I know I have been talking about my Year of Living Seasonally on here from time to time but seriously, how the hell is it nearly February already? It seems like only a few days ago since my husband went back to work and our daughter back to school – more like 3 weeks ago. I was pondering this while gazing out at the falling snow earlier, mug of tea firmly clasped in hand. This January (2015 in case anyone’s reading this in years to come) has been a bit of an mixed bag weather wise. Its been cold, we’ve had some snow (not much really), some very strong winds and now its gorgeously sunny and bracing out there. But it hasn’t felt like a typical January to me. Is that because I am trying to slow down and notice things more? If that’s the case then why has the end of the month snuck up on me? Time to take stock I think.
So what did I do in January? Well, I’ve been working on a new course to teach, picked up another rotten cold which I then shared with everyone else (why should I suffer alone??), didn’t make any New Year resolutions (not my thing – see here), got more into knitting, read a few books…… yeah it was a good enough month all told. But it seems to have just slipped by me in some ways. Aha! That’s the slowing down and taking time thing isn’t it? This Year of Living Seasonally lark must be starting to kick in. January is a cold month, evenings still dark, weather can be dodgy, so its a good time to chill and hibernate a bit. THAT’S what I’ve been doing – I just didn’t realise it.
Imbolc is just around the corner. I feel its time to step up a gear.
Its become something of a buzz word or term over the last couple of years hasn’t it? Mindfulness. Being mindful. Living mindfully. I kind of got the concept but never really thought about it any more than that. At least not consciously. Then last year when I began my Year of Living Seasonally project and started thinking about what that meant for me, I realised that some of it anyway was about mindfulness. Or living in the moment. And that is something I have never been very good at. My blog is titled Musings and Chatterings of a busy mind for a reason – I find it incredibly hard to switch my mind off and just BE. I’m always either looking back and thinking about the past (that’s the historian in me) or making plans, lists and starting projects for the future. As I am now firmly in my middle age (and proud of it) I can look back over probably 30 years of being that way and understand why at times my brain almost aches with tiredness. So its time to slow down – or at least stop from time to time and just be.
Of course life doesn’t always go according to plan and I have caught myself lapsing into old habits over the last few weeks. This weekend (I’m writing this on a Sunday night), the three of us have had a rotten cold. Its just a cold, nothing serious, but we all know how miserable a cold can make you feel. Its especially hard on Fionnuala who is unable to understand why she feels rotten and is equally unable to communicate exactly what she wants or needs. Add to that a mother who has never been a good patient and who has very little innate patience and you can imagine there’s been a few tetchy moments in this house today! Thankfully my husband remains a beacon of levelheadedness and calm and separates us when we are driving each other mad. I have felt bad today for occasionally being a bit short with our little girl and have been trying to remind myself to stop and breathe deeply before I say something. (It hasn’t always worked)
Instead of beating myself up over it, I thought about it for a while and decided this was a good opportunity to practise a bit of mindfulness. So when a fellow blogger, Aisling from Babysteps posted about doing a linky on mindfulness, it seemed like the universe was telling me something! So – mindfulness. I admit I find it hard to practise at times. Having a child with special needs has made me look at the world in a different way that’s for sure, and yes it does make me slow down. A lot of things now have to be done at Fionnuala’s pace. But I have to force myself at times to just be rather than always be doing. One thing that I find works is to wander around our garden and just look, listen, smell and observe. The last couple of days have been rather inclement to say the least, but I did manage to get outside for a while earlier and amongst the snow, I found these
Spring is coming, its time to stop and breathe and just be. Thanks Aisling for the timely reminder! You can see her post on this here
Our garden is beginning to show the first tentative signs of spring. The snowdrops are shyly peeping out from underneath their green hoods, the resilient daffodils are pushing their way through the cold sodden earth, the seasons are on the change again with Spring starting to wake up and assert itself over the land.
The garden is still very much a wilderness in a lot of ways but I am hoping – like Spring – to assert my authority over this patch of the planet I call home. (But I’m aiming for a benevolent dictatorship :))
Spring bulbs have always inspired me, given me hope and stopped me in my tracks to admire and just be. Not something I do often enough.
But this spring – and its still officially winter in Ireland anyway but more of that another time 😉 – I feel more invigorated by the emergence of the spring bulbs than ever. Maybe its to do with turning 40 in April (yes, I’m a spring baby :)or maybe its to do with the long overdue announcement yesterday by what passes for our government that we are to have the general election on March 11. AT LAST! It feels as if maybe, just maybe, Ireland will begin to emerge from the years of Fianna Fáil misrule, from the years of parish-pump politics and gombeenism, and finally, finally become a happier, healthier, better place to be. Like the spring bulbs, we are surrounded by dead wood, by overgrowth and by decay. But we are still alive and we are emerging again.