What do we know of January?
It’s damp. Sometimes bitter. It’s saying goodbye to Christmas decorations that always seem to take much longer to put away than to bring out. It’s financial stretching, perhaps at home and certainly in most small businesses. It’s true winter, with all of the darkness that season can bring up for those of us who thrive in warmth and sunshine. To compensate, it’s hot tea and holiday pjs and wood fires and knitted socks. If we’re lucky, maybe it’s vacation, a chance to fool ourselves for a week or so, returning to hide our flip flops away for another few months.
It's also renewal. It’s a natural and literal turning of the page in our cosmos. I always feel some pressure here. Let’s do something, try something, say something, something new that will get me and others excited in the drudgery of the dark month. I feel that all over, and certainly in my thoughts about our little shop. What can we do to bring people in when they would rather be hibernating at home? Which new items can we add to get people shopping with us even when they might be feeling shopped out? I know I’m not the only one. Health goals, self improvement plans, bucket lists, newly crafted schedules and routines - you hear me. Fighting against ourselves to keep up with the markers we set and then disappointing ourselves when reality comes calling and we realize … oh yes, I really don’t have time for that, I don’t actually even enjoy that, and, also, that green drink tastes quite awful. Then, in the face of that letting go of the resolution, January kicks in, twice as dark as before, because now we feel like we have failed and, oh wait, the year has just begun. Sigh, right?
I have hatched chicks under a broody hen twice now. Both times, I have been a bad hobby farmer, candling the eggs well past the recommended “lock down” period, poking at the eggs checking for pips, picking up the eggs listening for peeping and generally just being a nuisance to the broody and the poor developing chick working to just grow. Not only is my interference no doubt annoying, it is also likely entirely counterproductive, creating danger and complication where there need not be any, introducing resistance that, were it not for my meddling, could have been avoided. And, the result, is the same. Chicks. Hatched. Despite my urge to know and control.
Eggs have been on my mind lately. They have been coming up here and there, not only in the coop or basket on my counter. Eggs are timing. And, timing, such that I don’t direct it, is difficult for me. I want to force the things. The mantra, “all in good time”, is just not my speed. So, I practice. Am practicing. Am recognizing and learning.
This one helps: “The egg is the trust that what is ours can never be taken from us, so there’s no need to answer the ego’s push to rush the process, to impress others, or to complete something on someone else’s timeline. The egg is faith that our process is sacred. That even in the midst of what looks like chaos, or delay, or even death, there a tendril of new life that needs only our trust to eventually take form. And the egg is the knowing that life begins again, after death, from within.”
Does this mean you can think about an egg instead of going to the gym three days a week at 6 a.m. like you promised yourself this January? Nice try, no. We all need resolve. We all need to look forward to something new. We all need discipline. And, January is as good a time as any to focus ourselves on how these things reasonably fit into our lives. But, truly, newness for the sake of, speeding up the process to get to the goal, pushing ourselves and others beyond boundaries to cheat the natural and necessary unfolding of time, is not going to get you the result you are due. Practice with me. Bundle up and let January happen.
*Our helpful excerpt above is from a lovely little discussion by author and meditation teacher, Meggan Watterson.