Relief in one hand, sorrow in the other
on new directions and closing a private practice
I’m sleepy and benign in the dark. There’s nothing I want….
Jane Kenyon from her poem “Dark Morning: Snow” from the book Let Evening Come. Also in Otherwise: New and Selected Poems.
How are you this February evening (or morning, afternoon, whatever time of day you’re meeting these words)? I hope you are finding something intriguing in your days. Curiosity can be such an enlivening thing.
Life has been eventful since my last letter to you. (For you, too?) Some things sad (a family member on hospice), some scary (a Christmas Eve dash to the emergency vet for our cat Strider—who is fine, now), and some utterly joyous (I had a poem accepted to a literary journal!).
The most momentous thing? Implementing my decision to close my coaching/mentoring practice and pivot to, well, that’s still gestating. Come the equinox in March, it should be settled and strong and ready to talk about.
But, here’s the intriguing thing
As soon as I made the decision to close my coaching practice, a full moon high tide of relief washed in. (Huge sigh.) But the post-decision relief bliss obscured the sight of her companion, sorrow, sinking deep below the surface. (Bows head.)
I recognize that closing a business after nearly 14 years should be honored with grief, and I did weight my conversations and journal with some sad words. But until I did some meditation and mad writing today, I hadn’t felt (thumps hand on heart) sorrow. Today I finally saw her curled on the seabed and drifted down to join her.
Hope, possibility and the steadfast cycle of life rising from death
The timing of this insight is intriguing. Today in the northern hemisphere marks the festival of Imbolc whose name is thought to derive from a Celtic word meaning “in the belly.” Imbolc speaks to the quickening of the year, to seeds and shoots and sap readying to rise. To me, it’s always been about the rush and tingle I feel from underground as my slumbering plant kin turn toward the growing light. This time of year is about hope and possibility and the steadfast cycle of life rising from death.
What better time to connect with my sorrow? When better to invite her to flow from my bones on to the page? It’s a good day to reach out, to firmly grasp sorrow’s hand, because my other hand is gently folded in the clasp of stirring life and possibility. I can move into this both held and holding.
I keep wanting to say that this intriguing timing is lucky, which is partially true. It is my coaching practice. I’m the ultimate decision-maker. But, what’s also true is after cultivating a practice of listening, noticing, and remembering with the natural world, I followed nature’s lead, flowing inward with the late summer, autumn and winter, finally implementing my decision in a season when the natural rhythm offers the most support.
I’m made to create the conditions for things to settle their roots and flourish
A friend once told me I was the ultimate earth mother (pauses for a moment of feeling too honored to keep writing). While “ultimate” might be hyperbole, earth mother certainly isn’t. I’m made to create the conditions for things to settle their roots and flourish. (These days “things” usually means insights, dreams, ideas, creative impulses, confidence. In past roles “things” have also been things like skill sets, career paths, and business strategies, even children and critters.)
That’s the thread woven through my entire body of work. Creating the conditions for discovery and flourishing. Yes!
Image credit: Tracie Nichols
Writing this today sparked the idea below and I really want to know if you’re interested.
Would you be up for a class where:
I help you notice, listen to, and remember with nature so your life unfolds to your ecosystem’s rhythms like mine did?
you notice and feel how you belong and can, when possible, make changes in seasons where you will be the most supported?
you will develop an understanding of how you fit, how you and your ecosystem are entwined and supporting each other?
I can see including tools like:
writing prompts/catalysts and inspirations from nature writers
nature journaling (in our own, unique way)
embodiment practices connecting you with your senses
some guided visualizations/meditations I’d create for you
discussion and practices to enhance deep listening
virtual fire circles, of course!
I can see us traveling through a season together. Something like March equinox to June solstice.
An equitable and sustainable framework feels like:
6 virtual fire circles (via zoom, probably)
6 guiding emails with tools, videos and whatnot
a few randomly spaced inspiration emails
a virtual space where we can gather and share asynchronously (probably a Google classroom)
a sliding scale cost of between $120 -$360 for the whole experience
Any interested companions for the journey? Hit reply (or leave a comment) and let me know.
(Excitedly crosses fingers.)
If you made it this far, here’s a poem from my noticing heart to yours.
Ode to an Eastern Screech Owl From my desk I can see that hole in the place where the two trunks meet. It’s at least a quarter-century deep. A hollow to house families. Now squirrels. Last summer, flickers— all angled beaks and flirting tail feathers. The winter before brought sharp triangle ears rising at dusk. Soft, gray pellets clustered below. Tiny owl watchfulness. His stillness paused us both. Ode to an Eastern Screech Owl © 2022 Tracie Nichols