Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Veriditas - The Greening of Spring ...

Hi everyone! It's finally Spring - the time of greening.

11th century German Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, one of the most respected ecologists of her time, called the greening of spring, veriditas, (or, viriditas), which translates from the original Latin as a partnering of green and truth.

Other writers have defined veriditas as spiritual and physical health, freshness, vitality, fertility, fecundity, fruitfulness, growth, and the healing greening power of Nature or God. Science fiction writer, Kim Stanley Robinson, uses the term to mean "the green force of life, expanding into the Universe".  And yet another definition is, "the divine freshness that makes human creativity and fruitfulness possible".

Regardless the later definitions or descriptions, Hildegard of Bingen felt that we humans are each fertile "earth" with our own "moistness, verdancy and germination power". She believed that we are all co-creators, containing the juice of creation within our souls. Her primary message to us all was to stay juicy, wet, green and moist so we can blossom and flourish, fight injustice, heal the earth, help others, and save the cosmos.

So, what can Hildegard's wise words say to us today? And how can we apply them to our own lives this Spring? After a long, cold, hibernation-brown period of winter, (or a time of unbalanced living or a period of compassion fatigue, itself), we all need some of the veriditas of Spring. We need to be brought back to life, to make ourselves "juicy, wet, green and moist" again so our work and our lives can blossom.

The first step toward reclaiming our aliveness is to make an assessment of the parts of our lives that are tired, brown and dessicated. Where do you need a little greening - in your physical life, your emotional life, your spiritual life, your relational life, your financial life, your work life, your creative life, your artistic life, your social life, your parenting life, your recreational life, your life in your home? Once we have determined where the dry places are, there are millions of individual options for encouraging our sap to rise. Here are a few greening possibilities that others have shared - if you have some more, please add your own.

1.  Go outside in the newly longer days. Do whatever you can out of doors. Soak in the longer hours of light. Move your exercise outside again. Feel the March winds on your face. Walk in the grass with your bare feet.
2.  B-r-e-a-t-h-e deeply of the spring air, noticing the scents of daffodils, cherry blossoms, rain, freshly mown grass and laundry airing on the line.
3.  Open your windows and listen to the birdsong - a sign of new life!
4.  Revamp your diet to include more locally-grown fresh fruit and vegetables. Try a green smoothie to boost your energy and stabilize your blood sugar.
5.  Spring clean - yourself and your environment. Out with the old and in with the new. Get a pedicure or a massage. Try a new haircut or make-up. Cull your wardrobe. Buy a new T-shirt. Wash the windows. Sew some fresh and simple cushion covers. De-clutter the shed or garage.
6.  Plant a garden that will feed your soul but not overwhelm you with weeds and work.
7.  Get up with the sun and spend your first half hour in quiet stillness - meditate, pray, be.
8.   Sit outside with a cup of tea and your journal. Write about your needs, your feelings, your dreams, self care, self intimacy, self nourishment. Create a gratitude or memory journal.
9.  Think of the things that make you happy and practice taking in the good several times a day.
10.  Do something creative every day. Write. Paint. Do woodwork. Quilt. Sing. Play an instrument. Dance. Film a video. Make pickles or bread. Arrange flowers.
11. Read something inspirational every morning and every night.
12. Laugh out loud - a big, belly-shaking, tear-stirring kind of laugh - at least once a day.
13. Spend time with people you love and tell them you love them.
14. Learn to live within your means and see a financial consultant to plan for your financial security.
15. Get sufficient sleep at night. 
16. Have regular, deep, thoughtful, transparent conversations about the things that matter.
17. Move your body whenever you can. Don't just sit - get up and move around. Stand up to do activities you might normally do sitting down. Exercise during TV commercials. Turn off the TV and go for a walk.
18. Make appointments for your medical and dental checkups and for a mental health tune up. 
19. Take a parenting class even if you've been a parent for a long time. There's so much great new information to learn.
20. Take a spring vacation with your partner to rejuvenate your relationship.


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