Winter Within

The beauty and magic of winter lies in the power of renewal and of the quickening of the spirit. It is the power of the Winter, when nothing appears to be growing, in which Mother Earth is gathering her energies for the new life that is to come.

It is the white snow of purity that brings the power of concentration and clarity of intent. It is the power that turns water to ice, the power that gives ice the strength to crush rocks.

It is the power of night when the physical is dormant but the spirit is active. It is growth wearing the cloak of rest, and new life attired in the shroud of death.

Excerpted from “The Medicine Way: How to Live the Teachings of the Native American Medicine Wheel” by Kenneth Meadows

I love living in the Midwest – I love the noticeable change of the seasons and the severity of the weather phenomena.  I am fortunate to be able to experience the extremes of the weather, to witness nature’s reaction to these extremes and be aware of the harmony that exists between these.

In all honesty, winter is my absolute favorite season.  The more snow, the better.  The colder, the better.  I look forward to this season of hibernation – the slowing down, the reflection, the gathering of strength and the clarity of intention that is born out of the quiet of this season.  I realize winter, snow and cold can drive a person mad – it frustrates, it denies and constrains.  OR, do we do that to ourselves by not living according to the season?  Denying the lesson of each season and just charging forward as if we are in control of the flow of life?

I spend a lot of time in nature just observing.  Observing the rush, the trickle or freezing of the waters and the relationship of the animals to these waters.  Observing the life patterns of the animals and how these are affected by the seasons, the weather and other animals. Observing the trees and plants and being aware that each has an optimal time for blossoming as another is becoming dormant and refueling.  I observe all of this and apply what I learn to my own life.  For me, it is very natural to slow down, hibernate and refuel in the winter – to come alive and feel energized in the spring as I’m planting new seeds – to take advantage of the long summer days in cultivating my gardens – and to feel the urgency of fall in the harvest.

The sickness of busy is a very real & dangerous ailment.  It disconnects us from our true nature AND nature itself.  A symptom of busy is not having good self-care habits – not granting yourself the time necessary to recharge and reflect.  Without recharging you are running on empty.  Without reflection you are running without a plan, needlessly expending your energy with no goal in sight.

In my darkest moments, the moments I’ve been most stressed and stretched to my limits, I have found peace, comfort and answers in the quiet of nature.  Time spent in nature connects me to all that is, reminding me I am not better than the plants I tend, that I am equal to the animals & birds I delight in and that, like the waters I am drawn to, my life will flow and cut away obstacles if I “go with the flow” and surrender to the currents of life.  My connection to Mother Earth is strong – it is one of my most treasured relationships.

If you have never tried it, I urge you to sit with yourself in a natural environment, if possible.  Reflect on the year that was & the year to come. Observe nature around you as you are reflecting – what is trying to tell you?  There is no right or wrong answer – only what you know to be true for you.  Use your observations to guide you through the seasons of life.  So, go!  Go within and gain strength of will. Gather your reserves. Let clarity of intention settle over you. Build a strong foundation for the year and seasons to come. Honor this season. Honor yourself.

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