I’ve just had a lovely catchup with fellow doula Hazel Acland Tree with whom I have fortnightly accountability calls (I can’t recommend doing this enough by the way).
During our call I expressed how frustrated I am with my desire to go forward and make plans now that we’re at the beginning of the year, and the energy I’m feeling instead, which is quite inward and not at all forward at the moment.
Whilst chatting to Hazel I had a realisation that the energies right now, during the winter time, are indeed inwards, and that it doesn’t make sense that we are expected to make our yearly plans in January. We ought to make them in the summer, when our energy is high, and outwards looking.
When I was a biology student, I went to a lecture on chronobiology, the science of “when” rather than “why” and “what”. This made so much sense to me and attracted me so much I ended up specialising in it, and doing my PhD and 2 postdocs on the genes the regulate our seasonal reproductive clock.
I remember during the introduction lecture, the speaker explained that since we are regulated by daylight, our energy is naturally higher in the summer when days are longer, and that in the past, as most people farmed the land, they worked much harder during spring and summer than during the winter months when nothing grew. When school became obligatory, the farmers agreed to send their kids to school but said they’d need them back for the harvest, which is how the tradition of summer holidays started.
Yet, even in our modern world, we still experience this annual peak and through of energy.
Like trees losing their leaves and returning their energies inwards before the new growth can occur, we too, during winter, need this inwards and more restful time.
As I talked about my plans and my frustration in trying to push through, but also about my knowledge that I want to lay down some feelings for the year ahead, meditate and make a vision board before I start getting down to the nitty gritty of what I’m going to do in 2019, my friend suggested very wisely suggested that rather than looking for the fruit I needed to tend to my roots first.
I loved this very powerful image, especially as our culture is all focused on results, ie the fruits.
But you can bear no fruits if you do not tend to, or nourish the roots.
This also reminded me of another powerful story in the (surprisingly spiritual) book “The 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey.
” Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.
“What are you doing?” you ask.
“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”
“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”
“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”
“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”
“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”
Stephen Covey goes further in saying that
” Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”
You can read example of such activities here
There is true magic in stopping, resting and taking stock and seeing the forest for the trees.
I have written about this topic before, but today I feel that I have embedded this knowledge at a deeper level.
So I’m going to take my own counsel today and only attend to what really needs to be done, so I can rest and retreat inside myself a little, so I can tend to my roots.
I know that doing this will allow for more beautiful flowers and fruits in the future.