Tag Archives: new year

New Year Dip

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

New year. Warm fire. Cold air. Cold sea. Warm sun. Elements balanced as we summit the midpoint of The Omen Days. It suddenly seems appropriate that New Year is the climax of the Twelve days of Christmas. That we begin on twenty-sixth of December and end on sixth of January. Today, this Celtic practice feels ancient.

Sustained practice brings results as insight emerges. The biologist experiencing oneness as he contemplates how the atoms and molecules of people and places are universally shared. How plant growth depends on both darkness and light – on soil and on sunshine.

Beetroot Seedlings
Beetroot Seedlings

Seeds planted now will likely be harvested in July, but we shouldn’t worry if they need a little more time. In my garden, I have chili peppers planted last January that are still fruiting!

Retreats are a wonderful time out of time, but daily meditation adds magic to ordinary life. Diving into wintry water, members of our community emerge joyful into bright sun. We are thankful for deep connection. To ourselves, to nature and to each other.

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Pilgrims

On the Second Day of Christmas

As soon as I wake, I’m looking for signs, but outside the window is still and quiet. Ordinary. Just the distant sound of a tractor breaking up stony ground, reminding me that Spring comes early here. We’re heading out on a hike and I stretch my calf muscles in preparation, but there’s no stretch I can do for the tightness in my mind. Not grumpy, exactly, but wound up and in. The sun holds promise on top of hills, but for ages we walk in a valley, still and quiet and cold. Camino pilgrims three, we fall into easy rhythm.

We all want a bit of magic, don’t we? But clinging so hard makes it difficult for magic to appear. I have a vision of grabbing the throat of somebody whilst begging them to speak. Rounding a corner, I spy white feathers on the ground and next to them, a pool of black feathers. It feels significant, but how?

The day unfolds and just at our destination, a restaurant. Portuguese, like our camino. A moment where life shows herself to be not only precise, but amusing! Back in town, we bump into a friend, then two more, to whom we offer a lift. After a long day out, the cat is pleased to see us home.

Don’t be in a rush to force #February to give up her secrets. Stay balanced, putting one foot in front of the other. Trust that what you need will show up – perhaps with a sense of humour! Know that you have friends and support, should you need it.

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Transition Time

I’m not sure if I’m a fan of Christmas but I do love fairy lights and I love bringing red plants like cyclamen and poinsettia into my home at this time of year. In folk lore, cyclamen is said to increase self esteem, love and protection. It has a brightness that speaks of happiness and hope. I love how Yuletide can conjure an air of enchantment, bringing magic to the mundane, but this mystical awakening is available every day, when I am able to slow down enough to let nature speak. This year, after a bumper harvest , I can also add threads of red hot chili peppers to the decorations!

Threading Chili Peppers
Seasonal Reading

I have the privilage to be spending winter solstice in the company of Satish Kumar, whose new book Elegant Simplicity I recommend to you. He is visiting Can Bordoi, an eco-educational project in rural Catalunya and as in ancient times, we will gather to celebrate the wisdom in the cycle of the seasons and the return of the light after midwinter. Some other enchanting books that would make wonderful seasonal reading include Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Time to Think by Nancy Kline, Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin and Kith by Jay Griffiths.

New Year Inquiry

As well as the warmth of cosy fireside and roasting chestnuts, I do feel internal pressure from a few too many social events. It’s lovely to connect with friends and family, but winter also signals a turning inward, a pause in time and space inviting reflection. There is some agitation, too, when I am asked to “set intentions” and while I’ve no doubt that making single-pointed wishes can be successful, I wonder, how can I leave space for the unexpected? The magical? The divine? When I loosen the grip on my wishes, I feel a welcome sense of leaning back, relaxation and even relief. Do I have to “get” everything I want during the coming year? What if I don’t know what I want?

Since arriving in Spain three years ago, I’ve felt a lot less clear about where life is taking me. This is very challenging! Turbulent political situations make future plans uncertain and our ecological landscape portends disaster. My spiritual practice has slowed to a kind of paso a paso approach, but what a delight it can be to live in the slow lane. The hard work of renovating our small casita home is almost complete and increasingly, I just want to remain really still and let life come to me.

In establishing a way of being that destroys neither us nor the earth we on which we depend, a transition has to be made. So many of us, like the earth, are running on empty. Over ten years of the Living in the Future project, we’ve told many stories involving outer transition – towards affordable, sustainable homes and vibrant communities. But outer transition is inevitably accompanied by inner transition and as well as enjoying stories about ecovillages and low impact living, I thrive on deep work around inner transformation.

New from Living in the Future in 2019

In an attempt to help facilitate this inner shift, in 2019 you can expect online group meditations from Living in the Future, offering support and community for the inner journey. We also have an upcoming book publication which straddles this inner/outer divide. If you have time over the holy days, take some personal space to discover our existing guided meditations on Insight Timer and for a unique Solstice celebration, I invite you to join our little group on the beach in Spain!

Wishing you all a Happy Yuletide and a Peaceful New Year.
with love,

Helen and the Living in the Future Team

PS. Use the YULE18 to claim 50% off Living in the Future online films.

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Reflections

Since Christmas, I’ve been undergoing a small experiment. It started with an inspiration from author and shaman Caitlin Matthews and resulted in twelve days of reflections, which can be taken as oracles for the year ahead. Seeking a simple way to publish, I chose Instagram and each day added a photograph which I felt added to the experience. After the experiment, I have continued to post the odd reflection, basing them on daily events, inspiration from others, meditations and time in nature. Here’s my ‘forecast’ for March 2018, in case you’d like to come along for the journey!

View this post on Instagram

#twelvedaysofchristmas Day 3 – 28th December – Forecast for #March2018 I'm feeling lazy today. When consciousness knocks, I keep my eyes firmly closed, not yet ready to start moving. I want to stay warm, cozy and quiet. Dreams turn into meditations as I deliberately keep my mind from wandering too far away. When I finally agree to let the light in, I see this tree outside my window, already illuminated with sun. The new birdhouse sits waiting while potential occupants flutter about, tasting the treats left out for them. How does Nature greet a new day? With gentle acceptance. In rain or shine, bluster or stillness, the tree and the birds just get on with it. Perhaps March 2018 will require some quiet determination. Some firm resolve. But then also, March is the month when a soothsayer warned Caesar to stay home and when he didn’t, there was trouble! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ides_of_March ) Sometimes, there might be wisdom in staying still. Sometimes we do need that extra hour of feeling safe in our bed, if we're lucky enough to have a safe bed. #twentyeighteen #forecast #divination #timeoutoftime #signsandwonders #idesofmarch #meditation #mindfulness

A post shared by Helen Iles (@helenlitf) on

 

By the way, for those of you asking about Simon and Jasmine Dale, who lost their amazing eco-home on New Year’s day to fire, over 1100 people have donated to their crowdfund, raising £35,000 so far. The family have expressed their thanks and gratitude for all the support and are taking some time out to dream up the next stage of their lives.

 

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