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Ah, Spring (with a cherry on top)!

Don’t you just love the early signs of spring?  Daffodils, pink cherry trees, birds chirping in the mornings?  This year, I believe I’m seeing more cherry trees than I’ve ever seen… which got me to think about why?  Do cherry trees have some special message for us?  Probably, yes, they do!

Cherry conjures up thoughts and times of sweetness, love and harmony.  Makes me think back to childhood and those delicious cherry Life Saver candies or a chocolate fudge sundae with a bright red cherry on top!

Cherry trees are among the first trees to notify us that spring is coming.  Their sweet and fragrant blossoms announce that sweetness is returning to our lives.  WOW!  What perfect timing to see so many of these beautiful trees, now that a vaccine is helping us begin to eradicate the dreadful COVID-19 disease!  Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing, and we are slowly and finally being allowed to consider a little normalcy in our lives.

Happy thoughts about cherry trees began over one hundred years ago when Japan gave 3,000 cherry trees to the U.S. in 1912 as a symbol of friendship.  Then in 1965, another 3,800 trees were gifted to our country despite the tragic events of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.  This symbolic gesture of friendship, through gifts of cherry trees, reminds us to release past grievances and to move forward with good intentions. 

So now might be a good time to set new intentions for ourselves, to be more mindful and to bring present moment awareness to both inner and outer sensory experiences.  For instance, did you know that being in the presence of trees (aka “forest bathing”) can actually lower your heart rate and blood pressure?  In his new book, Keep Sharp, Dr. Sanjay Gupta cites that this practice of “forest bathing” also lowers the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and increases our natural killer immune cells.

The unfolding rhythm of nature is so healing and life-affirming.  Stepping into nature’s flow helps restore balance to our nervous system and makes it easier to be more grateful, to maintain better perspective during tough times, to release rumination and worry, and to connect with our own capacity for resilience, creativity and love.

3 ways to step into nature’s flow:

Begin a new mindfulness practice for spring-cleaning your brain.

Step out in nature and catch a glimpse of the cherry trees before their blossoms transform into green lusciousness.

Clear out the “COVID air” and let the fresh air of spring, sunshine, and yes, even a little pollen come into our homes and lives.

Gotta love spring and all its meaning… and those sweet cherry trees!

 

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