January is over. Can I hear a communal sigh of relief traveling on the cold winter's wind? The beginning of February marks the traditional seasonal celebration of Imbolc, a cross quarter festival from the Celtic wheel of the year. Imbolc falls midway between the longest night of the Winter Solstice and the equal balance of daylight and darkness that the Spring Equinox brings. The point at which the earth's energy is about to shift. Inward to outward. Darkness to light. Death and decay circling back towards life. We can see Imbolc as the peak of winter. The brow of a steep hill we've slogged long and hard to walk up. On reaching the top we can finally see the long awaited signs of early spring. Catkins dangling from branches of trees, snowdrops and daffodils rising from their wintery beds of fallen leaves. Day by day the mornings are getting lighter and the evenings are getting a little longer. Hope is in the air. And yet, it's still cold enough to warrant wearing thermals and two wooly jumpers in our house. I'm still more inclined to curl up under a blanket on the sofa than to put on my coat and go out to socialise.
As hard as it can be to resist our capitalist culture's drive towards constant productivity, can we instead honour the earth's invitation to rest and resource ourselves during the winter so that we are able to gently move towards spring. If we push ourselves too hard when we should be recharging, then surely our energy resources will be running low by the time the warmer months invite us to spring into action and stay up late revelling in the evening sun. Choosing to stay in sync with the seasons doesn't mean wallowing around in our pyjamas watching Netflix until April. The introspective energy at this time of year is full of transformational potential. It's a period in which we can really absorb and integrate the lessons learned from the months gone by. We can foster hope for the future by reflecting on what truly matters to us now, rather than jumping into projects and plans based on what we feel we should be doing. Holding what's important to us in our hearts and minds with tenderness and presence, as we gradually emerge into spring. One slightly lighter day at a time.