Spring is a time of transition. As the days grow longer and the weather warms, the world around us comes to life. Use this opportunity to acknowledge your own journey. This is the perfect time to release what no longer serves you and take the first steps towards your goals.

Today, life coach Shirin Eskandani explains how she celebrates the Spring Equinox, and shares a guided meditation for us to practice.

There’s nothing like the transition from winter to spring. As the snow melts and the first signs of green reappear, it’s hard not to get excited. I live in New York City, and as soon as the weather starts to change, the collective joy of the city is palpable. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and be part of. It feels like a new beginning.

The Spring Equinox has always been near and dear to me. Not only does it mark the beginning of spring, but it’s also the Iranian New Year. That’s right, Iranians celebrate the new year on the first day of spring. It’s a time of festivity and traditions for us.

We believe that the New Year sets the tone for the coming year. So, in the days leading up to the equinox, people clean out junk and negativity from their lives. We declutter and sage our homes, so none of the old energy follows us into the new year. And I always take a moment to reflect on the past year and set positive intentions.

For me, the Spring Equinox is all about new beginnings, rebirth and self-care. I often compare my journey to a flower blooming: “How do I want to bloom? What will help me blossom?”  —  meaning, what good intentions shall I set that will allow for my growth, and what conditions will help nurture this growth?

Of course the image of the flower makes sense for spring. But we often forget that the flower isn’t just a blossom. It’s made of many parts. It’s created by deep roots that have been nurtured in soil and dirt. Without the mess, the flower could not exist.

A favorite quote I turn to at this time of year is from Rumi: “Sorrow prepares you for joy.” The Spring Equinox is about beauty and looking forward, but it’s also about acknowledging the “dirt” that has allowed for your self growth. This includes your pain, sorrow, and heartbreak. These experiences form the base of your transformation: they’re the moments that offer the most self growth and self care.

Here’s a guided meditation for the Spring Equinox. It will allow you to acknowledge any pain from the past, and help you embrace the potential of what is to come:

Look at your present life as a blooming flower. Close your eyes and breathe in this image. See a bud that hasn’t yet bloomed. Create the most vivid image in your mind.

Now, work your way down to the soil. What forms this soil for you? Turn your attention to the feelings or experiences coming up. Give them space. Place a hand on your heart and breathe in, offering compassion and care for whatever grief or hurt shows up. Take your time here. Allow these feelings to express themselves fully. Be aware of how your heart feels.

Now ask yourself: what growth have I experienced as a result of these feelings? How have these moments laid the foundation for my growth? Some moments may offer you wisdom and others may not. That’s okay. Sometimes it takes years to find growth in an experience.

Sometimes, we never find personal growth. But in this moment, right now, which moments of sorrow and hurt have become the beautiful soil that’s the foundation of your flower? Transform your pain into life force — the life force that nourishes the flower’s roots. Feel this shift. Breathe it in. With each breath, feel that energy strengthen and grow.

Work your way back up to the bud with that energy. Focus on the bud. Focus on the petals. What potential beauty lies here? What excites you when you think of this flower blooming?

Focus on the possibility of what’s to come. Breathe into your heart as you do this. And breathe in the possibility. Breathe in expansively. Allow the energy of these thoughts to fill every part of your heart. Now allow this energy to expand to the tips of your fingers, the top of your head, and the bottom of your feet. Feel this energy embracing you and filling every part of your being. Stay with this feeling for as long as you like.

When you’re ready, take three deep, expansive inhales, and three deep, expansive exhales. When you’re ready, come back to the present, and open your eyes.

Take a moment to write down what you felt and experienced during the meditation. I encourage you to write a list of care instructions for your flower. What kind of conditions does your flower need to thrive? Does it require lots of light? How often does it need to be watered? Make this a fun exercise for yourself. Maybe name your flower. When you’re done, post the instructions somewhere visible. Look at them often: we all need self care and nourishment.

This spring, fully embrace the person you’re becoming and honor the person and experiences that got you here. We’re all blossoms rooted in soil.

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Shirin Eskandani is a coach, speaker, writer, and life alchemist, offering coaching, classes and meditation guidance.