The Wild Edged In-Between Time of Late Winter

Wan February with weeping cheer,
Whose cold hand guides the youngling year
Down misty roads of mire and rime,
Before thy pale and fitful face
The shrill wind shifts the clouds apace
Through skies the morning scarce may climb.
Thine eyes are thick with heavy tears,
But lit with hopes that light the year's.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

I am in the throes of helping several people with the flu – and, it made me think about the importance of a “healer’s self-care.” Even in today’s current headlines, governments and health care systems put the health care workers’ health as a priority.

For, if we do not have healthy doctors, nurses, herbalists, naturopaths, we are in a weak position to help society.

In this flu season, we are not only dealing with the increased need for help – but, the fact that we are in a transitional state in nature and time: Cold/Warm. Dark/Light. Hibernate/Expand.

Our busyness opaques purpose and we speed towards Spring without completion of Winter self-care chores.

Like most buds appearing now, which have yet to be a leaf, a flower or a fruit, we are the same way. We are still embracing our potential for the year – prepping and growing.

It isn’t yet time to be at “full-blown” leaf or blossom.

Transitions in the seasonal year, to me, are the toughest. One foot in one season and one foot in another. And, the balancing act is personal, private, and powerfully influential on the year to come.

We are STILL experiencing WINTER – but, are feeling the QUICKENING of SPRING. We have to bound the “quickening” we feel with preparation – just like a mom and child. The birth is yet to come.

And, with the increase in light and energy, we have to allow the thaw of winter to slowly melt the cold and to allow the energy of Spring to help us move forward.

You will see people jumping in right now – quite energetically, fast and furious – to begin the process of life in nature whether foraging or gardening. But, observe and note that now is the time for anticipation, preparation, carefulness.

It isn’t yet time for full awakening…It is a time of promise – just like the seeds below ground beginning to send out the radicle root.

This is also a tempting time to run away from what needs to be completed. Have you finished your plans? Have you addressed the “winter learnings?” Are you avoiding the final to-dos? Have you crossed the “Winter Finish Line” yet?

In addition, it is a time for people who see the immense year ahead and begin to feel defeated – especially if they struggle with SAD or mental health issues. Keep a lookout for them and help.

So, what do we need to be doing until Spring?

  1. Finish your planning – get your vision into actionable thoughts.
  2. Nourish your ideas – nourish YOUself with continued prayer, meditation, attention, and ritual. Get outside – breathe the fresh air.
  3. Review how “healthy and balanced” your life is – how do you rate yourself? Spiritual/Faith. Mental. Physical. Financial. Family. Home. Garden. Friendships. Business.
  4. Fill in the gaps of your self-care. Winter makes it easy to work on self-care because we are physically insulated. Take these cool days of late Winter to establish a supportive routine for the energy taxing days to come.
  5. Begin the thought process of “spring cleaning” and “beautifying.” From your Winter learnings, what needs to be taken away in home, life, gardens? What needs your attention?
  6. Don’t put your “knees out over your skis” meaning do not get ahead of yourself. In skiing, it means being too aggressive and leaning too far forward. Stay in the present moment by finalizing your plans, reviewing your self-care plan, being truly honest with yourself about where you need to fill in the gaps.
  7. Keep working with herbs such as mushrooms, turmeric, ginger, ginseng, astragalus, burdock, dandelion – warming, immune supportive, root & berry-based, etc.

Wow. I have some work to do. Do you?

Be kind to yourself during this transition. Stay present. One step at a time. Balance your expectations. Reach out for help.