Kapha Season: Awakening & Building A Solid Foundation For The Year Ahead
Published By Northern Edge Algonquin on February 20th, 2023 in Edge Insider
Guest Post by Allie Chisholm-Smith:
Throughout Allie’s two decades of teaching Yoga, doing Yoga Massage, Reiki and constant studies in Ayurveda, she has always encouraged people to find self-knowledge and power from within. Her teaching spans from Restorative as deep central nervous system calming, to vigorous explorations into fascial structure and ways of being.
Allie believes that as we study ourselves, we heal ourselves. As we heal ourselves, we heal the earth. She is co-facilitating a number of retreat experiences at the Edge this year!
It started as a slow itch to clean out the junk drawer in the kitchen, then came the shredding of papers, ostensibly to clear out for tax season.
It wasn’t until the visceral wall of fatigue hit me on Sunday that I knew, in no uncertain terms, Kapha season was upon me, and I was cleansing. I was officially in a fog; my normally fiery and clear mind was socked in, and the only way out was time and effort putting into cleaning the house, inside and out.
I’ve heard it said that when a snake sheds its skin, it is blind for a while as the skin travels over its eyes. I was, and currently am, officially blind.
Kapha is one of the doshas or characters in Ayurveda, holding the elements of earth and water . . .
It falls in the shoulder season of late winter and early spring but also daily between 6-10 (am&pm), and it governs childhood. It invites us to create foundation, footings…beginnings. Not only that but in the cleansing, the request is to do it well by using good materials based on a solid plan as opposed to building on an old landfill site.
My body was and is feeling a bit like an old landfill site.
My body, which I so frequently dismiss as inconvenient and inadequate, is currently commanding me to value it, to treasure it as the house of my soul.
This is the vehicle in which my soul will evolve, so I had better get to some good self-care. This is my glorious home, after all.
It is easy to write off the crocus as a fragile, silky and tender flower. It would be easy to dismiss it as temporary, a whimsy perhaps. Until one ponders the journey that it took to get to its blossoming.
I would imagine that sometime in January and February, the restlessness would begin within the bulb, a sense that one must grow beyond the confines of this womb.
In psychotherapeutic circles, we might say that the crocus reaches optimal frustration where it is forced to thin the husk, extend roots into the soil and build an internal strength to make the journey up through hardened soil, ice and even snow.
This delicate flower is borne from an indisputable self-determination whose persistence is mostly invisible. This powerful force, whose final product will bring even the grumpiest curmudgeon to smile, is a force to be reckoned with.
How can the innocence of those petals not bring you joy after a long snowy winter?
This is the work of Kapha.
It is the work of getting started, which always also means shedding and ending old ways of being (bulbs and confines). In terms of systems, in spring, our lymphatic system needs to flush, livers want to exhale, and the plasma wants to slough off the long winter of holding everything in to stay warm!
Have you noticed your yearnings switch from soup to salad in the spring? Have you reached for the ginger root like a manic vulture? Is your skin becoming oily or even breaking out? Hello Kapha!
But let’s take a larger view – back in the days of hunters and gatherers, we lived in a Kapha way of life.
Our days were governed by the cycles of the sun, our planting seasons by the moon.
We were typically shorter (with some exceptions like Masai and Cree), stalkier and more in sync with the earth. Then came the industrial revolution, where Pitta took over. We became competitive, productive and industrious.
We came headlong into power over each other and ourselves!
For the past many decades, however, we have been living in this tech age where none of our main products can be touched (think Google, FaceBook etc). A phone call is too intimate today, and so we favour the delayed reaction of a text message or social media emoticon.
This is the Vata age, where our greatest illnesses circle around anxiety and stress (autoimmune and crippling anxiety). Vata marks the end of cycles, and so, in my biggest hopes and dreams, we will be and maybe already are, starting a new cycle of humanity.
Kapha is awakening.
We are awakening.
The bulbs are growing restless.
This can be seen in our return to craft, from knitting to whiskey. It can be seen in the popularity of shows like Vikings that return us to a time of connection to earthly cycles.
What I feel in this particular year is that Kapha is coming at me like a herd of elephants. It is wide enough that I can’t go around it and terrifying enough that I have to surrender.
There is a cry from deep inside that I cannot negate.
This cry calls for clarity, community and cleansing, inside and out. Even as I write this, I have the shredder filling the bag already bulging with shredded history. Do I need to haul all of this around?
I visualize my liver emptying, like the filing cabinet, of old and no longer useful facts, stories and strategies.
This process insists on solo time to hear my soul.
I need the silent time in the bulb/womb to know what my right action is.
Equally, I need my tribe.
Some of my greatest ‘aha’s lately have been with my friends who listen lovingly, nod and then contribute a nugget of deep wisdom. I literally felt a cornerstone fall into place when Julie mirrored to me, “you are building a school.”
“Yes, I guess I am,” I said.
“Be careful of the Lone Ranger.” My coach Nicki nailed it, as always.
“Who are your allies? Where can you triad to get these projects done and deal with your overwhelm?” I have been building a community platform and a program that is ostensibly a school, and it has been a lot, and yes, I have been playing the Lone Ranger.
Isn’t it ironic that I thought that a community could be created in isolation? Community is a crucial piece in the building of any good structure, particularly if we want it to last longer than a millisecond.
All of this is within the realm of Kapha.
It is a lunar or yin energy that calls us into the quiet of the womb to do some of our fiercest work of building – slinging concrete and stones to make the life that we aspire to live.
Yes, we could keep racing on our hamster wheels, but eventually, we will hit that visceral wall of fatigue. Our bodies will summon us by planting a flu, a cold or something more serious. My body will often stop me through a good fall.
I’ll be running along, unwittingly out of body, and then suddenly, I am eye to eye with the soil, usually with a good gash on my elbow or knee. How is that for a return to childhood, bringing with it a good dose of humility?
We must return.
Each day, we build anew.
Each spring, we build anew.
Each lifetime, we build anew.
And Kapha is the vehicle through which we build.
Listen now. Press your ear toward the earth to hear the work of the crocus as she chews away at the husk to grow her roots long and find her portal toward the sun.
She works best through the community of these spring bulbs, soil and the call of that warm sun. I imagine that, were she cursed with a human brain, she would grow impatient, maybe even despair and give up. It is a long process to get to that brief existence above the ground.
This brief existence that gives so many of us hope, joy and trust that all is starting again.
Let’s do it well today.
Want to join Allie for a retreat at the Edge this year? Check out her upcoming offerings here.
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