Reflections on 'Wintering'

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
A song to share for your own 'Wintering' - Get Me Through December - by Alison Krauss and Natalie MacMaster
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For a while now I have been thinking of sharing the pieces of writing that bring me most peace and ease. I've held back because I've felt undecided on what to call this piece of sharing that feels quite personal to me. For today I will start with a short but powerful piece of writing that I read just the other day, that I will revisit regularly. I share it here in case you might also benefit from reading the words of Richard Wagamese, one of Canada's foremost First Nations authors and storytellers. He was an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nations in northwestern Ontario in Canada.
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Uncertainty...the Unknown and the Imperfect

Most of us are grappling with uncertainty and in turn are also grappling with our responses to this uncertainty. My own response to uncertainty is a bit like “what do you mean it’s not going to go like that….it’s supposed to…that’s how I’d planned for it…” And while my intellectual self can acknowledge that we live in a time of ever-increasing uncertainty, my emotional and physical self usually take a bit longer to adapt.
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Building Muscles

What if rather than having a goal of being more courageous our goal was to build the body of Courage? of Presence? of Authenticity? And what if instead of asking our minds to figure out how to do this …
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Educating for Joy

No matter where I have traveled or whom I’ve met there is something that I have come to find in common with many fellow parents – most of us worry about the quality of education that our children are receiving. …
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