Last year was a challenge for many. It doesn’t matter what year it was, each year has challenges, although lately they seem to multiply as the years whirl by. At the start of a new year, one tends to make resolutions, new plans, new goals. To this I add my bit of advice: do the work.
This past year, I achieved many of my personal goals. It took a lot of work, and a bit of determination. Which can apply to anything, if you think about it. One thing was different, though: I was told over and over to do the work. It felt like stumbling in the dark, so I would get a reading, and the answer would be the same: do the work.
What is the work, you may ask. Each person is different, so for me the work entailed really digging deep into things in my psyche that were holding me back. I did lots of shadow work and faced all the icky, miserable parts of me. I strove to find answers. I celebrated each part of the Wheel of the Year fully, extending its time not just to the day or evening, but to the full weeks in between. It made my life and my daily practice richer.
My love is La Luna, and living in the mountains, she has called to me as clearly as the trees in the forest do, and I am her devoted follower. This past year, it meant paying attention to the moon cycles more than I ever have, doing the work that is most beneficial with each particular waxing, waning and fruition. Certain work is to be done at the Dark Moon, the New Moon and the Full Moon. Part of it is to also give her thanks for guiding us for so many centuries, and part of it is utilizing the power she yields to make things happen.
Another part of the work is, and I can’t stress this strongly enough: BOUNDARIES. Set them. Learn to say no when your energy is waning, say no to toxic interactions, guard your time as fiercely as you do the ones you love. People may get their feathers ruffled, but that is on them. Don’t worry about what people think about you, or how they will react. As long as you do things from a place of love, their reaction is their responsibility. Ignore social media drama, FOMO, and wishing you were like this other person. Make your life happen, and focus on you.
Again, you may ask, what is the work? The work is spending time grounding and shielding. It is spending daily time in meditation. It is making sure your purpose, your mind, your body are all in alignment. It is tending to your altars instead of letting them get dusty. Freshen them, honor your deities and your ancestors. The love you send to them will return to you, and help you with the process. It is listening to the small, still voice that is your instinct. Don’t ignore it. Maybe it roars at you. Don’t ignore that, either. It is ritual, solitary and with community. It is giving offerings at the crossroads when needed. It is honoring the rhythm of the year, the season, and the cycles. Even if you live in a place that is perpetually sunny (lucky you) honor the elements. Take the time to learn, not doing things just by rote. It is being open to possibility, not following the “this is the way we have always done things” mode.
Doing the work means clarity. Be very clear with the Universe about what you want. Don’t forget details, they are important. And if you don’t know what you want? (I get that a lot). Then figure it out. It’s as simple as starting small: I want my life to look like this. I want to create that. I want my soul to feel happy. I want to feel loved. I want to create another stream of income. I want to be an herbalist. I want to be a healer. I want my home to be my refuge. It all begins with the first step. I struggle with this always. I always say that getting me from Point A to Point B, it’s getting me to Point A that takes the longest.
The work is important. It’s what keeps us going, it keeps us focused. If your work is healing, do that. Do it all the time. If it is writing, write more. If it is being an herbalist, get those tinctures out into the world. This is the time we are made for, and it becomes clearer with every passing year. Know that you are not alone, for many of us are doing the work. And if that means sitting in the dark with your one lit candle, as you do your ritual, it will help. There are others doing the same, and that energy will help heal this crazy old world. So mote it be.