Posted on: 03.02.2021

The light is returning

Winter sunrise through forest

Thank God it’s February (I never thought I’d say that!) – at least it means pandemic January is over.

It was a tough month and my self care routine is wearing thin – can I face another Zoom yoga class or the soggy trudge round my local park? Even the ducks look fed up. 

I thought I was on the slippery slope to oblivion last week when I hit a wall, abandoned my to do list and spent the afternoon flopped on the sofa watching The Queens Gambit on Netflix. Unfortunately it was the episode where the lead character descends into an abyss of drugs and booze so it wasn’t the light relief I hoped for – so after an hour I picked myself up off the sofa and got the hoover out.

And yet there is hope. Tuesday 2nd Feb is the Celtic festival of Imbolc – the mid point between the shortest day in December and the Spring Equinox in late March – which traditionally marks the beginning of the end of winter.

Ever since I started following the Celtic calendar a decade ago, I look forward to Imbolc as a stepping stone to break up the toughest months of the year. In the blur of digital stimulation we live in, it’s easy to miss the subtle shifts towards spring. Yet the days are getting ever so slightly longer, it’s light till 5pm and I spotted the first snowdrops today. We’re emerging from the deepest phase of hibernation in December/January and ideas that have been fermenting in my subconscious through the winter are starting to come together.

Imbolc means “in the belly” – in farming the ewes are pregnant and the lambs are on their way. In times past food stocks would be running low and need to be eked out till the spring. Likewise, our resilience is ebbing after all the strains of the last year and we’re hanging in there till brighter days.

Personally I’m not ready to set intentions on New Year’s day – I’m still hibernating and want to stay under the duvet. I find Imbolc a much better time to start to form my desires for the year.

If you haven’t allowed yourself space to dream for the coming year, then take time this week to gently note down any nascent ideas of directions you’d like to go in. For me I’d love to start running leadership retreats in nature and bringing more storytelling into my work. The detail is still to be worked out but the direction of travel is clear.