I met with the amazing and always enlightening Warren Draper yesterday, and I feel like with all the things we talked about I couldn’t stop myself bleating on about reconnection, reconnection, reconnection. I tried to find different words for it, but I was always coming back to the same thing.
We talked about projects involving the deep ecology of the River Don, and the constancy of rivers as cities rise and fall around them; about forest schools, urban farms, Dark Mountain-y festivals that seed festivals, and the importance of moving with the seasons not against them. I want my art, my coaching, everything, to foster what seems to be so desperately needed in the western world – reconnection, with our selves, with our world, with each other.
I set an intention to weave this through my coaching practice, especially with more ‘Walk & Talk’ sessions; to be more conscious of the changing year, and adapt my expectations accordingly. Why did I try to be full of energy and start new projects at the beginning of December, as we headed down into the dark towards Yule, the winter solstice? That’s time for drawing in, reflecting, wrapping up and keeping safe – not rushing around like a summer ant trying to get everything done before Christmas hits. No wonder I felt stressed and off-kilter.
Next week is Imbolc. Imbolc marks the beginning of spring here in Northern Europe, and the stirrings of new life. As someone who has always struggled to make peace with the cold and dark of winter, Imbolc is probably my favourite festival (that’s a lie, they’re all my favourite festival if I let myself feel them deeply enough). There is something special about recognising the light and the hope when everything around is dark and cold.
Brigid, new life, the shoots that have been there through the winter, but unseen, now starting to push themselves up towards the sun. Walking in the woods I can hear more birdsong every day, and see the first swellings of buds on the bare twig tips. Spring is coming! Like it does every year. I love that.
So stay warm my friends. Feel the stirring of new beginnings, but don’t rush this. Unfold at your own pace. But know this: the dark and the cold are waning now. The green of spring is pushing through the cold earth, and soon the sunshine will return.
To paraphrase author and activist Arundhati Roy (who was speaking more long term here), “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”