Nevertheless, here we are in the midst of winter, and all is still and quiet; the days are short and dark, the fields barren, trees lifeless and wildlife dormant. Nature has turned inward, with little activity on the surface. Life appears dull by the standards of our “doing” culture. When we are in rhythm with nature, our lives will reflect this dormancy, as well.
Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius. ~ Pietro AretinoBut I say winter gets the short end of the stick. It is all too easy to underestimate the subtleties of power and potentiality that are brewing beneath the surface. Winter is a time for quiet contemplation and reflection, deep discovery, experiencing our true essence through meditation, containment and concentration, and the storing of energy. It’s the season for resting, filling up reserves and preparing for the year ahead. Winter is for us, as it is for all of nature, a time for internal work. It is a time to set aside our cultural tendency to strive, achieve and exert, require immediacy and instant feedback.
Living in a society that values activity greater than quietude, it may be trying to get through winter. By listening to nature and tapping into the energy of the season, we can find our way through it and thrive.
Here are some things we can do to enjoy winter’s gifts:
- Savor your downtime. Allow time for stillness and quiet activities like reading a book, solving a puzzle or sipping hot chocolate in front of a fire.
- Listen to your body and focus on building your energy reserves.
- Get more rest. Go to bed early and sleep later.
- Allow time for inner reflection, cultivating your spirit and becoming more aware of your senses.
- Practice self-acceptance to better deal with fears so you can acknowledge limiting facts and move through them in a constructive way.
- Choose to eat more warming foods like soups and stews, dishes made with whole grains, squashes, beans and peas, and root vegetables.
- Rejuvenate and deepen relationships with those closest to you.
- Drink plenty of water to counter winter’s dryness.
- Prepare for the weather and dress accordingly. Keep your neck and shoulders covered.
- Opt for less vigorous forms of exercise and change into dry clothing before venturing outside.