'I don't want new year new me, I just want to eat toast.'
I think I share this every year because it is truly one of the funniest thing I have ever heard. Josh and I were out on a walk in the Lakes on New Year's day a few years ago and a very northern man said this to his wife. I always think of him at this time of year as we find ourselves still gripped by the winds of winter yet culturally thrust into a month stripped of all of life's pleasures.
When we followed the old celtic ways we would reflect on the year gone at samhain (Oct/Nov), drop into deep rest and welcome visions and dreams of our year ahead at winter solstice (Dec), honour the end of winter and begin slowly emerging at imbolc (Feb) and then step into the fullness of our dreams and intentions at spring equinox (Mar). The old ways closely mirror the ways of nature and offer a cyclical approach to life that celebrate and welcome space to just be rather than our current cultural paradigm of continual activity and perpetual growth.
Modern life goes against the grain in many respects and January 1st is one of those. 1st January is a new year yes but it is a new calendar year and outside our windows the landscape and all of its creatures are still gripped by the winds and frosts of winter.
Don't get me wrong I LOVE any opportunity to wipe clean and start again so if you, like me, love the new year like you love the first page of a new notebook or day 1 of your period then of course you know there is absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with that but I feel the call to make sure the other narrative is getting as much airtime. The narrative that says it's ok to emerge slowly, it's ok not to feel clear about the year ahead or your intention or your word just yet (or at all! Intention work can become a barrier to joy but that's a whole other email!), it's ok to spend the last few weeks of winter resting deeply and trusting in the intangible powers of sleep, rest and dreams to work their magic on your heart and mind. It's ok to buck the trend, go against the grain of the dominant cultural narrative and reclaim the earth bound wisdom of the seasons and cycles of nature and all of life.
For example I'm due my period any day now and in this restful phase I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to do intention work, reflect on my past decade or in fact do anything much at all. And it's taken years for me to feel ok about that.
To practice cyclical living (and menstrual cycle awareness) is to get comfortable with 'falling behind', with stepping outside of the expected (and usually unachievable) timelines, deadlines and expectations of the modern world in order to fully step into synchrony with nature and to remember how to move in time with your own inner rhythm.
Photo (c). @ellieindyablack