Dreaming the Dreams of Winter
Winter is a time of introspection. And I must admit if I could hibernate like a bear, I might do it. Sleep, contemplate, dream … what’s not to like?
And yet, a constant diet of that wouldn’t be healthy, fun or exciting.
To all things there is a natural cycle – the seed idea, the birth and growth, the blossoming, the bounty gained and celebration of harvest … and then, back into the depths for nourishment and rejuvenation.
The theory of the Five Elements (Traditional Chinese Medicine) tells us that harmonizing with the seasonal elements is key to staying healthy and well-balanced. Each season has its role to play in the cycles of life - a time to be, a time to do, a time to enjoy and reflect.
And a season, or cycle, could be an annual one, could be a project you’re working on, could be your day. Cycles within cycles. It’s the flow of the cycle that is important. I remember a painting that struck me several years back. It was of two Hopi Indians sitting on a hill at sunset; the daily ritual of taking the time to be grateful and reflect on the gifts of the day. Yes, that.
Winter relates to the Water Element. The emotion associated with this season is fear.
I live in a place where we often have winter weather inversions, which means we don’t see the sun for long periods of time. Many are affected by SAD (seasonal affected disorder). Yes, it can be a chemical imbalance that needs support. And there are things that help, like Vitamin D, eating warming foods, movement, full spectrum lighting and so on.
But I wonder about the role that fear may play in it. The possibility of maybe being unwilling to do a deep dive into winter, where our deepest thoughts, dreams and fears live. Where trauma resides. Might that play into it at all? Hmmm … who wants to wake a sleeping bear?
Do we resist the rest or the introspection? The fear of the perceived consequence of non-productivity? Are we afraid of falling into the depths of depression? To drown in the heaviness of life? Are we conditioned to neglect our deepest thoughts and dreams and therefore just don’t do it?
I believe they are all valid possibilities. Any of them could be true. What feels true for you? There are no right or wrong answers – nothing that must be done. Simply notice with curiosity and loving compassion. We are complex beings with a rich history that brings us to this moment in time.
But then …. the Gifts of Winter – oh the Gifts
When we rest and allow for rejuvenation, we are preparing for the surge of energy that spring requires of us to burst forth.
When we take time to contemplate, we learn more about ourselves – our deeper needs and desires for the next step in our lives.
When we become friends with not knowing, with our hidden depths of the unknown, we can embrace curiosity and possibility in a way that arouses interest, allowing ideas to appear new, bright and fresh.
When we deepen beneath the fear, we can find the wisdom that watery winter has to offer.
In Nourishing Destiny Jarrett shares “Wisdom is the virtue that empowers us to stand firm when things are unknown, and to chart a steady course through uncertain waters.” How? Through utilizing our inner winter water resources; knowing our limits, knowing when it is time to conserve and when it is time to act. This is developed through a healthy water element.
How can we embrace and nurture ourselves during this time? In a nutshell sleep more, do less, read, gaze, stay warm and cozy, seek stillness. Find the power of water within yourself. If an issue, fear or concern arises, tend to it either on your own or get assistance. We’re not here to suffer in silence.
I love the Danish concept of Hugga. I love to cozy in and nourish the deep fire that burns within. To be with those you love and to appreciate the simple things. Yes, this is a year round activity, but the quietness of winter seems to call it forth in a different way than other seasons.
When we are able to embrace the gifts of the season, we nourish and develop the energy, clarity, enthusiasm and wisdom to make our dreams come true. And then, when Spring comes calling, we are all set to take action.
But right now, it is still winter …
So I am starting the day with a luscious cup of coffee, in front of a warm fire, journaling as the sun rises …. ahhh, my winter heaven. Cozied in like a bear – dreaming, contemplating and hibernating … just a bit.
May this winter season bring you deep nourishment, healthy composting and rich soil so you may birth new vibrant dream seeds in the coming months.