March 2022 March 07 2022
This is the first instalment of my monthly blog post! The goal of these monthly reflections is to celebrate each season of the year with gratitude and to honour what is special and unique about each passing month. My intention is to provide recipes, rituals and ideas that can help you be present in each season and support your body and spirit through these transitions. I hope these ideas can inspire you to slow down, and think about what your body and mind need as the seasons shift and change around you. With everything going on in this broken world, I hope these little notes can help you take a few moments to refocus your attention back to yourself and your needs. I truly feel that if we take care of ourselves first, we are better prepared to care for others and have a greater positive impact on the world around us.
Before I start, it’s important for me to acknowledge the atrocities going on around the world, in Ukraine where innocent civilians are being killed and witnessing their beloved country being bombed and torn apart. Let’s not forget the ongoing violence and unrest in other places like Yemen, Syria, Somalia and Gaza to name a few. So many people around the world face terrors everyday that many of us can scarcely imagine. It can be complicated to balance feelings of heartbreak for what our fellow humans are living through with our own problems, which can feel trivial in these times. I continue to choose to be mindful of these disparities while working towards peace in my own small ways. Every day we can choose peace and love in our interactions with others, these small acts reverberate far and wide and can have a greater impact than we could ever imagine. Of course, we can also help in concrete ways, by sending money to vetted aid organizations who are working on the ground in these places.
March is a truly transitional time of year, as it ushers out winter. It has always been a strange month for me. In my mind it should be spring, and yet, it is fully winter here on the prairies, with the occasional hint that spring might just be around the corner. March is also a long month, after the shortest month of February. It can feel like it drags on forever while we await the warmer breezes and green shoots of spring.
March brings with it: the Spring Equinox, longer days, melting snow, the first above zero temperatures, icicles dripping off rooftops in the late afternoon sun, slushy puddles, crackly ice, creeks and rivers breaking up, water flowing once again and a definite shift towards spring. But it can also bring epic snowstorms, blustery winds and a feeling that winter is definitely not quite done with us yet.
The spring or vernal equinox falls on March 20 and is an important marker in the pagan wheel of the year. The vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring, the period around the equinox is a time when the day and night are equal in length. It’s a time to dust off the cobwebs and dirt of winter, in our homes and proverbially in our bodies as well. There are many rituals surrounding the vernal equinox, cleaning, sweeping, burning and planting seeds are a few. It’s a time to start fresh, turn over a new leaf, plan for the future and feel energized. We emerge from our winter sleep out into the world again, just like bears from their dens, cautiously stepping out and seeing the sunlight once again. It might be my very favourite of the quarter days (the solstices and equinoxes).
March is a month to continue taking care of ourselves with warm, grounding and nourishing foods like stews and soups while slowly adding in some lighter and brighter salads and more green veggies. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of health and wellness, late winter and early spring are a time to incorporate sour, bitter and warming foods and spices to help our bodies adjust to the wet and heavy transition to spring. Think: fresh lemons, turmeric, ginger, cardamom and bitter greens. Some ideas for a perfect late winter meal might be a chickpea and sweet potato stew spiced with turmeric, cumin and ginger. Top each bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice and the first, thinly sliced radishes, or maybe a handful of microgreens, especially bitter ones like arugula.
An evening cup of fresh turmeric, ginger and lemon tea, with a little spoonful of honey will help ground the body and ready it for a calm night. It’s also excellent for digestion and the turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Simply peel and grate a teaspoon or two of fresh ginger and turmeric root into a mug (wear gloves if you don’t want bright yellow fingers from the turmeric), squeeze half a lemon through your fingers into the mug, to hold back the seeds, then fill with boiling water. Stir in a little honey to taste, and if you need a bit more heat, you can even add a pinch of ground black pepper which also helps with the body’s absorption of the turmeric. If you need something a little more filling before bed, try a golden milk elixir, made with a blend of spices such as dried turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and black pepper, blended in to some warm plant based milk.
One ritual that has become more important than ever for me this winter, has been the simple act of a daily walk with my dog, Pippa. Carving out the time to just walk with her, most often without music or distractions. Even on the coldest, windiest days, we still get out. Pippa and I usually walk the same route, and it allows me to notice the smallest details and changes. There’s a tree I like to stand with at the point where we turn around, and I usually spend a few moments to look up at it and breathe in and out a few times, imagining what it’s seen in its long life. Walking allows me to notice the small corner of the world where I live, and to move my body at the same time. In a way, it’s a moving meditation, and it’s become a very important part of my self care. I’m excited to continue this ritual into spring, and watch the less subtle changes that are about to occur while the snow melts and the green plants emerge once again. Just today, I noticed that what was a small break in the ice on the river yesterday, had tripled in size today. I saw paw prints going to and from this large hole, suggesting the resident foxes and coyotes, whom I’ve enjoyed spotting this winter, are using it as a watering hole.
Lastly, I wanted to mention the importance of a nourishing, natural skincare regime. At this time of year, our skin has gone the longest period of time without adequate hydration. Having a solid regime morning and evening, of cleansing and moisturizing is the key to keeping your skin healthy and happy. Oil cleansing, nourishing lotions and hydrating masks are supportive at this time, and don’t forget to exfoliate once a week to slough off the dry, dead skin and help your moisturizer penetrate deeper into your skin. Check out this amazing new line of Canadian made, all natural skincare from Wildcraft here.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my words. I’m excited to use these monthly posts to help you move through the year with a little more presence. I’d love your feedback on what you’d like to read from me! More recipes? Plant talk? Natural products? Healthy living? Please let me know.
Sending you peace and love.