Winter slows me down
How often do we rush through life?
At least I do. I usually pretend that I can beam myself to places. I leave at around five minutes past the time I should be arriving at some place and then hurry along with my bike as if the devil is following me. No time to look right or left. I am exaggerating a little here, but how often have I promised myself to leave a tad bit earlier next time around, so I can actually enjoy the way. More time to listen to my kids talk about their day, while we walk to an appointment. More time to listen to the birds sing their song or notice the beautiful sparkles the sun leaves on the water. All that kind of stuff. We do get to share these moments, but ever so often we do not. Too often for me. Life is too short to waste this precious time.
So this year I have taken particular notice in how winter time slows me down. How all of a sudden I have to leave my house a bit earlier than usual, to catch a bus or a tram because I cannot use my bike as much as in the summer. It has done me some tremendous good!
The time it takes me to get to places has risen exponentially but I am enjoying it! I am taking a little extra detour on my walk to work in the mornings to pass along the river and notice the beauty that frost adds to nature. I have taken out my camera more than usual to capture the scenes that surround me. I have listened intently to the crunching sounds of my footsteps on the frozen paths and have physically felt the grounding, reassuring feeling I get from it. I have taken my time to deeply inhale the frosty air and notice the little birds hop by and look at me.
I had to be forced by the weather, the cold and the dark to spend more time indoors. But finally I sat a lot more on my comfortable couch with a hot cup of tea, enjoying the warmth, the quiet, the rest.This year more than other years I have felt the physical need for darkness, candle light and rest.
These words resonated with me on a very deep level:
“The winter is a time of darkness and one way to honor the equinox is to lean into that darkness by enjoying the silence it brings, and by going within yourself to find your unique light. Since the days grow shorter and the night grows longer, the winter solstice isn’t about having more light, but it’s about carrying it within yourself, whatever that means to you.”
After the long days of summer, the outdoor activities, the swims in the river, the camping, the campfires, the very active life, my body and mind felt ready for some long nights, more sleep, less activities. I have leaned into that darkness and have longed to just sit. Sit with a cup of tea in my hand and a candle burning. Sit with a good book and have an hour to read and not merely the 15 mins before exhaustion hit me at bedtime.
I have cherished the extra time darkness gave me, to see the light within me. The dreams, the plans for the coming season of light. And also to see the need for little adjustments in my daily life here and there - like leaving the house 5 min earlier to enjoy every step of the way to work, to teach, to doctors appointments etc. without the necessity of winter weather.
The longer I live here on this magical beautiful earth the more I cherish each season. The more I feel like each season nourishes a different aspect of my soul, my mind, my very being.
Spring brings the magic of freshness, growth, when everything feels new and beams with possibilities. In the Summer it’s the expansion of warmth and light, barefoot and sandy and wet from swimming all day. Fall brings the explosion of colors - the magic of its golden light. And winter is grey - yes we are a little deprived of colors compared to the other seasons - but there is an entire world of possibilities to discover within ourselves. Our bodies and souls work just like nature, who is already preparing in secret underneath the frosty soil for the juices to rise and the new growth to explode as soon as the sun warms the earth. So are we.
So just like any other season - take this time to cherish the growth inside, the calm, the rest, the light within. Snuggle up with your loved ones more often, light a fire, a candle, pour yourself a cup of tea and sit with what is. Enjoy the simple life. The light that sparkles on the snow, the occasional snow ball fight, the joy of coming into a warm house after a walk in the cold. The things that warm you up on the inside, that nourish you deep within. Good, honest conversations, cooking with friends, moving your body in a wintery rhythm. Just like in nature the light is rising, the long days will be back soon. So don’t miss out on the beauty and the slowness this season brings for your body, mind and soul. Nourish your inner strength to be ready to pop and rise as soon as the sun melts the snow. Happy rest of the winter everyone!