Today, April 7, 2016 is the Festival of Pure Brightness (Qingming, or Tomb Sweeping Day) in China. It is a three-day festival that is as much about honoring ancestors as it is a way for people to have time to go outside and enjoy the new greenery of spring. There are spring outings and kite flying. When I was a teacher in China, all of my elementary school students made their own kites and went out into the schoolyard to fly them. Since I was in the far north of central China, there was nothing in bloom quite yet, but the worst of winter was over and the majestic willow trees graced the main street. It is customary to hang willow branches on your door during the Festival of Pure Brightness. This has roots in the traditions of Buddhism because Guanyin is pictured sometimes with a vase of water and willow branches in it and this is meant to scare away demons and ghosts.
As we move into seasons of light, it can be beneficial to take some time to reflect on all the people who have come before us who have circled through the seasons of life and, without whom, we would not be here. We carry our ancestral qi (potential) as “jing” in the kidneys and I invite you to drink more water than usual for a few days to ritually cleanse and honor this energy that you carry within you from all generations past. You may be interested in reading my blog posts about foods that nourish the spring body or spring meditation and yoga practices that support the energies of this season. Or, if you are looking for a book that will force you to laugh out loud, then try this one.
A poem in translation by Du Fu titled “Overflowing” (SOURCE)
The moon’s reflected on the river a few feet away,
A lantern shines in the night near the third watch.
On the sand, egrets sleep, peacefully curled together,
Behind the boat I hear the splash of jumping fish.
Sometimes, we need to sweep away areas where we feel stuck or tight. If you are burried under physical, emotional or spiritual clutter, then why not make a personal commitment to spring cleaning by joining my online community called MAKE ROOM? For as little as $8 a month, you will have access to audio and video instructional downloads, a discussion board where you can get support for your de-clutter challenges and learn how to make room in your life for all that desire. There are lots of artists, parents, dreamers, healers and collectors in our community and no judgment. You don’t have to set any goals or feel embarassed about anything at all. The online course starts with meditation instruction and tools for being mindful in everyday life. If you don’t want to clear away clutter or you simply aren’t ready to let go of your can tab collection from middle school, we understand and we want you to keep it for as long as you wish.