As messy as this end of winter can become, there's still something acutely refreshing here, and it's not just the weather, but the way we handle ourselves and handle our days. At some point, we stop caring about appearance; we're just so tired of being cold, mud-spattered, salt-stained and careful, that we dress for the elements, fashion be damned. That's a refreshing detox in and of itself--a little rebellion some of us, if we're wise to it, can carry through the rest of the year.
And, of course, I like the clear delineation between end of day and beginning of day--the self-imposed efficiency leaves my brain free to wander elsewhere, and the darkness is convenient for creative dreaming.
February, I think, is the best month for this kind of channeling, this kind of astral traveling, if you will. It's a short month, a cold month, and while it's still a dark month, light leaks out at both ends of its days. Perhaps that kind of generosity, that kind of brazen bravery can inspire us t...
The thing about winter is that everything is obvious, everything is laid out and bare and you can't really turn away from it, give it the cold (ha ha) shoulder. The thing, too, about winter is the light. The light--there is no other season with light like this, no other season when the light lies low on the horizon, just touching it all long enough to expose what must be dealt with, completed, or stored before tucking itself away, giving us ample time to rest up for the next cycle of rising and setting.
It's both gentle and stark--a tough-love sort of season that urges us to work now because soon the distractions will be all too many and all too much for us to focus on ourselves, on our healing, on our deeper needs, and on a landscape that is such a relief in its lack of pretension, its lack of pretending, and its unapologetic authenticity.
Petals, this has been one hell of a month. This has, without exaggeration, been the hardest, most exhausting, most adrenal-taxing, mental-drain of a month I've ever (almost) lived through. January is generally my favorite month of the year, so it's doubly discouraging. And that's the exact word for it--discouraging. It has been one heck of a downhill slide with no brakes, too little light, and not nearly enough sleep to manage this landscape.
I have a feeling I'm not alone in this. I have a feeling this has been one universally walloping, take-no-prisoners kind of a month. And when your well-crafted, finely-honed tools are barely getting you through the days without you taking to your bed, well. All I can say is, we're almost there.
I don't think it's a coincidence that a full moon/total lunar eclipse ushers out the month. These are big, painful shifts, like the ache of a broken bone, slowly and stubbornly knitting itself together. There's nowhere to go, nothing to take that can quell...
Our intuition, our access to the divine/our higher selves/our guides--whatever you want to call it, contains just as many moving parts as does any other functioning unit in our bodies (digestive, circulatory, or nervous systems). In other words, if something is a bit wonky and it goes ignored, it will just get louder and louder, pulling in support from neighboring organs, bones, and nerves. Or in the case of the spirit piece of this mind/body/spirit triad, robbing us of sleep, focus, or energy.
Eventually, what was once a gentle nudge becomes a full-on, distracting and impossible-to-ignore irritation. But even then--even at the height of the discord, we can just stop and still ourselves, waiting for the one clear note underscoring the entire mess, then trace it back to its source.
Healing, it's true, is virtually impossible when symptoms are clamoring for our attention, monopolizing every bit of patience we've left. So we deal with the discomfort until it's mana...
Even for those of us who don't really like 'stuff,' who don't really trend toward clutter, it's so easy to think more = better (more vitamins, more liquids, more protein, more DIY cleaning/body/hair care products...). But there soon comes a tipping point--that place when the healthy habit teeters from bolstering to burdensome, if not on the body then on the mind.
From time to time it becomes necessary to step back, to look at everything we're doing for ourselves and decide where we can take a break. My herbal clients are always surprised when I tell them to take a week or so off their herbs every month. Many are terrified that this will somehow undo all the good habits, the good medicine they've put into place.
On the contrary--the body needs a break from its supports, needs a chance to see if it's strong enough to hold itself up, to keep itself moving and, on occasion, to heal itself without distraction. The same goes for our too-often guilt-tinged laundry lists of supplemen...
Restlessness is a good sign--it means we're moving through the cycle as we should, stockpiling energy as we should. We don't build enough time for rest in this culture, and the enforced hibernation of winter is, I think, what has saved us. Our adrenals, our nervous system--they can't wing it on sunshine and coffee. And though we're addicted to such warming stimulants, we need to push past the jitters, the cravings, the moaning 'if onlys' and just rest.
Sun and spring and thaw come soon enough. Soon enough will come the mutterings of 'too little time/too little energy/too much to do.' But here in this space of winter--we still have time. We still have time to sink down, to bury ourselves, to speak in hushed tones to a cranky restlessness, soothing it in quiet murmurs to rest now. Spring will come.
It's incredibly easy for us to forget that we are not our jobs, our commitments, our to-do lists. Even for those of us lucky enough to do creative work for a living (and I am very aware of how fortunate I am in my work) rarely remember who we are. Or were. I think it's only when we create for ourselves, for our private selves, that we tap into the current of our own inherent ability to channel...something.
When we pick up hand work--whether gardening, knitting, whittling, writing longhand, building, carving, kneading, or sewing--we enter the slipstream of our ancestry, and there's something concrete there, something reassuring. It reminds us that we have at our fingertips (quite literally in this case) a wealth of knowledge beyond any book, any tutorial. These ghosts are our teachers, and they remind us that we are more human than machine.
Machines aren't meant for the long haul, for this long life. They are not self-regenerating, and they are not built with keen intelligence and d...
For whatever reason, my father, who died in 2009, was very close this weekend, from a favorite piece on the radio, to a friend bringing him up in conversation, to the books and films I chose to spend my days with. It was comfortable, familiar and, for lack of a better word, whole.
I have no idea where the dead go--of course, none of us does. But I also have no belief as to where they go--I'm suspending both belief and disbelief until I get there myself. But that doesn't mean I'm not open to suggestion, to hints, and to divine gifts of comfort and presence reminding me that I'm not trapped in this body, in this day.
There is so much we don't know. And it is so often that we forget how sweetly innocent we are in this world.
I've had this terrible illness this week, the most unfortunate side effect of which is a sore mouth and throat and the inability to taste anything other than sawdust. It's incredible how discouraging it is, how much it upsets one's worldview suddenly to lose a sense like that--how do I orient myself now? How do I move through the day with only one antenna?
And, of course, in the midst of illness or injury--temporary or life-changing--you wonder, will it always be like this? Will it always be so painful? So disorienting? So broken? And, also of course, the only answer you can come up within the moment is a yes, always.
That 'yes, always' colors everything. Well, not so much colors as grabs the black grease pencil and scribbles peevishly over all your nicely drawn figures, all carefully colored-in lines and neatly stacked. Gathering those up is exhausting until you're on the other side of the mess, so you know what? Just leave them. Just leave them and rest. Rest is simple; re...
There is always a thaw--that's become my inadvertent motto for 2018. I haven't felt it, not as a warming on the skin or a shedding of layers, but I can see the sun through the windows and sometimes that's poetry enough to keep us just this side of inspired, just this side of freezing to death.
This is January. This is when we remember our strength and our ability to generate, to maintain, our own heat.