Fallow January

Today I'm going to explain why I don't make New Year's resolutions.

Some time ago, having spent as many years as anyone else making well-intentioned plans for the coming calendar year, and as many years failing to keep to them, I started reading about druidry (also Buddhism, and Taoism, and we can talk about them another day). The ancient practice of honouring the seasons led me to watch the nature around me with greater attention and I learned about Imbolc, the celebration of beginning of the Light Year on 1st February. At this time, bulbs are emerging, days are noticeably lengthening, and the temperatures are beginning to rise. Birds are in full voice, early blossoming trees are laden with buds. The world is waking once more.

The more I considered this, the more strange it seemed to dive straight from a week or two of restful indulgence into a fully fledged attempt to rewrite our most entrenched habits, during short, cold and frequently wet days. I tried something else. I allowed my mind and spirit to adjust more slowly, gently leaving December and its relaxation and celebration behind, and just be during January. This is a month in which I do not expect to be productive, yet of their own accord, just as new leaf shoots silently emerge in the woods around me, ideas and plans begin to quietly and intuitively grow, (If you like the concept that fresh ideas are received rather than created, this "fallow" season feels like making a receptive home for them, a blank canvas, a quiet space, richer soil).

This approach is not without its risks. I'm prone to low mood at this time of year, and I have to watch myself during this slower time. Beginning 2021 in lockdown is disruptive and disturbing, so I am careful about what I watch, read and listen to, and what I give mental time to. Still, if you are prepared to stand guardian for your mind, I give you Fallow January as an experiment. Try falling in step with the natural world, and see if you like it.

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