Greetings, gentle readers! I have indeed been absent for a bit, but I’m going to claim my right to winter hibernation to excuse that lapse, because frankly, winter totally sucks. Well, maybe not everything about winter totally sucks (my kid was born on February 5th, after all!), but the weather certainly does. Especially after the holidays drain every last ounce of energy one has left for the year. January turns into one long period of my trying desperately to refill my empty cup under a faucet, only to have it be constantly upended by unexpected events or drained back down to nothing by my loving but sometimes very needy people. Now that it’s the end of the month, though, my cup is finally getting fuller – still only about halfway filled, but that’s certainly more than I started with and plenty to be getting along with. Huzzah for Half-Assery!
Half-assery actually dovetails very nicely with the spirit of Imbolc at this time of year. Imbolc (a.k.a. Candlemas) is a cross-quarter day on the Wheel of the Year – not a solstice or an equinox, but somewhere in between – which is where we are spiritually during this time as well. The name Imbolc means “in the belly,” referring to the pregnant ewes that marked the beginning of the lambing season for farmers and shepherds. Like the lambs in their mothers’ wombs, we are between dormancy and vitality – not completely asleep, but not quite ready to spring forth into action yet, either. We’re also like the bulbs that lie dormant under the earth – not dead, but “living” as we think of the lovely green shoots and riotous colors of blooms in the Spring to come.
So where does that leave us right now? Poking our heads up from our burrows to peek at what’s around the next turn of the Wheel. Stretching and beginning to wake up after a long sleep, but still snuggling down for just 5 more minutes. Dreaming and making new plans, but not yet acting on them. Cleansing and clearing out old clutter, physically and mentally, to make ourselves ready for the growing season ahead. Moving through transition and change from one season to the next. Facing challenges that will make our growth hard for us and figuring out ways to ensure our success in the vital part of the year to come.
That sounds inspiring and amazing, but it also sounds like a lot of hard damn work to me – especially the “not yet” aspect of it all, which insists we prepare, but not execute – that we wait…and wait…and wait. Waiting is always Hard. Damn. Work.
But that’s why we set goals and make routines to keep ourselves on track and make it easier to do the things we need and want to do. Since January 1st, I’ve been fine-tuning my planner and journaling system to make it work hard for me so I don’t have to work as hard to stick to the goals I set. It looks like a lot – and it is – but it’s also quantifying pretty much everything I need to do in a day to keep myself, my household, and my family functional. When I check all the boxes, I feel good and get things done. When things start to slip, I feel crappy and overwhelmed. It’s that simple – and yes, that complicated. But welcome to life, right?
Here’s my current plan for Quarter 1 of 2019:
- Do Tai Chi for strength and flexibility every morning
- Visit with my son while I drive him to school every morning (a treat since he usually rides the bus, but our nasty weather making our roadways and walkways hazardous is making riding with me more convenient for him)
- Manifest, meditate, and pray every morning
- Do a candle and tea spell every morning
- Journal/Track physical self: pain, fatigue, mood, diet, activity, cycle, elimination (yep, poop is part of health, y’all)
- Journal/Track mental self: nature, crafting, physical self-care, mental self-care, hearth/home care, human connection
- Journal/Track spiritual self: daily tarot pull, moon phases, prayers, tea intentions, herbcraft, elemental magic
- Journal/Track struggles: boundaries, time management, mood control
- Use UV lamp for at least 15 minutes every morning to battle S.A.D./winter blues
- Diffuse essential oils daily depending on need (relaxation, easy breathing, etc.)
- Stick to the DASH Diet eating plan as closely as possible every day (even when I don’t want veggies and do want salty, greasy, carby things instead)
- Read one chapter of a book every day (either research or pleasure)
- Do daily house chores on rotation (run sweeper, do laundry, tidy up, etc.)
- Cook dinner at home/do dishes with boys every evening
- Spend time relaxing/snuggling with husband every evening
- Lotion hands well at least once a day
- Put lotion and socks on feet every night before bed
- Do hamstring and back stretches for mobility every night before bed
- Release energy that is not mine and call my own energy back to me every night before bed
- Visit with parents 2x week (once with boys)
- Do weekly house chores on rotation (change sheets, clean bathroom, change filters, dust rooms, etc.)
- Blog 2x week (aiming for more, but will consider 2x successful)
- Clean off desk and log spending once a week (write bills biweekly)
- Inventory and tidy pantry and fridge
- Plan and shop for healthy meals to cook at home
As long as I run through my routines every day, I keep myself humming along well enough physically, mentally, and spiritually that I have extra brainpower and energy to devote to that good, deep dreaming and clearing and movement that Imbolc encourages us to do.
And I am really excited (in my cup-half-full way) to dig in to what Imbolc’s energy is going to bring me. In the next few weeks, I’ll be examining the self-care and decluttering bandwagons (riding in a sidecar rather than jumping fully on, of course), writing about lots of different herbal remedies and handcrafts that will work some witchy magic into my winter days, and dreaming REALLY, REALLY HARD about a time when I’ll finally be able to get back out and dig my toes into some grass and my hands into some warm, wonderful dirt in my garden again. I really hope you’ll come along for the trip – it’s going to be fun.
So tell me – what does your wintertime routine look like here at the halfway point? Talk about it in the comments below or on Facebook in The Half-Assed Circle. Until next time!