Happy Imbolc, Saint Brigid's Day, Ground Hog Day, or whatever name you use to celebrate the middle, the turning from winter to spring. February 1 / 2 is known by different names and celebrated in a variety of ways, but we are all spinning on this planet together, so call it whatever you want and celebrate together!
I love the chestnut holding its seed in the middle of the mandala above. It seems to represent the cold, prickly winter holding, slowly opening, and ready to let the seed go into the world that constantly turns.
I try to celebrate this day every year with a meditative, intentional walk. I am sure there are extensive guides and suggestions on google for walking and forest bathing, but here are just a few, simple ideas form my own experience for being present, respectful, and grateful during your walk.
*Just do it! Don’t allow the weather to discourage you or change your intention. If the conditions is really hard to handle, you can always make it a short walk. Even just standing out in the weather for a few moments to experience the time and place with all your senses can be a very meaningful practice. Or, you might actually find that you are be tougher than you thought and may like walking in inclement weather. This year I rediscovered I love cold, winter walks! Be brave! Grow your confidence!
*Find a spot(s) nearby to claim as your own. My favorite places to walk are about forty-five minutes away by car, so I have had to adopt new places that are more convenient to get to. Visiting one place regularly gives you a sense of connection, reassurance, stability, and hope as you watch the predictable changes in the seasons. Get to know specific trees, sounds, plants, etc. and look for them every time you visit. Over time, you will learn to know and love the new path.
*Always pause before beginning your walk to let your body, mind, and spirit you know are entering sacred space. (Sacred meaning set apart) Take an intentional moment to close your eyes, calm your body, and slow your breath.
*Before you begin your walk, acknowledge the four directions. I like to pause and face each directions with eyes open and then closed. Closing your eyes allows you to really hear what is going on and feel connect with other senses. Begin in the direction of north (winter) or east (spring) and turn to the next moving to the right. Additionally, you may find particular places during your walk that are good for this! In our area, a break in one of the many old stone walls in the middle of the woods is perfect.
*Carry a rock, stick, acorn, or other some other object from the land while you walk. I do this not only to connect, but find it helpful to bring me back into the moment if my mind begins to wander to other times or places, past or future. Rocks are particularly nice for this because they are grounding and specific to the place. Leave the object at the end of your walk.
*When you are finished walking, pause again to give gratitude to the ground with all the creatures and ancients it holds under your feet, the plants and animals, seen and unseen, that welcomed you into their home.
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