The new year has begun, as many New Year’s resolutions might be challenging for many of us at this point. I write this month’s newsletter with something I just cannot get out of my mind lately. I am currently cycling through reading a few books: “The Writer’s Voice” by A. Alvarez and “Wintering The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” by Katherine May. While A quote from Wintering stood out to me:
“I recognized winter. I saw it coming (a mile off, since you ask), and I looked it in the eye. I greeted it and let it in. I had some tricks up my sleeve, you see. I’ve learned them the hard way. When I started feeling the drag of winter, I began to treat myself like a favored child: with kindness and love. I assumed my needs were reasonable and that my feelings were signals of something important. I kept myself well-fed and made sure I was getting enough sleep. I took myself for walks in the fresh air and spent time doing things that soothed me. I asked myself: What is this winter all about? I asked myself: What change is coming?”
This part of Katherine’s concept of wintering is something I’ve been particularly embracing lately. It’s January and it is freezing here in Texas, so this is certainly on par and on brand with the theme today. I’ve noticed my body changing with the season; all of the holidays’ festivities have left me feeling a little fuller, and softer than usual. The seasonal depression doesn’t help either but we’re getting through it.
I’ve also been noticing nature. The critters and the trees, the way they hibernate and make sure they have plenty to eat. They don’t worry about how they look in the mirror, just that there is enough in their bellies to last them to their next meal. They make sure they are warm and getting plenty of rest.
While reflecting on these concepts of nature, and the natural rhythms of life; I find myself leaning into them even more with surrender in my mind. I have been taking my time with cooking meals at home, providing myself little luxuries of indulgence with food without the shame. I’ve been moving at a slower pace when at home and quietly calming the voice in my head that says I need to rush off to the next thing. I’ve been more selective in how I spend my downtime when home or on the weekends. Taking steps on the items that need attention but with a sense of ease rather than an obligation to check it off the list or get it done. I’ve been enjoying the way the cotton of my pajamas feels on my skin when cozied up on the couch or in bed in a sense of relaxation. Of course, these are all little luxuries that many people do not have, that are the basic standard of living for others. I see and recognize that for myself and I do not want to take for granted how fortunate I truly am. Slowing down and leaning into winter during this cold, gloomy, less-than-ideal weather, has helped me do that.
So here’s to not wishing the winter away, and slowing down to enjoy hibernation a little longer. What are some ways you find opportunities to lean into the winter season?