As The Byrds song goes, ‘To everything, there is a season, turn turn turn’……
If winter were a person, we would be slow-paced, strolling buddies. Winter is my season to go gently on myself. After years of ignoring my body and its warning signs, trying to operate at full speed all year round, I now realise that I probably am affected by the lack of sunlight and Vitamin D during this season, which can cause lethargy. I don’t function to my highest capacity over long periods of time when I am lacking in sunshine hours. I have less energy to expend. And I need more sleep. So I put my focus on doing the basic things well. I take a daily Vitamin D supplement and have a S.A.D. light in my bedroom. I try my best to maintain self-care for body, mind and spirit daily, as well as embracing the gentle things in life, like meditation, walks in nature and good company.
Because my focus was on trying to do the basic things well during this winter, I did not set any New Year’s Resolutions for myself for 2018. I wanted to be a ‘real me’, not a ‘new me’. I scheduled to facilitate a new block of meditation classes in February, rather than beginning in January. I was happy to take January day by day to myself; on my work days, doing what needed to be done and enjoying the little pleasures. At weekends, embracing personal, fun time with loved ones, in a much calmer manner than what Christmas had to offer. By nature I am an extroverted introvert. (I’d have to be awkward of course, not just one or the other!) I genuinely needed January to be quieter and less intense than the sociable Christmas season that went before it.
Now as we enter into spring, working from the Celtic calendar that we follow in Ireland, I feel rested and content. I notice the return of the light little by little. I am glad that I listened to my body, and that I am in a healthy state now to embrace the return of spring.
The Celts celebrated the festival of Imbolc between the 1st and 2nd of February, with Brigid being the goddess associated Imbolc and its qualities. The name Imbolc comes from the Irish ‘Imbolg’ (in the belly), referring to the new life that was waiting to come forward. Essentially, Imbolc was a festival to celebrate fertility in nature, new life and creativity. It marked the arrival of spring, and the return of the light.
So if you feel that your January was a non-starter, that you didn’t stick to your New Year’s Resolutions or that you haven’t been whizzing around with as much energy as usual, maybe it’s time to change your thinking. Maybe January 1st isn’t your ideal time to be making resolutions. Maybe you needed that rest. Maybe you don’t need to operate at the same level of energy output all year round. Maybe you need to consider changing your self-talk and not be so hard on yourself. The launch of spring might be an altogether better time for you to set intentions, as opposed to making resolutions.
An intention is setting positive energy in motion around a particular aim or a plan in your life. It’s also something that will not cause you to beat yourself up, as the ‘how’ you will achieve it tends to be much more loose and non-specific in comparison to a resolution. It is ‘I will go for a run 5 days a week’ (resolution – specific and will cause negative self-talk if you fail) vs. ‘I will focus on a balanced approached to staying healthy’ (intention – loose and gives you space to change your approach if necessary, without negative mind chatter). Intentions are aims that bring happiness, not suffering.
The beginning of February, spring, and the birthing time for all things fresh, new and creative might just be the ideal time for you to grab a pen and let those positive intentions flow! Above all else, pay attention to your own body and intuition to know what is right for you. If you allow yourself the time to listen, it holds all the wisdom that you need.