There have been springs when I knew I wasn’t feeling it, so much of my life innately wintery that emotionally I couldn’t engage with the return of light and life. Emotional winters are a lot easier when the rest of nature reaffirms them, but once all the nest building and sap rising gets going, it can be hard not feeling like a part of that. This winter has been deep and dark for me. I’ve been really bodily ill, I’ve gone through yet another round of awful depression, I’ve had a real intellectual crisis around my work, and some kind of emotional meltdown to boot.
The sun is out today, the snowdrops are up, and Imbolc approaches. The time of seasonal rebirth is upon us. This year I’m not feeling a barrier between myself and the season. I can go with it. I’ve had some profound revelations about the changes I need to make in my work. Opportunities have opened up, and my body is healing. I have a long legacy of fear and distress to deal with and a pressing need to rediscover myself and figure out who I am. That’s all a part of the rebirthing process, some of it may hurt, but, so be it.
I’m aware of how much my upheavals and dramas impact on the people around me, how they can be interpreted and understood. I’ve been told that, having found the person I claim as my soul mate, I ought to be able to get on with living happily ever after. I think there are times when Tom feels he ought to be able to magically fix everything for me. Of course that’s rubbish, and the love of other people is never going to save anyone. Support, comfort, friendship, patience and encouragement are incredibly valuable, but you cannot forcibly love someone out of depression or personal crisis. You can just keep holding them and reminding them how to keep going. Rebirth is not the same as birth – no one else can do it for you, or to you.
That said love has always been an essential part of life for me. Love where what you give is returned, is a healing and inspiring experience. Love that seems one sided, that becomes an excuse to cause pain, love that is all about demand, and ownership, and control, is only love in name, and what it does, day after day is to make it harder to give and to care. I’m starting to recognise how shut down I’ve become, how unwilling to share my heart. It’s not just a fear of rejection, it’s a fear that I am somehow an affront to other people. That’s my history speaking. I’ve been told how destructive and hurtful my love can be, but I don’t have to believe that any more.
The sap is rising, and by slow degrees I can feel my heart opening up again. Tragic news stories make me want to cry. But that’s okay, and perhaps as it should be. Depression is a non-feeling state, a defensive retreat from painful excess. I don’t want to be there anymore. I do want to care, and feel, and open my heart and give more freely of myself. I know that birth is a messy, visceral, dangerous and painful sort of process. Without birth, you don’t get life. Time to come out of the darkness and learn how to love again. How to love life, and people and places. Also, how to love myself, which has always been beyond me. That needs to change.
I’ll end with some lovely words from a February song by Jehanne Meta
I’ll not expect this year to bring
A fortune then, or anything
But love, and just the chance to sing
All these new songs in my pocket.
I’m working on the new songs, too.