5 | The week that was the start of a whole new chapter

As soon as I woke on Monday morning, I knew that last week would be the ending of one chapter and the beginning of a whole new chapter. There were a few big things on my calendar, some important changes for others in my life, and a whole bunch of both known + unknown shifts that would be occurring over the next few days. And when I stepped out onto my balcony with my coffee to soak up the sunrise, I felt the energy in the air that I had been feeling in my soul. The storm from the day before really had blown out all of the old + on this Monday I was waking to something completely new.

But, I had no idea what the week really had in store for me. I could have never imagined all that was about to take place. And how writing to you about this new chapter that has begun doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the shift that has taken place – both inside of me + in all things around me. However, I will do my best to share with you what I can about the week that changed everything.

As I mentioned, this week was always going to be special for a few different reasons. I knew that it would be intense, emotional, and transforming. That was the energy I felt as I stood looking out over the city on Monday morning before sunrise. It would be a week of many shifts + movement. A week for crossing thresholds + entering new energy.

A New Moon for a new month

And first up was the new moon. My dreams were wild right around the new moon, so as I sat with them and thought about this new moon on February 1st, I was reminded of the energy I felt during January’s new moon. Slow rest was the way I wanted to enter 2022. And, with the pandemic going crazy and needing to have our own quarantine, the entire month of January, in both the States + here at home in Sweden, was just that. Slow + restful.

But, now, with this February new moon, I felt that it was just the thing to inspire me to begin the let a new chapter unfold. Very slowly + in rhythm with nature, of course. This moon cycle is the month for quietly, gently beginning to begin to let the dreams + ideas + feelings rise to consciousness. It is a season for nourishing + nurturing those dreams. For rooting down + tending. And, for being aware that these are the stirrings that are meant to be happening right now – both in nature + in my own soul. I began to feel that it is now time to begin to prepare to come out of hibernation, to begin a new outward phase. Stretching, waking, preparing.

New work for a new chapter

After my my morning meditation for the new moon, I decided to hop in the shower before heading out to do some errands. Just before I turned on the water, my phone rang. It was the principal at a school that provides individualized education, counseling, and internships to students age 16-25 who have dropped out, had difficulties, and just do not fit into the traditional education “box”. I interviewed with her back in December and we hit it off great! She told me that she was planning to hire someone to start a new program for a group of 16-17 students and thought I would be perfect for it. However, the start date is in… August. In any case, she was calling to update me that she has gotten permission to hire someone this spring to start planning + preparing for the new group next fall – and she wants me to “reapply” for that position.

So, after 6 months of not working outside the home, it looks like there may be something on the horizon. And it’s not just any job, it’s something I care deeply about. At 47, I refuse to accept just any job. And this new position would mean that I would not have to work “in the box” of traditional education. Instead, I’d by creating a program for students who need individualized support, motivation, and personal development – well, it’s just a dream come true. It’s like life coaching, mentoring, and counseling all rolled up into one.

By the end of the week, I received another phone call! Looks like, after the announcement for the position is out + I’ve applied, we can hopefully move into the details of hiring me and I just might be starting on March 1st. Crazy!

A new season has begun: Imbolc + the first light

This new chapter in my life also coincides with the shifting of the seasons. As we enter February in the northern hemisphere, it’s not deep winter, and it’s not yet spring. But, there are stirrings. The light is returning. And the earth is awakening underground. This is the time, as I was saying above, to begin to come out of the deep winter hibernation and allow our body, mind, and soul also begin to awaken with the very first light of early spring.

Sitting exactly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, Imbolc is an ancient festival celebrating the early signs of spring. And, if you live in the northern hemisphere, you must have seen some signs, even if you find the ground still covered with frost + snow. We cannot deny that with each passing day, there is a bit more light than the previous day. The sun is returning. The days are lengthening. And, beneath the surface, in the belly of the earth, so much is happening as plants, trees, and animals begin to stir. It is the time of the quickening, the preparation for the birth of all living things.

Imbolc literally means, in the belly, referring to the baby lambs growing in the bellies of ewes at this time of year. That is the image that I carry with me at Imbolc. The unseen processes that are the first stages of new life. So, just because it still looks bare and dead outside, deep in the soil, life is returning. This is the time of slow, quiet, magical stretching + growing that is the beginning of the year to come.

And, on any given day that I grow weary of the cold, rainy, snowy weather, all I have to do is feel the sun, and follow its rising + setting, to know that spring is already coming.

Just like nature begins her waking process, I feel that February calls me to the same task. To slowly let my roots sink a little deeper, ensuring a stable foundation throughout the rest of the year. To begin to stretch + move + awaken to the possibilities that lie ahead. To dream + plan + plant the seeds of how I want to grow. To tap into the innocent, optimistic, creative, impulsive energy of the archetype of the young, spunky maiden. This is the time for thinking new things, for coming back to life, for calling in all things with wild hope.

At Imbolc, nature provides us with the promise of a new chapter. And the wheel turns + the cycle of seasons moves on.

A one year anniversary we never wanted

Besides the changing of the seasons, the biggest new chapter that waited for Lina and me last week was the one year anniversary of saying goodbye to our baby, Peanut, in the 15th week of pregnancy. This was a new chapter that we never wanted. But, we were now facing the end of the first year without her. We had grieved, changed, and grown for 12 months. And, we both felt that with this anniversary, it would be time to move on in a whole different way. But, moving on still hurt.

Lina took off from work on the 2nd + 3rd. Turns out, that was the best decision ever. We knew that we wanted to mark the passing of the day our pregnancy with Peanut ended. And we knew that we wanted to be able to be together + to be able to give as much attention and space to our grief and this most horrible day as possible. So, we spent the morning together, just relaxing. And after an appointment Lina had, we drove to IKEA to stock up on necessities like candles, new sheets, and a rug for the kitchen. We also bought some bedside tables for our bedroom. It felt really good to do some things together that gave us a sense of inspiration + would make our home cozy + warm for the coming season.

One year ago, when our pregnancy with Peanut ended at 15 weeks, we experienced the most horrific day of our lives.🤍 Since then, it has been a year of grief, love, tons of life changes, and slow healing. So, on the anniversary day, we decided to focus on breathing and pausing to remember. However, we also felt a sense of deep gratitude for being a year removed from that heartbreaking, indescribably frightening + horrible day.

After spending the morning talking, processing, and just being, we decided to head out and do some things in town. As a way to cross over into the new chapter that we knew would begin after this day had passed. We didn’t so much celebrate, of course, but we spent time together giving thanks for every single thing. It was a difficult, purifying, cleansing, and hopeful day.

And, now, we move forward, letting life unfold and holding onto the hope of a new try. Sending out manifesting vibes to the universe the baby we long for will come to us soon. But also grounded + grateful for all that is right now.

New energy at home

With Imbolc + the slow shifting of the seasons, and with the passing of our year anniversary of saying goodbye to Peanut, we decided to bring fresh, crisp energy for this new chapter that we are entering into our home. I love to decorate in rhythm with the seasons. And one easy way to call in the mood of the season is to change the bedding in the bedroom.

So, It has been a goal of mine for the past year to gather bedding for each season. With our trip to IKEA, I picked up the last things we needed for spring vibes for our bedroom, making my seasonal bedding dreams complete!

I change the covers on my bed in rhythm with the seasons. I want to bring in the fresh, new energy on the cross-quarter ancient festivals that celebrate the shift, the midpoint between solstices and equinoxes. So, I don’t use the traditional first days of winter, spring, summer or autumn. Instead, I use the festival that falls between these astrological events. I feel that it is these midpoint festivals where we begin to feel + see the first energy shifts of the seasons. That way, the equinoxes and solstices fall right in the middle of each season’s energy.

• Feb 1: IMBLOC – Spring bedding (cozy beige)
• May 1: BELTANE – Summer bedding (crisp white)
• August 1: LUGHNASA – Autumn bedding (warm rust)
• Nov 1: SAMHAIN – Winter bedding (midnight gray)

A new chapter in the pandemic

Sweden is opening up! It just so happens that the government announced at the end of the week that most restrictions will be taken away on February 9th, ushering in a whole new chapter of this 2 year pandemic experience. Restrictions + recommendations will remain in place for the unvaccinated. And, if you are sick in any way, you should stay home.

Admittedly, I feel everything about this. My first reaction is worry + caution. Mostly because the response from many has been that we “can go back to normal”. I have a few concerns about that way of thinking. First, are things magically better from February 8 to February 9? I mean, is the pandemic no longer just because we say it? Of course not. So, how can we go from one way of living to another overnight? What will be the consequences? My other concern is this: do we really want to go back to how things were in the world of 2019/early 2020? Shouldn’t we take some time, as a society, to think about what we have learned. To debrief a little? What are the things that worked? What did we learn about ourselves, how we work, what’s important? Are we really going to just try to go back? Why would we want to?

At the same time, I long for a semblance of a return to living life outside my home, of being a bit more social, of moving about in society with more ease. Lina and I will still live cautiously however. But last week we did take some steps to reintegrate ourselves to some of the social things we enjoy. We will still be socially distancing and avoiding crowded places for a while, I believe. But, we’re going to also be getting out there a bit more, which we did last week – and it felt so good.

A new chapter for my family

Without going into too much detail, there were tons of changes in my family’s lives in the States. My brother + his partner moved from North Carolina to New Hampshire last week. My parents are still in North Carolina, in a bit of limbo and without their children nearby. So, we are all spread out right now, as of last week. And there are still plans for further changes for my family, yet we have no idea really what they will look like or when they will occur. Needless to say, it is an exciting + uncertain time for everyone. I’m stable + grounded in my home here in Sweden, having made a move last year. But. I’m far away from them, so we are all adjusting to this new chapter right now – and it’s wonderful + incredibly challenging all at once.

One thing is for certain though, life is moving. Change is occurring. And, a new chapter in the Reynolds family has begun.

It feels so trivial to write all of this down to you. I wish I could reach into my heart + soul + pull up all that I feel since it doesn’t work to really express it all in words.

I guess mostly, though, I wanted to get all of this out so that I wouldn’t forget this week that was the start of a whole new chapter. I wanted to try to capture in words + images the magnitude, power, and deep spiritual meaning of this week for myself. However, I also know that last week was a transformative week for many others. Let me know if you felt any strong, shifting, new chapter vibes.

The energy truly was that of a new chapter. A fresh start. A turning of the wheel of life. A shifting of the energy + the seasons.

For me, it just so happened to be a completely new chapter + new phase of my life. It almost felt like this was my new year. From a new job, to family moving, to a new pandemic phase, to our one year anniversary of losing Peanut, to new energy in our home, to the power of a new moon cycle, to the beauty of the unfolding + changing of the seasons… this week offered me a new, deep sense of hope + promise.

I can feel it in my soul + in my body. I feel lighter, brighter, more inspired, and very present in this special, slow time of reawakening after a long, dark, challenging, yet restful slumber. There is still no rush. It is still time to be soft and quiet and gentle. But, it is also time to begin to wiggle + stretch + awaken. It is the season of the very first light of dawn.

xoxo. liz.

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