Monday, 5 March 2012

The Natural Year...

There were primroses along the banks as the SP and I walked up into the woods this morning. The wild garlic was shooting up and a haze of green was shimmering over the forest floor. Spring is dawning. The earth is waking up again.  It put me in mind of my second book, The Natural Year, which I wrote when I was living on the Somerset Levels.  A very different landscape, flat wetlands punctuated by soft bosomy hills.  Every day I walked with Monty, our boxer, and noticed the tiny shifts in the world around me and felt how they were echoed within – in my body, my mind, my emotions, my ‘soul’. 

Certain times of the year resonated in different ways.  They had a different mood, a different ambiance and it felt to me that it was important to honour that, to shift the way I lived to fit with the cycles of the year.  That there were times to be all outward and gung-ho but equally times to go within, to bring the focus inside.
Yet society goes right against this – demanding that we’re always up, always switched on, always bright.  It completely ignores the natural cycle of life, the wheel of the year. 

So I wrote The Natural Year.  My puny attempt to redress the balance, to suggest ways of bringing more natural rhythms into our lives. 
We have spent the last century or so desperately running away from nature. We have sought to control the natural world, to bend it to our will, to allow ourselves to live free of its dictates. We have ignored the wisdom of the ancient earth-keepers, those who held faith with the Earth.  We have been arrogant and careless. 
And we pay a price. We become sick in body, sick in mind and sick in spirit. 

Anyhow.  I started The Natural Year with spring.  Because, to me, it symbolises new beginnings with the bursting of fresh life, the optimism that comes with lengthening days and increased sunlight. We come out of the mystical soul-time of winter into a season which is unashamedly about the physical.   It’s a great time to start on a new life-plan because you’ll be working with the thrust of the year, moving with the energy of its natural rhythm. 
So, if you want to make changes in your life, now is a great time to get started.

The Natural Year was originally published by Bantam Books but I recently had the rights reverted and now (thanks to Kim Jewell) it’s available for download to Kindle.  I’ve kept the price low – so hopefully it’s within reach of everyone’s pockets.  Check it out here and here

It’s a smorgasbord of all the stuff I learned from all the fascinating people I met when I was writing a weekly natural health column for the Daily Mail; plus my own interests and researching.  The idea is that it will take you through the year, offering suggestions and hints and tips. You pick those that resonate and let the rest drift by…it’s not a draconian plan or bullying regime by any manner of means. 
I’ve also created a visual board for it on Pinterest and intend to post up odd bits of information along with lovely images that sum up the shifting seasons.  So do drop by and check it out periodically. 

Let me leave you with some thoughts for spring. 
Key focus: getting into the body, working on your relationship with your physical self. 
Secondary focus: starting to think about your life, about introducing change, if that is what you need.
The main tasks: introducing a healthy diet; starting to exercise; detoxification; tonifying the body; boosting the lymphatic system; increasing flexibility.
Questions to ask yourself: How do I really want to live my life? The rest of my life?  How do I want to treat my body? Am I willing to take responsibility for my health? Am I willing to take responsibility for my mind? 

By the way, if anyone would like to review the book for your blog, drop me a line. 


Tee said...

Very interesting, Jane. I think this is something that would resonate greatly with me. As I've just spend my saved up nickles and dimes on three friends books (yes, I am that poor) I will be putting this on my wish list. And I hope to purchase it soon.

Rob-bear said...

Excellent thoughts, Jane, on living creatively in spring. We've still got a bit of snow on the ground, here across the pond, but the sun appears earlier each day.

As I'm "in transition" myself, I'm thinking about the issues you raise at the end.


Expat mum said...

Gosh - I've been trying to do all that, and then got out of a (soothing, back-pain relieving) bath on Saturday and pulled all the muscles in my lower back.
Guess I'm not communicating very well with my own body. Pah!

Ashen said...

Beautiful pinterest page. Would love to do a review in a few month. Right now I'm struggling with time.

Rachel Selby said...

In Israel we have a festival that celebrates the New Year for Trees. It's in late February when the almond blossom appears and, as you say, spring is in the air. Unfortunately it came a bit early this year and it still felt like the middle of winter. But I do feel as though I'm coming out of the winter hibernation.

Anonymous said...

It sounds wonderful. We do live in this world by taking things for granted and changing nature is something we think we can do. But nature will always take its course, despite our best efforts.

CJ x

Adventures of a Middle-aged Matron said...

The thing I most dislike about having had to move to the city is the fact that you lose touch with the seasons. So thank goodness for gardening which binds you intimately to the rhythms os sun and soil. The Churc, I find (as a Vicar's wife!) h is pretty good for that, too, with its set cycles through the year, each with their different mood, goal and requirements.

LeeAnn at Mrs Black's said...

I have never stopped reading The Natural Year since I first bought it years ago. It's been my friend through many seasons now and yet each time I re-read a chapter, like nature it seems new once again. The lessons within this book are subtle hints, they do not stifle the general sense of wonder at the power of nature - and ourselves. It's a joy and I would recommend it to anyone.