Today I celebrate Imbolc, the ancient Celtic holiday that marks the beginning of spring. Back in the day, when crops were vital and the sun’s return ensured a good harvest, winter was a scary time. Would the sun really return?
The beginning of February, Imbolc, is the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox and marks the time when the earth starts to thaw, the days grow a little longer and the time to plant seeds draws near. Like standing on a threshold, winter is behind us and spring looms before us. This is a time of both seasons – winter can whimper its last breath and spring whispers its arrival: snow can still fall even though the delicate crocus are poking their heads out of the earth.
I love how the earth mirrors my life and is, in fact, a metaphor for my life’s cycles. In the circle of the year, Imbolc is the time of hope. I, too, am cycling back round to hopefulness around my body and my ability to take care of it.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes at Imbolc. Albert Camus said, “In the midst of winter I learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” On my walk tonight I felt the hope, not only of spring’s return, and ultimately summer, but that my body is returning to me – or I am returning to my body.
I was talking to my children the other day about how my walks are helping me in a myriad of ways. Not only am I walking, but I’m keeping all my joints lubricated. Aches and pains that bothered me just a few months ago are drastically better. My mood is better and I’ve even lost a few pounds. I’m much more aware of the food I put in my body. Even when it’s junk, I’m not eating mindlessly. Every cookie that enters my mouth is well considered.
That I’m bringing this kind of awareness to my body is hopeful indeed. I’ve spent years assuming my body will take care of itself, essentially ignoring my body. I’ve been afraid of getting to close to this body that I spent years thinking had betrayed me. I’ve taken my body for granted and have not honored it as the precious vehicle that it is.
I’m not at the point of doing all the right things yet and, quite frankly, I don’t know that I ever will. But I am hopeful that I’m able to take care of my body and create a new, more loving relationship to her.