Here we are, in the season between Imbolc (also observed as Groundhog Day, February 1) and Spring Equinox (March 21). Imbolc, a Celtic named holiday, celebrates the first wakings of the rootlings under the earth, readying themselves for the new sprouts that are almost ready to break the surface of the sopping wet ground. While we celebrate it here, it's much more applicable of a vision for, say Ireland, or even Virginia. For today in Central Vermont, I sit typing in my favorite chartreuse velour armchair by the wood stove, watching the blizzard continue to fall outside. It's cozy, it's slow, there's a certain amount of forced momentum that is needed to access the movement I know makes my body and mind feel best. I usually find this momentum inspired by the caffeine that enters my life in the form of full test Turkish coffee every morning from around mid-November until usually sometime near when the songbirds start nesting in May. Then, on most days, the sun's light and the bird song substitute for that other worldly feeling the caffeine supplies in winter.
So how do we do deep soul in deep winter? We remember who we are. We take the chance to settle into that place that, for me, sits right between the solar plexus and the lower gut, the place where I know in a silent way exactly the reason I'm here in this big world in this small way. It takes this extended season of winter for us to remember, to rest and take time, to connect with our velour armchair and our haunches as they rest upon it. To take time to connect with bathwater, with novel, with down comforter, seed catalog, with eye contact, with connection to those with whom we nurture love. With food and digestion. With songs. Those tunes of our souls and those made by strings and brass, and those that saunter from speaker.
And how do we do wellness in deep winter? Have we discussed foot baths? This, in my house, is how we do wellness in deep winter. The foot bath is as capable of delivering a potent herbal formula to the body and bloodstream as a steaming quart of tea. It's easy for elders and children to enjoy - often easier than getting a larger amount of tea in through the mouth.
Foot Bath Recipe
One pot of warm water (1 gallon), infused for 20 minutes with yarrow, calendula, lavender or plain. Optional: essential oils & 1/2 cup Epsom salts.
One Plastic Wash Basin placed upon Towel on floor in front of comfy chair. Pour warm water potion into basin.
Soak both feet, refreshing with warm water as needed. It's really sweet if you do this for a friend and they for you when needed.