The New Year, the depth of winter with short days, long nights, sometimes harsh weather limiting outdoor activity, brings time to reflect back, and to plan forward. With awareness of my Celtic ancestry, it falls squarely between Samhain, the final harvest festival, and Imbolc, the celebration of the passing of winter. It often brings desire for change, shedding the old skins that have grown tight and restrictive, building a new routine with more light, more space, less weight.
This year will bring significant change for me personally as I part ways with my physical therapy business on the east end, and begin a new journey. And this New Year, brings a new focus and a clarity that I have been seeking for some time.
Looking back at other times of major transition in my life, I now know that I had felt similarly squashed, tight, compressed prior to making a move, prior to taking the leap into the unknown. Whether I had been working in a secure out-patient job in the west of Ireland, having a tremendous amount of fun, but feeling professionally stunted, or working in NY for a hospital with a successful position, with a long administrative and clinical career ahead, I couldn’t breathe. The need to expand my horizons was more of a push than the fear of change, so I took a deep breath, and left. Left the country, left my family and left the safe path for the road less travelled. So too, most recently in my successful, busy practice, I had been getting tight in the chest, and heavy in the heart, as I faced the constraints of the insurance industry, the heavily structured schedule, the professional divergence from my business partners philosophies.
Head down, hard at work, sometimes I couldn’t see ahead beyond the next pile of papers, the next patient list, the next business meeting. Taking the leap into a PhD program forced me to deflect my gaze sideways, to see a path that diverged from my current path. This program, forced me to think deeper, to think wider, to take breaks from the grind and rise to different challenges. It is understood that the skeleton remakes itself every seven years, a whole new interior bone structure, a new support system. At 21 I left Ireland, at 28 entered a long-term relationship with my now husband, at 35 began to explore further education again and now I am finalizing the changes that my 42 year-old self initiated. A new interior skeleton for a new exterior path.
There is a light point, a moment of weightlessness at the top of the kettlebell swing, the moment at the end of when the weight is powered forward, and just before it begins to accelerate in its next direction. In yoga, it is that still point between the end of the inhale and the beginning of the exhale. It is like this at this deep point of winter, the pause at the transition of the year, the transition of the weight, the breath, my career.
It is here I find myself, at the pause, before the exhale, weightless.