Happy May Day slash Beltane to all of you blessed pilgrims out there!
I have started writing this three times now.
The first time, I was feeling a lot of anxiety. I have a lot on my plate and feel like I’m slipping behind even when I’m cranking out all kinds of work in like seven separate (though often related) areas. And the prospect of arriving at May Day – which is objectively a wondrous ancient day of celebration – actually increased my level of anxiety instead of lightening my load. Why? Well it’s because of what it means to pass the first of May.
If we’ve talked about it once, we’ve talked about it a hundred times – upon the spring equinox, the dormancy and latency of winter come to a close, and we begin prepping for the planting of the seeds which will be tended throughout the summer and which will bear fruit in the fall, ultimately defining the character, themes, quality, and result of the year to come. Of course, in that scheme, May Day marks the time when we’re supposed to actually get those seeds into the ground. We really should have started some planting even before now, but now we really gotta get moving. Everything’s gotta be in the ground in advance of the magical time of Midsummer, and that’s only six or seven weeks away.
Holy shit, I was thinking to myself, I had better figure out what I want to plant! I am so behind! How could I have let this happen? I’ve been so in tune with the wheel of the year for a couple full cycles now, getting better all the time. How could I have dropped the ball this badly? We gotta figure all this shit out immediately if there’s any hope for saving this year at all.
I’m pretty sure the stress was such that I walked away from the computer and went to sleep. It may have even put me on my back for a couple nights, unable to do much but shut off and watch some prestige television (I’m doing Game of Thrones for the second time, if you’re curious).
When I returned to it to start things the second time, it was in the wee hours of the morning, and I got to see the first thunderstorm of the spring. And I thought immediately back to the I Ching, which always describes springtime thunderstorms in very favorable terms – the electricity and noise dissipates all the tension stored up from the winter and allows life to really come out and bloom. I discovered that I felt precisely that, deep in my bones, in my very soul, and the anxiety began to lift. I can’t say for sure if I felt this as a result of recalling the symbolism put forth so strongly in the I Ching, or if I was feeling it already, naturally, and that coupled with the actual storm in front of my face prompted the memory of the ancient text.
And it doesn’t matter which one it was. Who cares? The point is that I experienced it, it was profound, and I discovered myself wholly in sync with the time.
I went to bed after that, too, the remaining energy in my haggard, double-edged candle body, seemed to have been used on my little encounter with the divine spark in the thunderstorm, but this time I left the computer feeling confident and strong instead of overwhelmed and burnt out.
I went to bed laughing to myself, in complete disbelief at my own inability to accurately read my own circumstances. The notion that I’m behind on anything, that I’m not ready to plant seeds – I realized – is hilarious. It’s a joke. Are you kidding me? I was so lost in the sea of work and production and obligation that I had failed to realize that all of that was preparation for the planting and that a great deal of planting has already begun.
Really, are you kidding? I’ve started a novel, I’m almost done with a campaign for public office (no joke), I’m building new connections and networks, expanding and furthering multiple political organizations, recording great podcasts (watch for Episode 8 later today), enjoying my family and the weather, and more than 50% of the time I’m enjoying myself. I really gotta remind myself to chill sometimes. We’ve got sacks of seeds all lined up, a couple sacks already in the dirt, the whole thing organized and laid out clearly.
I know what this year is all about. I’m on target with all the activities. And I’m looking at what’s likely to be – regardless of what shape it actually takes and which of these things truly end up on the forefront – a pretty goddamn huge harvest. 2017 is looking big. And good.
Now, I don’t say that to brag – quite the opposite, in fact. What I want to impart to you here is the idea that I myself totally lose my bearings on a regular basis, failing to sit back and acknowledge the good I’ve done instead of the individual tasks I wish I had done two days ago and still haven’t done. Maybe you experience something like that. Maybe you haven’t thought about it much – so think about it now.
What have you been doing in 2017 so far? Is it on purpose or by accident? Are there things you want to cultivate this year – and can you now see, as I did, that you’ve very much already laid the groundwork for planting those things? Or, alternately, can you see ways that you can hammer out some emergency operations to ensure things are in line for the third week of June?
Nothing is mandatory – but you have my recommendations.
And even if you prefer (as I sometimes wonder if all of us should) to simply ride the tide and see what happens, to take more of a hunter-gatherer approach than an agricultural one, I hope you can feel the meaning of the spring thunderstorm like I did. I hope you can feel the weight coming off your shoulders, the tension of the dark months all reconfigured by electric blasts in the air. That’s what this time of year is all about! It’s getting lighter and warmer and the days are longer, the light is abundant, the joy flows like the finest cider, and on and on – with the most magical days of the entire year coming up right around the corner.
This is awesome. Get into it if you can.
Happy Beltane. We’ll talk again very soon. And listen to Episode 8 later, it’s awesome.