Depending on where you live in the world there are certain months that have always been just plain WET. I grew up in Michigan and live in NYC where both climates are pretty similar. We always like to say “April showers bring May flowers” as we endure soggy rainy days (hopefully not too cold) with the promise of bright Spring blossoms just around the corner.
I recently returned from a week in the Arizona desert and wondered if they had a catchy phrase that exemplified April and May in the desert. During a morning hike with near perfect temperatures, a bright blue sky and blooming cacti wherever we looked, I asked our guide, Leslie, if there was such a phrase. She said “Not that I know of, but maybe we can make one up!” So she came up with “Oh, sweet, April! We know what’s coming next (blistering heat).”
So, whether you are somewhere rainy and cold, or somewhere hot and dry dreaming of a rainy day, it’s as good a time as ever to ponder one of the five elements that are at the core of Ayurveda – water.
From a perspective of the doshas (the three bodily humors in Ayurveda that make up our constitution), Vata (air and ether) is the only dosha without the water element. Pitta dosha is comprised of fire and water and Kapha dosha is comprised of water and earth.
Kapha Season (late winter-spring) and Pitta Season (late spring-summer) are generally the wettest months for folks like me living in the Northern Hemisphere. Some months, like April, more so than others.
But have you noticed that the seasons aren’t as predictable as they used to be? Droughts are happening in areas where rain has always been, or rain that just won’t stop is leading to floods.
Spring has always been about rebirth and renewal. The plants and animals instinctively know this and we do too, but we seem to be losing that connection. And because we are losing our deep and instinctual connection with Mother Nature, we are wreaking havoc on all living things on our planet.
Last week I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended my first real activist meeting with the global online group Avaaz (means voice in many languages). For the past few years I have been fascinated by (and grateful for) this small but powerful group of activists who have successfully used the power of the Internet to unite the voices of millions around the globe and effect real change.
I’ve signed many petitions and donated money over the years to groups such as Avaaz. I’ve marched in rallies for causes near and dear to me. But I’ve never really become active in a serious way. So when I received a personal invitation to attend a small group meeting at Avaaz’s office in NYC I knew that I had to go.
It seemed that many of the people in the room have been doing this kind of thing for a while. I was quiet, mostly listening to what everyone else had to say. In typical fashion, all of my ideas started flowing the minute I was alone. But I did tell the group that at age 60, this was my first real activist meeting and they all applauded!
It was no coincidence that the topic we ended up focusing on was climate change, which had been weighing on my mind as I was writing my newsletter and thinking about water. In spite of all of the reading I’ve done on this subject and all of the documentaries I’ve watched, I was shocked to hear some of the bleak statistics and especially the rapid time frame in which the changes are occurring.
A great deal of the issue of climate change has to do, of course, with water. It’s a precious element that many of us take for granted.
We often forget that our bodies are comprised of roughly 60% water (varies depending on age and sex), and many of us are chronically dehydrated, leading to more imbalances than I can possibly list here.
Dr. Marc Halpern, the founder and President of the California College of Ayurveda has this to say on his website: “Water is the protector of the body. It provides the body with its most basic nourishment. Water protects against the dissolution of the ether element, the roughness and motion of the air element and the heat of the fire element. The water element soothes all pain and inflammation in the body.”
Water is the element associated with our second, or Sacral chakra (energy center in the body).This chakra represents our creativity, our sexuality, our relationships with others, and even our relationship with finances. Water is incredibly healing to all things related to the second chakra.
A shower, cleansing bath, or if you’re really lucky, the ocean, connects us to the water element in Mother Nature, nurturing and protecting us.
- Water calms us and takes us back to our beginnings in the womb
- Water cleanses our body, mind and spirit
- Water nourishes every cell in our body
Last summer I experienced firsthand how the change in our climate is affecting us. I became quite sick from the intense heat and my body seemed unable to properly regulate its temperature. I struggled to stay hydrated. For the first time, I’m actually uneasy about what kind of summer we will have here in NYC this year.
I’ve been a city girl all of my life but in the past few years have developed such a deep and precious love and respect for Nature that sometimes it overwhelms me. I feel incredibly sad and yes, angry, at the arrogance of the human race and how we are destroying our planet – our home. When I see plastic bottles and bags floating in a river, I struggle to understand just how we became so irresponsible. I try to just do my part – not taking plastic bags, minimizing my own trash by composting, and picking up trash along the way.
My little eight-year-old niece, Jenna, came to visit last week with her family. Jenna and I were looking for fairies in the park and I told her that the fairies don’t like litter and that it upsets them that humans are so careless and disrespectful of our planet. Her mother just sent me a message that Jenna’s been picking up trash everywhere since she returned home. Hearing that made my day!
I don’t want my children and my nieces and nephews to live in a world where there are no more April showers to bring May flowers. Or trees to give us shade and oxygen. Oh, don’t even get me started on the trees! Or real food. I know a lot of you are Nature-lovers too and I would love to start a conversation about this topic. If you’d like to join in, please leave a comment below!
P.S. Earth Day is April 22nd. What better day to start getting involved in helping to heal our beautiful planet! Here are some great resources for staying informed: