For about ten years I thought of myself as an epic failure.
While being mama to two children born less than two years apart, I developed a severe chronic illness that caused daily migraines. I was (uknowingly) grieving the loss of tribe as I left church. And having lost my role as pastor, I was struggling to build a new career in the emerging world of online soulcare. I felt like a constant failure as health and family demands caused me to work at a maddening slow, halting pace, full of unexpected roadblocks. Then I had the brilliant idea to move us all overseas — adding the challenge of a cultural and language barrier. Plus, we’d moved to Copenhagen — at the same parallel as Anchorage – in the middle of winter. It was a long time before we saw the sun.
Through all of this I had one overaching thought:
Why can’t I get more DONE?
My Type A mental state just did not want to cooperate with what my body was throwing at me. I felt I should be able to — with shear strength of will — overcome.
One of the great gifts of living abroad was being amongst the intriguing ex-pats who worked alongside my husband. Smart and driven, these peers brought good humor and great conversation to our midst. Two of the women were especially accomplished. One had graduated from Harvard at 18. The other held an advanced engineering degree from MIT. Both of them thought nothing of flying to Croatia for a weekend, picking up a third instrument, or learning yet another language. They were, in a word, impressive.
Then one evening after dinner, we were talking about how the extremely short daylight was impacting us all. We walked the kids to school in the dark, they came home in the dark. In the depth of midwinter — if we didn’t have cloud cover — daylight arrived after 9am and was gone by 3pm. Then, one of these women confessed breeezily, “Yeah, at this time of year I just get in bed at 8pm. Why fight it?” And the other said, “Me too. I say I’m going to read, but I’m asleep within 15 minutes. I mean, we’re basically bears.”
These accomplished, driven, Type A women were totally down with their animal selves. It was winter. Time to hibernate. End of story.
This was one of the first times anyone had ever modeled seasonal pacing to me. The idea that we might be more productive one season, and slow down in another, had never broached my consciousness. As the product of “student leadership” programs, the only message I’d ever received was “produce.” Sure, there was lip service given to downtime and retreats — or in the parlance of my religious community “sabbath keeping.” But no one really did these things. After all, who had the time?
It’s little wonder I was as sick and worn down as I was.
But these women were modeling a different way. A way of pacing their life based on the seasons — more active and productive in the Spring and Summer, slower and more deliberate in the Fall and Winter. It was calendar of creative activity in tune with the creation.
I was gobsmacked.
(And so, So, SO relieved.)
Now that we too are here, at mid winter, awaiting the Long Night Moon, maybe we too should think about our animal selves. Maybe we should listen to our inner-bear.
Let things lie.
The tarot card I most associate with the Long Night Moon is the steady, steadfast Hermit. Withdrawing to his cave, Hermit calls us to our most nourishing meditative practices, so we can rest up and shine our light darkness without depletion. What would it look like for you to hibernate like Hermit this month?
What meditative practice might let you rest and renew during this hibernation period?
Let’s tarot together and find out.
Come find your mid-winter pace. Join me on the Long Night Moon as we tap into nature’s rhythm, our own intuition, and that mysterious something else that comes when we consult the cards.
Book a deep dive reading now, and I’ll read for you on December 13th. You’ll receive an audio recording of your reading + images on the 14th.
Ten spaces available. Click here to claim your spot.
May you find your pace and honor it well this winter.