I lean against the heavy door of 2018 and knock as loudly as I am able. It does not budge. I try the doorknob. It is still locked as before. I turn, put my back against it, and slide down to sit on the cold step. Nothing to do but wait.
This evening the dead weight of the sandbags I gathered and attached to my soul each month of 2017 is challenging to carry. Although I have accomplished a great deal today, removing many things from my end-of-the-year to-do list, I feel listless and unsettled. In just a few days, the new year will begin. I “should” be reviewing the past year and doing my planning rituals for 2018, but I do not have the urge to do so. I “could” be writing—there is that novel that has been waiting patiently for me to continue—but I do not feel inspired.
I do not feel inspired.
It is the season; I know that. This is the time of going inside, of slowing down, of allowing rest and rejuvenation. Less than a fortnight after the longest night of the year, I feel as though life remains on “pause,” waiting for the turn, waiting for the end of the hibernation that I have, so far, denied myself.
I remember the tea lights that I stored in a drawer some time ago, and the desire to honor the pause is set.
Recipe: Two cups each of baking soda and epsom salts, sprinkled generously in a tub of flowing hot water. Swirl until soda and salts are dissolved. Option: Add 5-10 drops of lavender or other essential oil of preference.
Candlelight illuminates the steam as it wafts across the surface of the water within the greater darkness. The bath is probably 99 degrees (as I fondly recall this year’s visit to Pagosa Springs); the air of the room held firmly at 69 by the central heater. That 30 degrees makes a great deal of difference.
Unlike the springs, I cannot fully submerge. The skin softens and thrills as it dips and rises from the water, alternating slowly between liquid heat and airy chill. I take long pauses in between to rest into the space of relaxation, surrendering the weight of the sandbags one by one to the water.
In one such pause, memories of the year come unbidden. Much was accomplished; some remains undone. Still, I feel blessed. The balance of the successes weighed against the challenges fares well overall. It was no simple thing, the launching of three major programs. I am grateful to those who journeyed with me and showed the way through them all.
“What is the smallest, most subtle move you can make
to adjust for greater comfort?”
Returning to the present, I feel the temperature of the water moderating, but a subtle shift in position to dip my shoulder deeper, raising the surface to my chin, assures me that it remains comfortably hot. My knee appreciates the dip, as well.
The body remembers. Every “punch in the gut,” each “heartbreak” and “stab in the back;” all the kisses, hugs, and explosions of joy. They are stored in the bio-energetic field, aligned with limb and organ. The body remembers them all so that it can learn to move toward Love and away from Fear.
Watery heat nudges into the body’s core, loosening the bonds. Bath salts and baking soda draw away the energetic fragments—pieces of emotions splintered by tripwires and triggers or simple exhaustion. They slip into the water like stale sludge held too tightly for too long, creating a spreading opening for creativity and hope.
It is peaceful in the candlelit darkness, held by water and the scent of lavender. This is different from waiting. It is a timeless pause between past and future. Nothing to do; nowhere else to be.
After a while, the body curls, pulls the plug, and stands without my intellectual decision or command. As the water slips down the drain, the shower is turned on—cool and forceful, sloughing off the remains, becoming clear and ready. A new day, a new year, is just around the corner.
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