Here’s a Mini-workshop for Spring

Spring! How I love it—everything is abloom in my neighborhood and daylight savings time started, which means I can take my afternoon walk/Happy Hour coffee break later in the day while it’s still light and enjoy all the aliveness of the season. Yesterday I came home with a sprig of jasmine stuck in my buttonhole and a dozen colorful photographs.

The Spring Equinox writing retreat and workshop I scheduled for yesterday didn’t happen. So I thought I’d offer up a three-part writing exercise we would have done during the workshop.

Here’s how it goes: Spring is a time of healing and renewal. A time for planting—gardens, flowers, new ideas. But before we can plant, we clear away the debris that may have accumulated during the long winter. This time of Awakening is also a time of releasing—of letting go of what doesn’t serve us. We put away our heavy winter things that we may have needed to keep us safe and warm, but now we no longer need them—it’s time for a spring cleaning. What do you, or what does your character, need to release in order to “bloom” in this time of healing and renewal?

Part I: Make a list of what you want to release—old ideas, habits, relationships. Maybe the list doesn’t just contain “heavy” items, but some things that might be fun or invigorating to change—no more binge-watching TV series or maybe getting rid of the old bed pillows or pictures on the bedroom wall.

Part 2: After you make the list, choose one item to write about in an extended writing. Set your timer for 15 minutes and write, writing practice style.

Part 3: Now that you’ve cleared away and made room for the new, it’s time to plant. If you could grow anything you wanted – a garden of diamonds or a patch of poems, a crop of new shoes, anything at all – what would you plant?

Sprout, Planting Seeds, Tending GardensHappy Spring. Remember what Margaret Atwood told us: “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

What did you release in your Spring Cleaning?

14 thoughts on “Here’s a Mini-workshop for Spring

    • Thank you, Jill. All of us here appreciate your comment. Speaking of Spring, I bet everything is abloom at the Ranch. Beautiful. xoJR

  1. Like the return of spring, with all its hope and joy and promise of good things to come, you are a constant positive in my life and all those who love you and follow you.
    Thank you for being such a positive influence in the lives of those of us who have stories to tell and constantly seek to and struggle with finding our own voices! You are loved and appreciated! 💜✍🏻katalina

    • Thanks you so much, Katalina, for stopping by and commenting on this post. Your words touched me deeply. I hope you know you are loved and appreciated, too. I love when we get to write together. Hope that happens again soon.

  2. Judy,
    What a lovely post. I especially connected with this line — “This time of Awakening is also a time of releasing—of letting go of what doesn’t serve us.” I have etched this line in my journal. In the morning when I light my candles and write, I will embrace these words and explore what they hold for me.
    Joy to you, my dear friend!

    • Dear Sandi, So wonderful to find you here, us connecting in all these (familiar) places. Thank you for your thoughts and comment. I love the image of you, candles lit, bending over your journal, writing. A beautiful image. Sending love to you.

  3. Dear Judy,
    Spring is a wonderful time of the year. I like to remember to think about the present and future, not so much about the past. Here in North County there are so many flowers in bloom that all I have to do is walk around my neighborhood with my two dogs and delight in my surroundings. We also have Crest Canyon and the Torrey Pines State Park to hike in. I like to remember that “nature” is here for all of us to enjoy.
    Arlene Kosakoff

    • Hi Arlene, Thanks for your note. I love San Diego in Spring. Well, pretty much everywhere in spring. This morning in Mary Oliver’s book, Upstream, she used the description, “great upwelling.” That is what it seems, to me, too. I wonder if nature enjoys us enjoying her.

  4. I love the three-part writing exercise! I need something like this to have fun with. I had cataract surgery yesterday and spent an agonizing night suffering from a scratchy, fuzzy eyeball.. Horrible! But today I feel better, even though I can’t see well yet out of the eye–a scary feeling.

    When I am able to, I will work on this exercise.

    Happy spring to you !

    Best, Fran

    • Hello Fran, Thank you so much for commenting on this post. I know that post-cataract surgery and the left-overs it brings. I hope your symptoms disappear quickly and your sight is such that you can see all the beautiful colors nature offers up in the spring. After my surgery, that was one thing I noticed–it was as if a veil had been lifted, or someone washed the windows. All of a sudden the world was so much brighter.
      Have fun with the writing when you can get to it. Let me know what you decide to plant.
      Best regards,

  5. “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself.”
    For me, Judy it’s a time of looking deeper at nature, to see the awakening signs of what is to come….. Being present, paying full attention and observing in stillness and silence the beauty of it all….

    • Thank you Michael, for commenting and for “planting” that Basho poem. And yes, all you said about spring and looking deeper, closer and being present. Thank you for this.

  6. Yesterday I heard a robin sing,
    Today is the first of spring.

    And tomorrow I go to my writing café where that amaryllis is still fierce red and do your suggestion here. Excellent and right on time since I didn’t go today. I considered it much too cold even though I went out when it was 30 degrees colder but it’s springtime now, see. So it should get with the programme already.

    The first thing I will release in my spring cleaning is winter. I have nothing printable to say about that thing.

    As for planting seeds: may each one be a new writing project although I did commit to a story a day and have done so for three weeks. Well sometimes it’s an anecdote or poem but that counts too.

    Happy planting Judy and thanks.

    • Hi Linda,
      Hope you and your writing cafe had a good date. (My amaryllis is not red any more; it is gone gone). And you’re right, Linda, it’s the planting the seeds that counts, not what blooms or doesn’t bloom. I learned from my Dad in our long ago gardens, that not every seed will sprout, but since we don’t know which will and which won’t, we just plant them all. Happy planting right back atcha.

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