As I reacquaint myself with the northern hemisphere after many years of living in the southern hemisphere what I have found most challenging is the winter with its short days, dark mornings, grey skies and cold weather. And yet, I've found myself getting more sleep - sound sleep - than I have in years. And how crazy is it that I've felt some guilt for this. The word hibernation keeps coming up for me because it feels as though the winter is asking, perhaps even insisting, that we go inside, eat warm meals, dress warmly, and get rest. I've been aware of both resisting winter and also welcoming elements of this hibernation. This human hibernation seems to be not only a physical turning inward but also a spiritual, emotional and psychic turning inward. It is a chance to slow down, to quieten, to reflect, to journal, to meditate or pray, and to rest one's heart and soul. And in so doing it feels like my mind becomes sharper and clearer. In this sense, winter feels both inward and restful while also profoundly productive perhaps as we prepare and 'stock up' for springtime.
And so I found myself profoundly 'met' as I listened to this most "lyrical and wise" discussion - 'How Wintering Replenishes
' between Krista Tippett of OnBeing, and Katherine May
, author of 'Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times
'. In this talk May shares that winter is a "time for reflection, recuperation and for slow replenishment and putting your house in order...doing these deeply unfashionable things - slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting - is a radical act but it's essential".
This talk left me with powerful questions to reflect on and journal about which you too might find useful.
What are the changes that take place within me as winter approaches and settles in? spring? summer? autumn?
What does each season represent a time for?
What does the transitional place between seasons offer an opportunity for?
May shares some ways in which she learnt to more wisely respond to herself upon Wintering:
- Look wintering in the eye, greet it and let it in
- Treat yourself with kindness and love
- Assume your needs are reasonable and that your feelings are signals of something important
- Keep yourself well fed and get enough sleep
- Take yourself for walks in the fresh air
- Spend time doing things that soothe you
- Be curious about what you are experiencing