This week we felt the first truly wintery how-the hell-am-I-going-to-be-able-to-get-out-of-bed cold mornings. But they were just a signifier. If you dressed for winter all week then you will have found yourself like me, sweltering and carrying your coat. Autumn is a mild season. The seasons, like most of the change in life, is gradual. There is time to prepare, to anticipate and to enjoy what is to come. Winter is just letting us know that she is coming before she truly takes hold.
So are we going to listen? Listen to winter’s call? Because it is a call, an invitation. We don’t have to dread the dark nights and the cold mornings if we go with the flow of them – and put the heating on a timer.
Slowing, stopping, resting, listening, hibernation, cocooning, incubating, gestating, space, empty, peaceful, dreamful. To me this is the invitation of winter. Burying seeds deep, deep in the ground, allowing the magic to happen which will allow them shoots of fresh new life in spring. If winter doesn’t get to do its thing, nothing will flourish.
The work that comes up again and again with my clients is need to connect to what they truly want in their lives. Often, they are overwhelmed by their options (or apparent lack of) and the beliefs that have been layered on them. With lots of ideas about what they “should” want, they have disconnected from what internally drives them and are left looking for purpose. When we disconnect from our internal drives and motivations we are ultimately dissatisfied and unfulfilled, and this can leave us depressed and ill.
The seasons offer us a wonderful guide; they trigger our internal drives naturally, we just need to connect to them to allow this to happen.
So as the season dances between autumn and winter, what can we do to connect?
Winter is beautiful and purposeful. It is a time for rest. It is a time for nothingness. That’s not depressing that’s exciting. I love decluttering and the best way is to empty a cupboard or shelf then clean it, then refill it. There is a beautiful moment when the shelf is totally bare. Life clears a space for you to fill with what serves you and the world. We get to fill it with beauty and purpose, but not yet.
First we prepare. Physically it’s a great time to clear out spaces in your home. What about your mental and emotional world, your inner world? Now is the time to begin to let go of the year. Don’t wait til new year’s eve, prepare yourself to say goodbye to this year of your life. Prepare yourself to stay home and do nothing, prepare yourself to rest and dream.
Schedule nothingness. Life is often so busy and perhaps December is already looking full. Plan some time for you to do nothing, or not very much at least!
Aim to go to bed at 8pm at least one night a week. Do it before you get ill and are forced to do it. Do it with a good book if you like but go get snuggy early.
Begin to reflect on your year. What gave you greatest pleasure this year? What has made you most proud? What are glad you did? What do you wish you’d done more of? What do you wish you’d done less of? Anything you would have liked to do but didn’t? Start acknowledging now and you’ll be ready to let go as the year ends.
What sounds like a fun way to spend the deepest winter in January and February? Drawing, learning a musical instrument, sorting out the photos you’ve been meaning to print, completing a massive jigsaw, writing a story, reading a classic. Muse over what activity will be a fun way to make the most of the slow season –you might actually be able to ask for something you want for Christmas.
When winter is in full force, the seeds will plant themselves in your dreams. All you to do is ensure the space and the quiet to let winter do its job.
Drop any crap about needing to be busy and/or productive and step into the flow of the season.
Give yourself this. Not easy with Christmas approaching. The advertising world sells us a magical Christmas but somehow steal the magic in the process. Take it back.