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Celebrating Slowness with a Stirring and a Twitch

Today, to honor what some of us recognize as Imbolc or Groundhogs Day, I wish to write about how I gently train myself to slow down, celebrate and observe times of wondrous change in my Northern Michigan home-place.

One of the blessings I have living in this north woods land near a very big lake is the opportunity to wander, connect and explore the woods and the lakeshore. It’s even
easier for me to do since I gave up owning a car. Every day I get out of my sheltering home, my head up in the sky, my feet on the ground; pedaling my bike along the bay; over to our community garden; or to our food co-op. Those seem to be my oft traveled routes, and I try to make sure that there is, in summer, a greener scape; and in winter, a frozen waterscape accompanying me.

Another gift, is a deeper and wider opportunity to observe and interact with all that is around me… make “friends” with natures’ seasonal cycle and what each of these changes bring. Again bike riding assists me greatly, bringing me closer to all these other elements in my surrounding. And it’s more than just watching the seasons change automatically, from winter to spring to summer to fall. It’s also observing the stirring and twitching, the process of change, and all the incredible, pulsing pieces laid out and carrying on around me.

WIth my best intentions, as a non-fixed species, I can get up in the morning and easily skim right by something absolutely spectacular paying it no never mind. Thanks to a little camera my daughter gave me recently, I’m beginning to realize how I’m completely missing out on observing and taking in a nourishing gift of energy the complex, natural world offers up.

Another way I’ve “trained” myself to honor change (… and to the great frustration of some of the folks that I work along side of…) I often do not know what day or time it is. Except for the time recorded on my computer and phone, which is plenty, I don’t have a clock or watch in my home-place or studio. Listening to a clock tick is one of the most offensive noises I’ve ever encountered. Having an alarm go off is an incredibly horrible way to greet the morning. I go to bed when I’m tired. Sometimes this happens at 7:30 at night in the colder seasons. I get up when I’m rested. Sometimes this happens at 4:30 a.m. Two of my inspirations to honor this kind of “time” are my children. Having children and observing babies as time-keepers helped me a lot. They sleep when they need to, they wake up when they are rested. Why did we big people ever change this system?

Without adhering to every whim and sometimes imposed upon religious or spiritual tradition, I also have taken on observing the natural cycle of seasonal change by singing little ditties or chants as I walk along or ride my bike. Sometimes these are of Native American or Pagan traditions. I love my home-place on planet Earth and I give it recognition and yes, greet it each morning and sometimes sing to it.

When I was a little girl, I used to sit in a swing under a big maple tree in our yard and make up what I would call la-la songs. Little songs, or chants that would begin and repeat themselves over and over, until I became tired, or they ended. Some people whistle, some people hum, I sang la-la songs. I’m so pleased to have a singing/chanting mentor in my older life, and this week, true to her singing self, she gifted me with a new song, which I will sing for anyone today that asks for it to celebrate Imbolc or Groundhogs day.

Here it is:

Let the river run through me
Let the healing waters flow
Let the river run through me
Let the healing waters flow
The earth she wants me
The earth she wants me
The earth she wants to take me home

Slowing down, celebrating and observing times of change, has helped me to deal with not so fun times when tough things happen. Letting go of the mad rush to do-do-do, fix-fix-fix, or to keep up with priorities and expectations that our human species and work life has brainwashed us with, does not necessarily make it easy. Our big brains and civilized ways of living, often make us forgetful that stuff needs to compost or thaw out in it’s own time. It’s BIGGER work to slow down and allow this natural process.

It’s also BIG work for me to remember that my holy days or holidays are not necessarily the same as others. Especially when much of the human world keeps plowing forward and churning on all around me.

Today, I’m taking the day “slow” and celebrating this time of stirring, twitching change, the mid-point between winter solstice and spring equinox. I plan to sing a few songs to the water, woods, and the few “dragon’s teeth ice-cicles” that remain…to my children who’ve taught me much, and to all the creative tinkerers out there tinking away. I might even write a poem.

What you are doing on this very lovely day, that falls in between this and that?