Energy Shifting in the New Year

“Energy Shifting in the New Year” – A Letter

February, 2007

Dear Ones –

Have you noticed an “energy shift” within yourself over just the past month?

Recall, if you will, that only four months ago, you may have been in a very “internal” state. Certainly, you got up and went to work — at least most days. You did what you needed to do for “life mainenance.” And as you recovered from the holiday season, and took a look at your bills, you probably made some “resolutions” about becoming more “on focus” with your financial life for this year.

Similarly, as you felt a little sluggish, and noticed a few extra pounds, you similarly resolved to “go on a diet” and “exercise more.”

And perhaps, as you contemplated the “pile-up” of things that you might have glossed over during summer — but are now much too evident in your home — you say to yourself, “This is it. This year, I have to get organized!”

During the deepest, darkest part of winter — during January — is not the time to make dramatic changes, no matter what our “New Year’s Resolutions” may suggest. But it is time to build some awareness and intention about what our desires really may be for this coming year.

Referring back to the “yin/yang” symbolism we considered in last month’s letter; even though we saw the birthing of “yang,” or outward-moving energy at the winter solstice, it was not yet formed. And it shouldn’t be. Deep winter is a time of energetic retreat and withdrawal, not of moving forward.

But even in the midst of winter, we see a renewal of life-force energy. We feel this as inspiration, and as desire.

Witch Hazel in Bloom; courtesy

Do you sense that these various resolutions, or intentions, have a common theme? Think about it. In one sense or another, they all have to do with cleansing, or purification. And while we may form these intentions in a sort of loose, disassociated way in January — in a way that reflects a dis-satisfaction with life as it is — we typically get the energy to “do something” in early February.

As we’ll note throughout the year, the inner sensings that we have often correspond to the ancient cycle of yearly celebrations and festivals. The festival honoring the energy-shift of early February is Imbolc , also known as Candlemas. If you research this festival, you’ll find that purification was a dominant theme. Then, as you reflect on your “New Year’s Resolutions,” you might realize that they all share in this common theme of “cleansing” — your home, your diet (perhaps even your physical body, through purifying tonics and healthier foods, and your overall energy patterns (another reason that we decide on an exercise program right about now). This even extends to “cleaning up” your finances, refocusing your business endeavors, and cleaning out clutter in all its forms.

You may find that this purification energy actually starts around Imbolc (traditionally, February 1st – 2nd), and really builds throughout the month. You might start with going back to the gym, or picking up an extra dance class. You might start with cleaning out just one box overflowing with “junk mail.” And you will find that near the end of the month, as the days are definatively longer and we start seeing true signs of spring, that your energy and intentions are becoming very strong!

If you are a Level 1 practitioner, you may desire to really immerse yourself into this art, and progress energetically as well as physicall. If this is so, start to pay more attention to the feelings in your body as you do your practice. Allow yourself some times when you slow your practice down, and just feel how your body wants to go. Also, begin to pay more attention to how you are responding to the energy shifts in the world around you. The large, sun-cycle, annual rhythms that I’m writing about now are the most overt, and hence the easiest, to tap into. Perhaps you want to keep a journal, and start noting how your energies are changing with the rhythm of the seasons. Over a period of two to three years, you will gain much more sensitivity — and much more capability — for working with seasonal energies in a relaxed and harmonious way.

If you are a Level 2 practitioner, this may be a time for you to develop greater clarity with your art. I recommend that you cultivate two kinds of “base” practices; one internal, and the other external. Your external practice is what you have been doing all along; going to class, practicing at home, getting more technique, refinement, focus, and clarity. This is where you engage your mind, actively studying music and developing choregraphies. The easiest thing about your external practice is that no matter how busy you are, it is relatively easy to schedule and track, because you feel that you are “doing something.” At the end of a session, you know that you have “accomplished something,” whether it is technique drill, core conditioning, or developing your latest dance.

In contrast, your internal practice may feel as though you aren’t doing anything. This could be a challenge, if you are used to measuring yourself in terms of how much you accomplish each day.

For those seeking to cultivate Level 3 capabilities, this is the best time — energetically — to start energy cultivation experiences, and to mesh them with the quiet time of dark winter, when it is easiest to do energy sensing.

Those who are doing a Level 4 practice will draw upon the nascent energy formation that we have in deepest winter, just before spring, to do very powerful internal work. This is a time for building what those in alchemical traditions call the “bud-will.”

For all of us, let’s remember that the practice of these different Levels is not meant to be an ego-thing. This morning, I took a half-hour of quiet time to do a Level 2 awareness and sensitivity practice, just “listening” to my spine and breathing with it. This afternoon, as we start a new Beginner’s class, I will be doing my own Level 1 practice even as I teach the Beginners. Level 3 can sometimes fit into an office day, doing a moment of energy-gathering before a big meeting. And while it is this dark and quiet, I sometimes find it useful to go to bed very early on a weekend evening, and get up – literally – in the middle of the night for some Level 4 “quiet time.”

And as an aside, for those of us who are at or are approaching a “certain age” — and who find themselves waking up in the middle of the night whether you want to or not — consider that this may be one way that your body is introducing you to a wisdom path.

Love to all – Alay’nya