It might be New Year but it’s still the middle of winter
As I mentioned in some of my newsletters running up to Christmas, it is something of a paradox that just at the time when energies are lowest, daylight is shortest and much of the natural world is hunkering down, dormant or in hibernation, we humans manage to put ourselves under the most extreme pressure to be doing more. Christmas, and the start to the new year, can be so full of expectations. Parties and gatherings, late nights, social appointments, shopping and meal preparations to be attending or organising are frequently most concentrated at this time of year. For some it can also be a time when there is the greatest disparity between how society suggests we ‘should’ feel and how we actually are, leaving some people feeling their most isolated and alone. It is almost as though the aspects of the world that humans have created speeds up, just at the time when we would naturally be slowing down.
You, like so many of us, may have found yourself going into the festivities already feeling exhausted, wrung out and overwhelmed by both whatever was happening in your individual life as well as all the difficult things happening in the wider world. I wonder whether you were able to take time for yourself? Did you feel like any break you had sped by in a flurry of activity and expectation before you then found yourself being launched back to work (and school runs if you have children)? Or perhaps you didn’t get any time off at all and had to cope with the extra hecticness alongside work?
As if all this isn’t exhausting enough, once all the craziness is over, what we are frequently then met with is yet more expectation from the ‘new year, new you’ rhetoric! Whilst it does seem to have become more common to eschew the idea of formal ‘resolutions’, you may still find yourself getting caught up in the pressure to have goals or things that you will aim to ‘achieve’ for the coming year.
The Winter Solstice Sound Meditation evening that I hosted alongside Andy Roid, with his wonderful music, was a perfect nurturing way to begin the festive season and for me to begin my wintertime break. If you’re interested you can listen to or download the music from the evening here. Andy has generously made it available on a ‘name your price’ basis, in case funds are tight. I hope this music can be one small thing to help encourage you to keep the pace steady, while you continue to travel through the wintertime, even as we recognise that the tide of increasing daylight has turned.
Sunrise is now getting earlier by about a minute every other day and the sunset is creeping out at an even faster pace. Yet still the change is pretty imperceptible and probably, for most of us, hasn’t made any very tangible difference so far. It is still a time for rest, for nurturing, for conserving your energy. Most trees (unless confused by the strange happenings with our climate) are not ready for their sap to begin to rise. They know that winter is not yet over and that energy reserves must be carefully protected and nourished before the greater vitality of the spring energy comes.
My purpose for writing this today, therefore, is to encourage you to go slow, to take your time, to resist the pull of the pressure to ‘get going’ and to give yourself a bigger window in which to let more goal focused activities naturally come in. By easing off, you will probably find they start to happen more effortlessly, when you are ready and when the energy of the world is naturally ready.
I recognise that going slow can feel really hard for some. If this is you, and you feel that planning some things or putting some tasks in place help you, perhaps focus on nurturing activities. Maybe schedule in some gentle walks in the fresh air, an informal meet up for a cuppa with someone who is easy company or a little restorative yoga or meditation. Now is also a good time to prepare some hearty, homemade soups or stews that will nourish and support your body and help you gently recover from any overindulgence from the festive season, batch cooking these can be even better! Let these kinds of things be your goals, if you need them, and let them help you feel a more measured sense of accomplishment.
Of course, if you are fortunate enough to feel bursting with energy and ready to get going, ride that wave: we are all different. But I, most of all, encourage you to check in with yourself, your body, your mind, your energy levels, your emotional state, your intuition... How are you really feeling today and what is it that these different parts of you most need? Remember this can fluctuate from day to day but start there, from your inner world, before venturing outwards to the more dynamic goals and achievements. Go gently and allow your stamina, your energy and your resilience pots to be refilled before you begin dipping into them too heavily once again.
And, as always, please reach out if I can help...
©Dr Karen Janes