Turning Inward During Winter
In the depths of winter, we can forget that bare trees will once again be full with foliage, and grass and flowers hidden beneath a blanket of white or a deceptive covering of hardened earth will burst forth once again. While they slumber, nature is continuing its work at the center of each living thing. We can think of our blankets and warm clothes as similar protectionâ€”like the cocoon that surrounds a changing caterpillarâ€”while we undergo our own inner transformational work. In the meantime, the lights that twinkle and the fires that warm us can serve to remind us of the flame of life that burns within us.
In order to stoke our inner flame, we can use the time indoors to focus our attention on our homes and families. We can become distracted by the world outside and forget that we need to nourish the lights that warm our hearts. Interacting at a soul level can be done by sharing stories from our hearts, doing projects together, dancing, or playing games. Devoting energy this way helps us build a stronger bond that will sustain us once the world allows us each to pursue our individual goals again.
Winter allows us to feed the flame in our own centers by reading or researching to nourish our dreams and plans for the future. This can mean catching up on all the quieter things we wanted to do but didnâ€™t have time for, like reading books, watching movies, or listening to music. We may have set aside creative pursuits such as painting or writing that can be brought back to the center burner now. It is also a great time to do some journaling to look back on the year that has passed and perhaps the years before this one in preparation for forward motion in the coming year. Nature’s wisdom offers us opportunities to nourish our inner seeds of hope in preparation for our future, so let us enjoy the inner warmth and be grateful for it all.
Finding Gifts In All
When we have good days, we often find ourselves going over the details later, enjoying them a second and third time as we feel the joy of our good fortune. When we have bad days, we may find ourselves poring over the details of our misfortunes. However, we can reframe those bad days by making it a daily practice to spend some time before going to bed each night to review the gifts we received that day. Regardless of our evaluation of the day ”good, bad, mediocreâ€”we can call forth the many blessings that were present. This practice transforms our consciousness as it reveals the fullness at the heart of our lives.
Some days it’s easy to recount the gifts we have received; on other days, we have to look harder for the offerings of the day, but once we do, we will find there are always quite a few. We can keep it simple and be grateful for the fact that we have a roof over our head, nature, food, and our health. Once we have fully experienced these gifts, we can move outward to the gifts that may require a little more thought such as the gifts of forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance that we may have learned that day. We can also always be grateful for the people in our lives who support us, no matter how bad our day may have been.
Just reviewing the many positive offerings in our lives provides a context for our difficulties that puts them in proper perspective, but we can also make an effort to see the gifts even in adverse circumstances. This can be challenging and may require some practice before it feels authentic, but we have all had the experience of a disappointment or loss leading to a surprising gain. Just remembering this and trusting the give and take of life can help us to remember that sometimes the best gifts of all are the ones we donâ€™t recognize right away. In addition, the lessons we learn in the face of adversity are offerings in their own right, allowing us to count patience, wisdom, and fortitude alongside the other gifts of the day.