A Voyage for Madmen: New Year Resolutions and Nature's Timelines

free magic lifestyle pipaluk seasonal magic Jan 10, 2024

Imagine you decide to go around the world in a sailboat and you just set sail and go. For a fascinating account on how that might turn out you can read A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols. Out of the 9 people who set out on that journey, only one person made it back. It's a true story and an adventurous read filled with death and madness.

I share this with you because if you are like most of us, you have set some intentions and goals for the year to come. The ending of our calendar year marks a fresh start and even in old pagan traditions we find the sun is reborn on the longest night and the promise of new life sings in our ancient blood.

The urge is to get going. Vacations end, work begins, and if you listen to your body you might discover that it would prefer to relax a bit more instead of jumping straight into the endless lists that never get done. One check-mark leads us to the next and before two months are over many find their good intentions and life-changing goals are distant memory or a dreadful reminder that nothing has changed and all is as it was before.

We can argue that if the winter solstice and Christmas season is a time of rest and dark days and dreaming into the new year, where the sun is but a tiny, little baby, then now the sun is just a little child. So, if we are to truly live with the season, then now is a time of play, imagination, and brainstorming on how we are going to live the way we intend to and the steps we can take so that we actually reach our goals.

The drawing board comes after the idea and before taking action. Every idea is welcome, every out-of-the-box thought has its place, and every excursion, game, or hike can effectively offer interesting contributions. After all, many of the best ideas came in the shower, on a walk, or by accident, and not in the middle of taking action step after action step.

We can even dig into the ancient empire of Rome, whose new year was celebrated on March 1st. Even more fitting with our place in the cosmos is Nowruz, the Persian New Year, placed on the Spring Equinox. It is only after this day that the light takes over and the days are longer than the nights. 

It is utopian to expect ourselves to quit our responsibilities and do as the plants or bears do. After all, that would mean we would have to deny the times we live in, and that our bodies need food and some form of movement all year round, and our children don't just go to sleep for a few months, nor does the society we live in. But small steps and changes can be easy to implement and a little eventually always amounts to a lot.

Let's circle back to our grand plans for the new year. Perhaps we want to eat healthier, cook more, exercise more, spend less time on social media, eat more or eat less, make more time to relax and daydream, show up for daily meditation and magic, or whatever else we thought of.

Does it make sense to expect ourselves to jump straight into a new life when the clock strikes midnight? Should we at least wait until our holiday hangover has receded? Or even better, could we spend three months figuring out how we can best make intentions and goals come to fruition within the boundaries of the life that we live and all this in a sustainable way?

Here's a new timeline to experiment with:

Winter Solstice - January 6th: Dreaming through the dark days. Intentions, goals, ideas, and wishes. Meditation and reflection.

A week or two of recovery and integration. Back to regular rhythms of daily life and responsibilities.

Wherever possible, take it easy. If there is fresh energy to do something right away, go for it. If some goals and intentions are less straight-forward, now is the time to envision how they might come to be. Brainstorm. Play. Explore. Keep the kind of light focus on what you are working on that allows for unexpected solutions to arise. Make plans and figure out how to get from A - B.

Life will always at times feel like a voyage for madmen, but we can make things easier if we allow ourselves to prepare a little each time before we set sail!


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