Harmonizing With Winter, Embracing The Journey Within
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.” ~ Andrew Wyeth
“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” ~ Paul Theroux
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. “ ~ Albert Camus
Here in Maryland, we’ve had quite a few snows this year. None of them too big but combined with a big cold snap, it’s enough so that it feels more of winter than in many recent years. I was born in winter and always resonate with the energy it bring of going within, into a place of stillness.
I shared some of my favorite Winter quotes above. I feel like they really speak to the journey of this season and what it offers when we are willing to take time to harmonize with it.
Each year as New Year’s Day rolls around, I tend to find myself feeling that I need to have my goals and plans all in order for the coming year – I am sure I’m not along in that. This has been very strong at times. This is what our modern culture tends to teach us – it’s a time to make resolutions and start taking action immediately. However, Winter comes asking us to go within, to be willing to not already have the answers, but rather to ask questions and listen as we delve into the stillness within ourselves.
In many indigenous cultures, Winter is most often associated with North and Wisdom is an attribute of the North. When we are willing to listen to our own natural rhythms such as the need to rest more, to be still, or to journey within, there is an incredible opportunity to connect with our own inner wisdom, too. We do this through our attention and receptivity as we listen deeply to the stillness of self. Just as the bear goes into hibernation each year, we too have the opportunity to go within and to seek counsel with our own true selves, to look into the depths of our own heart and soul.
So, why do we resist this journey into the darkness knowing it carries with it a deeper wisdom and a fuller knowing of ourselves? For some there is a natural fear of the darkness or a fear of being still. Feelings are intensified; there is in a sense a natural cleansing process taking place in our being and we are often faced with the parts of ourselves that we wish not to see. Sometimes this is experienced as a seasonal depression or “Winter Blues”. This journey into the darkness can be an uncomfortable one, but choosing to work with it in a more conscious way can “lighten” our experience of it.
A Winter Practice…
As we are willing to go within and listen, we begin to know ourselves more deeply. I invite you take some time as we move through Winter to be in stillness with yourself. It is here that we can uncover our inner gifts and “medicine”. And, the seeds for our visions and dreams can emerge ready to be planted as Spring approaches.
Take some time in meditation. Go out in to nature (bundle up!). Connect with your heart. Below are some questions you might like to explore during this time. You can also come up with your own questions or simply ask to receive the inner wisdom and guidance that is wanting to be heard this Winter!
1. What does my heart truly want me to know at this time?
2. What inner gifts and strengths are ready awakened or cultivated?
3. How can I create greater alignment in my life?
4. On what do I need clarity and how can I get there?
5. How can I express more of my authentic self in the world?
6. What things must I do every single day to feel connected and whole?
Here’s one of my favorite Winter poems, which speaks so beautifully of the journey we can take when we harmonize with the rhythm of the natural world we are a part of!
full of snow,
the trees around it
bowing under white.
Again the cycle
gives us North –
will be bend
or break this time?
ache and clench of tired body, both familiar and
small fire within
with which to meet
The mountains become
stronger in winter,
the snow their shaman’s
cloak, clouds and gale
their spirit allies.
speaks to me, asks
I have brought
~ Loren Cruden, from Compass of the Heart
Love & light,