Acknowledge, still, soften, Bloom: what wisdom Winter's End has to offer

Hello, and happy Equinox! 

It's finally here! At 5:58 tonight, the sun will cross the equator, and Spring will arrive with equal parts day and night! It's also the astrological new year, with the sun entering Aries at 0 degrees at 8pm EST, with a very special full moon in Libra! This is wild because they’re astrological opposites, in a literal Mars and Venus kinda way.

In other words, and without so much explanation- this spring equinox, more than ever, is a time of reconciling extremes.  

What a winter it’s been. We're all so tender.  We've all been so harmed.  We've been sitting in the dark for ages, trying to stay warm, and rest and heal.  Just when we think it’s time to emerge, something shakes our courage and our capacity to trust. We have so little left in reserves, and the wind is still cold. Contrary to the snowdrops and crocuses blooming (not to mention that rogue 70 degree day), we're not all convinced the sun is strengthening. 

There’s one supremely valuable thing trees are teaching me this season: In order to receive the benefit of the light, we have to make ourselves available to it. While we use the fall to gather what will serve us, and the winter to integrate and listen deeply to our harm, spring calls us out.  It invites us to come forward, knowing it will be raw, it will feel impossible, and it will be worth it.

Winter's transition into spring is rarely a graceful one.  We could lose everything we've fought for these past few months, or we could avail ourselves to the highest surprise, healing and delight.  Reconciling extremes means accepting the risk of our own endless possibilities.

I’m so in love with the world, even as it breaks my heart, and I can feel more than ever that we’re not here to waste time.  I’ve been sitting with my grief and fear and cruelty and worry, and I know that in order to heal them, I have to soften, and accept this and every opportunity to grow. There is nothing so vital in this moment as our collective capacity to listen deeply, to the voice that connects us to everything, as she whispers: "Bloom."

We are beautiful and marvelous, not in spite of our flaws or the harm we've endured, but because of them.  This is the spirit of the third installment of Brighter Days. A rendering of the harshest and sweetest moments of Springtime.

Sun Station is a song written from a low place, looking up - I think it’s important to name that for those of us who struggle with depression and anxiety, it’s easy to forget that there is a life outside of those states of being- it gets better.

Three Graces is dedicated with endless affection and appreciation for my sisters, Whitney and Victoria. I always think of Victoria when I see cherry blossoms in Philly, and watching Whitney’s twins grow up is helping us remember and heal some of our history.

Mountain Heart is a song gifted to me by a childhood friend who I miss terribly and am always grateful for. Our version has evolved so much, and shifted so far from the original- even still the lyric and melody feel like the moment spring decides to stay. Listen to the original, and prove me wrong.

This January, my mentor, teacher and incredible Grandfather left this world to become an Ancestor, starting his transition right after the winter solstice. He always reminded me that birth must follow death, light always follows darkness, and that our loved ones never really leave us- we carry them as we carry songs.  I’m afraid to move on without him, but the only way to keep him alive is in me- and I can’t live without growing, without adapting, without emerging.  There are so many songs to write, and children to love, and raspberries to eat.  No sense staying in the cave, really.

2019 is living up to its promise to be a tumultuous year: full of creative collaborations, new beginnings, deep healing and fierce love.  As we come around the bend and the days lengthen, I would encourage you to be gentle with yourself, and take deep breaths. I hope you enjoy this installment.

It's time. Bloom. We'll do it together.

Face to the sun,


Samantha Rise