Finding Determination in the Unknown

February 2, 2017

Today, February 2nd, is the festival of Imbolc, also known as Brighid's Day. Today marks the half-way point between the beginning of Winter and the Vernal Equinox, announcing the return of Spring and ever more present daylight. We are almost there!

In my last Metta's Mind post, I discussed the literal, figurative and spiritual darkness that Winter inherently brings forth. Today is a day for celebrating the unknown and the return to lightness. "Unknown" you say? Imbolc is a time of year when hope begins to arise. The harshest days of winter have passed and the natural world is gearing up for rebirth. Trees, animals and plants are beginning to transform the energy saved throughout the cold months into new roots, intentions and little beings. The celebration of the unknown on this day is a celebration that despite not knowing with any certainty that the light will return, nature continues to gather its energy and trust that wheel of the seasons will turn and Spring will show its colors again. This is not a guarantee. It is existential trust.

In our darkest moments, the beauty of the human spirit arises when we discover and cultivate the will and desire to keep going, building energy no matter how small, to fuel our desire for personal spring. We stumble, we fall, we climb back up, we fall again, but we keep moving forward. I think this is something worth celebrating. Our culture tends to celebrate large accomplishments and major shifts in life. From where I sit, this does not afford much time during our lives to actively celebrate. In truth, we change rather slowly. Of course, we all have moments when we take a leap of faith and push through long held fears but, honestly, the most substantial change in our lives happens incrementally. Today's place in the calendar is a reminder that beginnings happen, on cue, AND when we least expect it.

In reading about and discussing the meaning of Imbolc with others, the concept of beginner's mind arose. How perfect! Nature is beginning again, therefore so can our mind and our perception of ourselves in the world. The concept of expertise and the cessation of learning because we "have it all" surrounds us. It is often our cultural definition of success. I find beginner's mind far more interesting. Incorporating the hard earned knowledge accumulated over passing days with a cultivated curiosity about what we may yet learn. Forever trusting that more will come and wisdom can grow with the passing of time and new experience. What happens if our organism shuts off the mind and heart to the possibility of new ideas about ourselves and our community, the capacity for change and further integration of life? Nothing happens. Without movement of energy towards the unknown; Stagnation, Frustration, Depression and Death of the Spirit occur.

The biggest lesson of today is in order to bring about growth and change, we must face the fear of the unknown and trust our natural inclination to bend our leaves towards the light. Even on the darkest days of the soul, light endeavors to seep through the clouds. It seeps through in an unexpected phone call from a friend, a well timed session with your therapist, a smile from a stranger, a good meal, a strong and fragrant cup of coffee, the birds who stick with us through the winter singing in the morning. Trees and plants still grow in winter. So can we. I am a witness to it within every brave soul with which I share space. The light is there...and is growing daily. Let's take a moment today, stand up, raise our eyes to the sky, stretch out and smile, shout, laugh and thank the bright sun for bringing the light back to our bodies. I truly wish you all a blessed and warmth filled day!

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       Melissa Schleicher-Park, LCPC, BC-DMT                                     1818 Dempster Street, Evanston, IL                                            melissa@mettacounselingchicago.com      

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