Winter is not a season relished by many, with its dark, short days and chills. Winter often gets a few bad words offered towards it. We tend to forget the hidden messages winter holds for us, the mystery within the darkness.
Winter is the only season where we can visibly see our own breath on the air. We get the chance to notice our own life force, everything begins with our breath. I am always taken back to memories of childhood, playing with my breath in the cold. Blowing against the car window and annoying my parents by writing my name or noughts and crosses, leaving a smeary mark. It is a season where the goodness of the land, the leaves, nutrients and detritus get buried. Deep underground, magic stirs, goodness is recycled, creating new life for the light of spring.
Perhaps we can use this winter message too for our own creation?
With this holiday season upon us we are offered the natural opportunity to shift out of our normal daily routine. In these times there is room to notice new insights into what is serving us well and that which is not. It may feel odd, a bit weird, too self-centred to spend time in ‘pause, in reflection mode, or rest and digest’. But taking a few minutes over the holiday season to reflect and consider what your past year and the last few months have been like, may be the most productive thing you achieve all winter!
Here is a brief exercise you can try at home, in your comfort, with your cosy clothes on and a cuppa or a glass of wine. By gifting yourself 30 minutes to briefly answer the following… from the heart!
Remember – No overthinking, no perfecting, no avoiding, just answer QUICKLY, INSTINCTIVELY
- What were my key achievements this year? (not size specific)
- Thinking about them now, how do I feel? (what emotions are noticed?)
- What got in my way this year? (obstacles, blocks, issues)
- What did the obstacle gift me? i.e. what did I learn, develop, notice?
- How have I shifted from this time last year?
- What have I let go of or not completed this year? Does it still serve me?
- How much fun/joy have I had this year?
- Who has impacted my life this year?
- What am I most proud of this year?
- Is everything I have done this year in alignment with my ideal scene?
Leave your responses for a few days and then check in on them. What do you feel/notice when you re-read them?
With these insights you may identify areas to focus on in 2019 or perhaps it gives you the spark to think about it now?
This is not about changing the person within, it’s all about remembering who you are and what you are all about. Reconnection to the whole of you!
Maybe the winter will reveal its secrets just for you?
For many of us however, the reconnection to emotions can become overwhelming. The lack of usual routine and chance to reflect, serving to enhance our loneliness and anxiety. It can be a time where our heartache and loss come out of the numbness of the shadows and glare at us in the mirror.
There are many professional organisations which can help here are two below:
Often by seeking and actively finding human connection, along with spending time in nature, can offer us an opportunity to tell our story and to be heard.
There are a number of ways to consider connecting with more people this winter. Here are just a few ideas,
- Perhaps begin to look at some volunteering. Whilst first impressions may be ‘I don’t have spare time’ or ‘I don’t have anything to offer’, we often find by the simple of action of beginning to look, we become more aware of what we do have. Sometimes it’s our physical fitness that we can offer, two arms, two legs. Perhaps it’s time helping on an event, or in the warehouse or helping serve food on Christmas Day. Whatever it is, being part of a team of volunteers will bring you much more than you can ever imagine. All while giving back.
Join a group
- By getting outside and physically active are paramount to us thriving this winter. It could be a family walk, a hike with a group, or a forest therapy experience. Get outside for at least 30 minutes a day and take the time to notice the season. Listen to the birds who remain with us this winter, notice the sound of the woods with no leaves, feel the air on your face and what it brings you. How does winter smell? By using a few simple sensory invitations on a daily basis you will enhance your overall wellbeing.
- Knock on your neighbour’s door! Radical I know.. but try it. Take over a mince pie or a Christmas card. Be brave and simply say ‘hello’. Taking that brave step forward into your community will invite others around you to do the same. Nothing changes until you are the change.
Trust the transition
- Trust that if winter is not serving you well this time, know it will pass on. Nature never stands still. If you go for a walk you will see signs of the season past and that yet to come. The transition is in constant flow and so are you.
No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn – Hal Borland.