Shadow Time

About a decade ago, one of my best friends told me about the idea of Shadow Time, which has its origins in Pagan faiths: as the world moves into shadow – the days get shorter, colder, and more overcast – we should also go into our shadow – the darker parts of ourselves – and reflect. It’s in my top three favorite parts of a religion.

In the midwest, differently from where I grew up, there’s a sense of needing to rest after the harvest.

I’ve spent a lot of this summer preserving fruits and vegetables, which is not something I usually do. We dehydrated herbs and teas. We canned pickles, apple sauce, apple butter, tomato jam, apple pie filling, and salsa. We also froze nearly 100 cups of squash(es), six loaves of fruit or vegetable bread, and dozens of fruit muffins

We were under 100 jars of canned foods, but 100 is my goal for next year. It feels silly to say that because we don’t live in the 1800’s, but the food definitely does taste better, and ultimately it will save us money over the course of the year. It’s mostly just the two of us, though we gave away a lot, so my real plan is to alternate crops. So this year, I processed almost two bushels of apples, and I probably won’t have to do that again next year because what we did this year will carry over. So eventually, we’ll reach a variety.

The point of sharing this: we had a busy, pioneer summer – which also included a wedding – and I’m ready to rest. And reflect. And plan.

Lately, I have been feeling like I can’t pull together enough ideas to move forward. And what I’ve been doing is pushing myself to do that. But this morning, I woke up late and it was 33 degrees outside and I don’t have socks to wear with my boots. So I sat down for a minute and told myself, “Just be late to work.” How simple. I just decided I was going to be late. And on my drive in, I concluded that it was time to listen to myself.

If I can’t pull together enough ideas to move forward, maybe I should just sit down.

So, for a little while, I’m not planning. I’m crocheting and watching Riverdale and really emphasizing doing the bare minimum to create space for the future. The silliest, most American part of this whole process is working really hard on not feeling guilty about doing that. Just like you, I get caught in feeling required to be productive. That requirement was made up in my mind decades ago, and so I’m also trying to meditate each day to help remove that.

Mostly, I’m trying not to strategize and instead just be.