Of Ice and Islands (stirrings and musings at Imbolc)

Just a post to let you know how I’m doing, as I’ve been quiet!

This break from blogging and taking time to journal ‘just for me’ again has given me space to form a clear vision of what I want this blog to look like in 2015.  Of course, I love to share useful creative tips and ideas, and will always do that, but I feel the need to share a little more of the everyday, the life-stuff, too.

Blogging is a very vulnerable process, often rewarding, sometimes scary.  I get so much from reading the musings of other creative souls out there that I feel it’s important I don’t hold back.

So, where am I right now?

January has been about healing from a bout of lurgy-bug-thing that I had after Christmas. Combined with SAD (Seasonal Affective disorder) it’s made me feel the need to go slowly into 2015.

Interestingly, as a result I didn’t get the usual mid-January post-festive crash.  A good discovery!

Of course life has continued and we’ve had plenty going on at The Art House, food and frolics are the usual order of the day there.

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There have also been muddy walks, well wrapped up against the chilly weather.

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and of course, tea and journalling – by a fire if I can find one!  I’ve spent a lot of the past few months tracking down pubs and hotels with open fires, as these just make the winter far more luscious.

I’m eyeing up our own inactive fireplace with some plots for next year – maybe….

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We’ve just come back from an Art House crew retreat on beautiful Brownsea Island – a friend let us all stay.  It was good for all of us to get into a different environment, eat, drink and chat – and go for long walks, even though the day was icy.  

The day after we got back, it snowed outside (OK, South of England snow – very little and it was gone by lunchtime!).

I chose to step out of ‘doing’ for the day and took some time to rest in the cosy warm, reflecting on what has been illuminated for me this Imbolc.

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Imbolc is the first festival of Spring, it’s halfway between Yule (midwinter) and Ostara (the Spring equinox) so it’s the festival of small stirrings.

It’s also a time of fire and candlelight and I look for ways to illuminate truth in my life at this time.

The fires of Imbolc can light up what’s beautiful and positive – they can also show less comfortable truths.

Illumination sometimes shows what we don’t wish to see, sometimes it shows the right path stretching off in an unexpected direction, or the true nature of a friendship, or somewhere we’re just not getting things right.

That process can be painful, but it’s also necessary if we’ve been ignoring our intuition – and we all do that, right?!

You may want to spend some time with a candle or even a fire, over the next few weeks, thinking about what is being illuminated for you.  Spending time looking at flames not only warms the heart and body, but also helps with focus.

I recommend it and send you a clear little candle, burning brightly, to light your path!

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After coming back from the retreat, I spent a day journalling with a specific focus on re-orienting to the path I want to be following.

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It’s pretty important to check one’s bearings and adjust course fairly regularly – I find if I don’t, I get into a rather lost state.  At the moment the best way to describe my headspace, I suppose, is that I’m still checking my compass and trying to decide my bearings for the year.  As we move into Spring, it’s a good time to slow down and do this.

Last year was very much about adjusting to a lot of changes at The Art House, and a lot of challenges, especially having to take over the financial duties which I hadn’t done before (the person doing them left).  This made me face yet more money demons!

When you run a heartfelt business, money is a troublesome thing – you need it, but your compass has to be pointed at your social aims, not profit.  Sometimes, things around you can cause you to become disorientated with this, especially if money is tight or costs are increasing (both of which we faced last year).

Going away and then reflecting when I came back reminded me that our purpose – to spread art, community and sustainability – is enough to guide us.  We cannot be guided by the money, we have to allow it to come in, of course, but it’s not the driving force behind what we do.

This year feels like it will be the year of reckoning for this.  I hope our people support us, I hope our staff and volunteers step up to the challenge and most of all, I hope I can handle this!

(Any encouraging comments welcome!)

How are you today?  What does the light of Imbolc show you?  Please share in the comments!

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