Unseen by anyone, though the deepest days of winter are present, the sap begins to rise in the trees in February. By the end of the month, the maples will be tapped for the sap to begin running, making the syrup that reminds us of the Valentine sweets. We all have heart-sap running deep, waiting to rise. When heart and mind work together, we call it intuition. This is the time to let you feel that process.
Old ideas or habits may keep you from trusting yourself and your ability to perceive your own needs and find your own answers. Learning to use heart and mind together can be daunting in a society that values scientific proof above most everything. In the movie “The Karate Kid”, a bonsai master hands a young boy a tree and pruning shears. Concerned, he asks what he should do, not wanting to damage the tree. He is told to look at the tree, to focus, and to cut away what doesn’t look like the tree. Surprisingly, the results are pleasing to him and to the master. Ours can be likewise.
Anciently, February was celebrated with a feast of purification. From that tradition came the country custom of cutting fence posts from dead wood, trimming grapevines, and pruning trees during this period. For us, it’s a great month to focus on finding and eliminating the deadwood in our lives. Pruning involves evaluation, determining the value of every branch, and foreseeing the potential for productive growth by removing whatever is unnecessary. Too much clutter makes inspiration difficult. Look at your life and at the shape you’ve decided you want it to take. What doesn’t “look or feel like” that life? So often we believe we have a goal or intent, but honest evaluation may show us that we actually spend our life energy in very different directions. Does what you are doing reflect your knowledge of who you are and where you are going?
February is always associated with Valentine’s Day. Like the winter holidays, we want someone to share the time with, and may have expectations too great to be fulfilled. Learning to listen to our hearts is a difficult process. There is definite sweetness in companionship, but unless there is an inherent capacity for joy within ourselves we can’t form lasting relationships with others. Maple sap drips slowly into the tapers pail. We find our sweetness the same way, a drop at time. Filling our emotional bucket starts deep, rising and filling out slowly as we have the warmth and light of trusting our own feelings.
Forcing ourselves into situations or relationships that don’t “feel” right violates our identity, numbing our ability to feel in the future. Filigree flower essence is a tool for gaining perspective; gentian and self-heal can support us in moving through disappointments. Asking yourself how it would feel to trust your feelings can be a great revelation. Try it!
It is difficult to feel inspired when we’re tired, cold and sluggish. The earth in February is cold, wet, and gray and it is an extra effort to get our bodies moving. Massaging the center of the forehead can stimulate blood flow to the pineal gland and other organs in the head, helping you to think more clearly. Take a long walk in crisp, cold air just to let your mind wander. Recognize that your sap is still rising, and encourage that with gentle, flowing, stretching exercises. Add classical dance movements to everyday activities to feel the movements of the muscles in your arms and legs.
Excerpt from Leaves for the Tree of Life
a woman’s guide to integration of body, heart and mind.
By Kim Welborn and Dianne Murray