The Midpoint of Winter: Returning to Light and Making Room for the Future

Today – February 2, 2021 – is the midpoint of winter, which means we’re halfway to spring. It is also Imbolc, which in the Celtic seasonal calendar signals the beginning of spring and the stirrings of new life. It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, and of earth awakening. It’s a time of hope and returning to light.

When I lived in San Diego, this date and significance meant nothing to me — because seasons, in the traditional sense, did not really exist in Southern California. But after five winters in Indiana, I’ve come to really look forward to this date and the coming of spring.

I like winter … the snow, boots and comfy clothes, running without humidity, colder temperatures, fireplaces, soups and comfort food, and the like. But this year, I’ve found myself aching a bit more for spring, for slightly warmer temperatures, for more daylight, and for time to pass just a little faster.

When I sat down to write this post, I struggled with the idea of how I’d write about this point in the year. In the past, I’ve written blog post about what’s saving my life at the midpoint of winter. I still like that idea, but I didn’t want to do that this year because it felt repetitive.

In some ways, I think maybe I’m struggling because the future still feels so unknown. One could argue that the future is always unknown, and that’s true. But I think given the pandemic — really since last March — everything that was planned or felt secure essentially went out the window. So while I’m certainly looking forward to spring, the transition doesn’t feel as “easy” as just waiting for a month until all the winter darkness will be gone.

That’s when I went back to the idea of Imbolc and really embracing the idea of awakening, letting go of the past, and making both outer and inner space for new beginning. I have been working on my outer space for the past few weeks, and shedding things that no longer fit my life. But for me, I think what I need is releasing inner space. And to do that, I need to continue to cleanse myself of last year, and fully accept where I am today, even if it’s not how I imagined I’d be (i.e. my physicality, running, debt, etc.). Because only through true acceptance does change become possible.

As I was thinking about all this yesterday, I came across a Facebook post by a friend and fellow runner, Amanda, who recently made a scary and brave career/life choice. She wrote the following:

“Sometimes the boundary between ‘giving up’ and ‘moving on’ is blurred, and the idea of change only compounds. But eventually it becomes clear and it doesn’t mean failure. Making changes is super hard, but once you actually do it, it’s amazing!”

What she wrote really resonated with me, and was exactly what I needed to read at this midpoint of winter and spring, this time of beginning. I’m not at a point where I have to make life-altering changes anymore (at least not this week). But I am at a point where I need to change my mindset a bit, and choose to accept myself and be a little kinder to myself.

So instead of focusing on winter being almost over and what’s saving my life, I’m choosing to focus on this being a time of growth, new beginnings, light and the future. And while I don’t know what the future holds for me, I’m going to try very hard to continue accepting myself and to “go with the flow.” Honestly, the only things I can control are myself and my actions. So I’ll continue to be myself … to do the things that give me life and passion … to be a (somewhat) good mother to my daughter … to keep working to earn money to support my life … to spend time with and have conversations with the people that mean the most to me. Essentially, all the things that save my life, any time of the year.

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