a try. Watch the birds.
Spring Tip #2 Be gentle with your thoughts
For those that don’t know this, spring is often a time when people have manic episodes if they are prone to them. Many people separate and struggle in their relationships come spring. Folks often have less patience, less energy, and are more chaotic during spring. Spring is historically a time where people wear their opinions more on their sleeves only for those opinions to become more subtle the rest of the year. Our thoughts are not inaccurate this time of year, they are just louder and we feel pulled to act them out, which might not always be the right solution. My tip is, just be gentle with them. Hear them out but take your time thinking about your next step. Come summer, you might have a different solution. Move slowly as you have time to decide.
Spring Tip #3 Keep it (surprisingly) simple
Humans are funny creatures, where we think if we have a tiny bit of energy, we absolutely need to spend it. It’s almost like we believe we have energy scarcity and we are going to run out at any second. So we spend it faster than we can collect it! And in the chaos we spend energy we didn’t want to spend! Like worrying about things we didn’t need to worry about or fixating on things that didn’t really matter in the first place. Spending time with horses and people in nature, there is a slow and surprisingly efficient speed that begins to take shape. It’s actually quite simple, eat when hungry, sleep when tired, play when motivated, bathe in sunlight (and mud)… and I know our human culture has complicated this but under all our rushing around trying to prove things, we are simple beings too.
Just because you have a surge of energy, doesn’t mean you need to spend it. Indeed, we become stronger when we don’t, when we sit with the wave and let it grow us.
Kaia Livingstone is a psychotherapist who runs a private practice outside of Boulder, CO. She specializes in helping horses and humans bond in order to help them relate and connect on a deeper level as well as heal and grow.