Spring Zen

Getting Real With Lisa Van De Graaff

In Oriental Medicine’s Five-Element Theory, it is the time of Wood. Wood is our inner planner and decision maker. When we feel the desire to plan our summer garden, sketch our dream home, make a ‘to do’ list, lay out a weight loss plan, or search the Internet for good deals on a family vacation, it is the Wood Element at work. Go with it – this is the time to indulge in the brainstorming and planning (and then the summer fire will have something with which to work).

Consider the tree. It stands firm and strong and planted, yet it sways in the wind. It has to be flexible or perish. So is the quality of our Wood Element – It is as flexible as it needs to be and no more. Yet within that structure, Wood is carefree in its optimistic preparations for the coming year, and there is a soulfulness that presents itself intensely and deeply. Allow yourself to set your boundaries with others and then fantasize about all you will do with the time that is your own.

When out-of-balance, the Wood Element manifests itself as neck and shoulder strain, migraines, anger, frustration, and shouting. There can be a tendency to over-indulge in stimulants and depressants (coffee and a sugary pastry to wake up, alcohol and a fatty dinner to slow down). When these things happen this spring, take a moment to see them for what they are and then nurture your Wood Element. It can be as simple as taking a moment to appreciate nature – The budding tree outside your kitchen window or the resilient tulips pushing their way through a late snow. If you are ready for something more significant, try a fast to cleanse your gallbladder and liver by cutting out refined sugars and saturated fats for one week. For an even deeper gallbladder cleanse, squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a cup of warm water and drink once a day for 7-10 days.

Spring is an auspicious time to begin work on manifesting your life’s vision. Dream big!

Crafts with Kids

Spring into Spring with a Easy to Make Wreaths

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

If you’re one of those people who have a hard time putting away all the Christmas decorations because it’s so much fun to have the color and delight of the season, let Spring give you a new reason to decorate!

Go ahead and pack up the green and red … this spring project is all pastels. It’s so simple even your toddlers can help you, and it won’t cost much at all. To start, cut a piece of cardboard (a leftover Christmas box will work) into large circles. Cut a center circle out to form a wreath. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly round.

Spring Wreath

Paint the cardboard any pastel color and let it dry (moms can do this part ahead of time if little ones will be helping assemble the wreaths). Using foam cutouts of flowers or, my favorite, silk flowers from an old arrangement, begin gluing your decorations around the cardboard. Make one layer, then begin again and make additional layers until you achieve the effect you’d like. Allow to dry.

Use a ribbon to make a hanger for your wreath. You can either tie the ribbon around the top of the wreath or punch a hole in the top and thread the ribbon through. Tie the ribbon in a loop and knot to make a hanger.

These wreaths are simple and quick enough to make many in one sitting. Give them out to friends and family; give them to your children’s teachers. You can even let your kids hang one in their bedroom! This project can be adapted to the major holidays: Valentines Day (replace the flowers with hearts), St. Patrick’s Day (replace the flowers with Shamrocks), Easter (replace the flowers with bunnies) … you get the idea.

The point is to have fun, give your kids something creative to do, and give your front door a fresh and welcoming look for Spring.