The daily routine with the chickens is an excellent opportunity to notice what's happening in the garden as I have to go down there at least three times a day. In that time I can notice new plants emerging, coming into bloom or going to seed, tune into the songs of the birds, notice the phase of the moon or the slant of the sun and the onset of twilight. I can feel the rain or sun or wind on my skin, and take heed of weather omens for the coming days. All of this, while I am doing what I would have to be doing anyway.
You may not have chickens, but you could do the same whilst walking the children to school, waiting at the bus stop, cutting through the park during your lunch hour, taking the dog for a walk, watering the tomatoes, pegging the laundry on the line or going for a run.
Another great way to stay in tune with the seasons with the smallest of tweaks to your normal routine is to eat local, seasonal food whenever possible. There are many ways to do this, from growing it yourself to shopping for at least part of your weekly groceries at the local farmer's market/WI market/local organic or health food store. When doing your shopping, read the labels of the food. If it's been flown in from Thailand or Kenya it's not really local and hence probably not seasonal! Get to know what's in season when, from asparagus to raspberries to mackerel and mushrooms. It really does taste so much better when it's freshly picked and hasn't been transported hundreds of miles to get to you. This year I positively gorged myself on local asparagus during May/June, but I probably won't be eating it again until the same time next year. Far from feeling deprived by this, it makes the asparagus I do eat so much more appreciated. It's the same with new potatoes or summer strawberries. And when we grow some of the best apples in the world here in the UK, why on earth do we buy flavourless imported ones at the very time that other mouthwatering fruits like cherries, plums and berries are being produced on our home turf in abundance?
Here are a few more suggestions for adding a spiritual dimension to your daily routine and getting more out of your time:
- If you take public transport to work or school, use the time to meditate, practise skills like balancing your chakras, read a spiritual book or listen to meditative music.
- If you drive in to work you could listen to spiritual music or practise exercising witchy skills such as focusing on there being a parking space where you need one (it's amazing how often this one works with a little practice). Probably best though not to listen to anything too trance-inducing whilst driving!
- Whilst walking the kids to school make a game with them of noticing seasonal changes around you - the first swallow of spring, the first ripe fruits on the trees, the first falling autumn leaves.
- Cook with intent - stir in love, peace, nurturing. Cut runes or symbols into your pie crusts or loaves or biscuits or even your roast potatoes! Add a pinch of herbs or spices chosen for their magical meaning. Stir in positivity in a deosil direction. Cook with love!
- Eat with intent, be aware of each mouthful and concentrate on how the food is nourishing you.
- Make your housework chores a meditation. Meditate on cleaning away that which no longer serves you as you sweep, dust, polish. Even washing up can be a profound experience when viewed this way - honestly!
- Slumping in front of the TV is so very tempting after a long hard day - I'm as guilty of this as anyone! But it's also a terrible waste of time. Choose your viewing carefully - only switch on if there's something you really want to see. If the alternative is an evening of restless channel hopping because there's nothing that really grabs you, turn it off! Read a book, write in your journal, knit a scarf, phone a friend, play with your kids, potter in the garden, bake a cake, play the piano, take a leisurely soak in the bath... all of these things will nourish your soul far more than vegging out in front of the TV.
- Make a little altar on your desk at work or a window sill or shelf at home - it doesn't have to be an 'in-your-face-witchy' altar, but a little grouping of meaningful objects (a shell, crystal, family photo, votive candle, potted plant, fresh flowers, an acorn, a piece of jewellery...) will catch your eye during the working day and give your spirit a little lift. It will also be a reminder to see the sacred in the every day.
- If you can do it without getting weird looks from co-workers, sing or chant as you work. Literally 'enchant' your work.
Finally, if you need more time in your life, invoke Time as an ally. Ask that time stretch and be flexible so that all that needs to be done can be done. This truly works. And when you're done, don't forget to thank Time. As in all things, a little gratitude goes a long way!