The shock of the same
We tend to think that when we are experiencing the same thing for a while, it ceases to be shocking. The sameness of it renders the experience normal, usual, uneventful. However, I think one thing we have learnt over the last year is that it is not only the new that can shock, but the old, the same, the unchanging.
This kind of shock is harder to define, harder to explain. But no easier for that. Just because we have experienced the same thing over and over again, it is not necessarily less traumatic. We may become numb to it, hardened to it, but it is there just the same.
So as we move from Samhain to Imbolc, the days gradually lengthening, light returning, new shoots appearing, how can we begin this new season with positivity and hope when many of us feel stuck in the same treadmill? Or part way through a long tunnel which just keeps extending every time we think we are nearing the light at the end?
First, we need to remember that there IS light at the end of the tunnel, and we will eventually get there. Practicing patience in the meantime is challenging but essential. We cannot force the situation to change so acceptance and patience are key attitudes to work with here. The inspiration which may have been apparent at the beginning, this time last year, when we were motivated to make the best of it and take up new hobbies, may have waned. So re-kindling this in a new way could be helpful. Light a candle for Brigid (whose feast this is) with the intention of letting this small spark of fire rekindle in you something you have lost over the last few months.
Second, we need to nurture ourselves and our relationships. Loving kindness practices are key, as are breathing spaces where we give ourselves the opportunity to check in with the body and mind and just see how we are doing. This regular re-connecting is key to warding off problems before they get out of hand and when we feel better in ourselves, we are better able to relate positively and compassionately to those we care about and come into contact with. Self-care and non-striving, remembering we are good enough. You are doing the best you can. You are surviving.
Third, we need to focus on our circle of influence. I have written about this before, but this is so important now. We tend to overwhelm ourselves by worrying about the whole world, there are so many issues, where do we start? We start in our own circle. What small steps can you take to make a positive difference? If by staying isolated you are saving a life, you have had a profound positive influence on another family, another circle of friends. If you lift the spirits of another person with a short text, isn’t that making a difference? If we all practice kindness in our own small circles of influence, kindness to ourselves, people we are in contact with and the environment, that would make a huge difference.
So move into Imbolc with hope, even the smallest flicker of light is visible in the darkness. We don’t need to blaze, flickering is sometimes all we can manage, but that is often all that is needed.
May you feel:
the breath of spring renew your being,
the new life stirring in the ground inspire your mind,
and the growing light warm your soul.