We’ve just exited what is, for many of us in the northern hemisphere, the busiest, most hectic, and stressful time of the year – the holiday season.
Even before the holidays were over, however, I noticed article after article and blog post after blog post heralding the new year through asking ‘what is your plan for your life, your business, etc for 2015?’.
That or, ‘It’s time to set your intentions or determine your ‘word’ for this new year.’
In short, we jump straight out of the busy-ness of the holidays and straight into goal-setting, resolution making, and visioning for the new year.
Not only that, we are expected to immediately begin acting on these goals, intentions, resolutions, and visions.
While these things of themselves are positive and beneficial, let’s take a step back and consider a larger perspective.
Here is the northern hemisphere, it is winter.
Winter is a time for withdrawing, for hibernating, for restoration, and for nourishing oneself in preparation for the upcoming seasons of planting, growing, and harvesting.
It is a time to retreat, replenish, and become renewed… to gather strength for the remainder of the year.
And, to receive your vision for the new year as well.
That’s right! Now IS the time to be setting intentions and to be visioning what you would like to see come into being over the course of this new year.
However, with the dark nights of winter still upon us, now is not necessarily the time to be acting on your vision or intention…
I see this deep, mostly unacknowledged, conflict playing out at this time of year.
The conflict begins just before Thanksgiving and continues intensifying through the remainder of the holidays and into the new year.
The conflict I want to acknowledge today is between the season itself and what we are expected to do or experience during this time.
Beginning with the equinox in September, the days begin to shorten and the natural world begins to enter into a time of stillness, of reflection, of hibernation, of dormancy.
The mid-point of this time of dormancy is the winter solstice on December 21st and then, slowly, slowly, the days begin to lengthen and the earth begins to warm.
Meanwhile, just as the natural world begins to wind down, humans enter the increasingly stressful and busy time of the holidays.
Basically, our actions are in direct opposition to the rhythms of the natural world – the rhythms that our bodies are still attuned to on a deep, again mostly unacknowledged, level.
This creates a underlying tension (or internal conflict) that permeates this time of year.
Now, here we are, the holidays behind us, jumping straight back into the ‘normal’ busy-ness of life PLUS setting new intentions that we are immediately attempting to bring to fruition.
When do we allow ourselves time for rest?
When do we allow ourselves to tune into and align with the rhythms of the natural world?
When do we slow down enough to remember that our bodies are also of the natural world and follow these rhythms as well?
When do we allow ourselves to retreat, to hibernate, to replenish, and to become renewed?
For you, for now, I don’t have any answers.
I’m bringing these thoughts and questions to you… for you to ponder in your own time and in your own way.
Perhaps you find yourself feeling extra depleted right now. Perhaps you find yourself resisting jumping right back into work. Perhaps you are wondering why you are just not up for setting intentions or making resolutions or even finding a word for the year in this moment.
I’m here to say ‘that is fine.’ YOU are fine.
In fact, what you are experiencing is not just normal, it is healthy.
It is your body and your spirit saying:
“I need to rest. I need to go into my cave and retreat for a while.
Don’t worry. It won’t be for long. And when I return I will be nourished, replenished, and strengthened.
Plus, I will return with the gift of a vision that is perfectly aligned with your needs for this new year… a vision you will have the energy and the strength to bring to fruition in the appropriate time… because you allowed me (yourself) this time of rest, integration, rejuvenation, and nourishment.”
My questions for you, today, are:
- What helps you remember to align with the rhythms of the natural world?
- What does the concept of retreat or hibernation (if only for an hour or a day) spark in you?
- What can you release in your day-to-day life to make space for a bit more quiet, more reflection, more rest?
I’m sending you nourishment and replenishment on this, the second week of 2015.