As the days shorten and darken in the Northern Hemisphere, Mama Nature is signalling it is time to draw inward. Actually, I feel like She might have been encouraging us toward a deeply reflective space for most of 2020. Even before the chaos and dismantling of our norms accelerated, I – like so many of us – had to change (and expand!) what nourishes and sustains me since many of my normal self-care routines were unavailable during pandemic precautions. Discovering how to improve my own care was a process. I felt like I was floundering as one by one all markers of a “normal” life fell away:
Work: no in-person sessions with clients.
Self-care: no haircuts, gym, massages or parks.
Entertainment: no plays or restaurants.
Social: No gathering with family or friends, no attending weddings or wakes.
2020 didn’t spare my hobby of wildcrafting, either, as a new neighbor mowed down an abundant, unobtrusive patch of St. John’s Wort, and SIN-OF-ALL-SINS, a house-flipper chopped down the ancient rosebush that had been a reliable source for rose petal jelly for seven years.
Personally, 2020 has made it evident how much my attention and focus have shifted since embarking on an early “encore” career in the last five years. My initial education and profession were in public policy – and closely aligned with Politics. However, instead of doomscrolling the latest “What the…?!!”, especially during the US election season, I have found myself returning to the practices that ground me in the present and center me in my own truth. Here are some activities that have kept me sane. Some might be familiar to you:
Active meditation (visualization – both individually and with a weekly group)
Listening to music I love (from Dvořák to Gershwin to 80s alternative)
Gardening (I find weeding very therapeutic, but my definition of “weed” is loose)
Diving into a new subject (energy psychology)
Honing an existing skill (energy medicine)
Reading (Laurie R. King’s entire Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series for its globe-trotting and female protagonist)
Walking (I actually walk instead of drive to shops in my town center now!)
These activities help me to stop the mind-chatter and become still. They heighten my internal awareness and assist me to pay attention to what is actually happening in my physical (not virtual!) space. Simply, they allow me to allow. If you’re looking for a renewing ritual to counteract the slings and arrows of daily existence, might I suggest you try greeting each day with The Holy Incantation of Solace by poet Richard Rudd.