The wheel is turning and soon winter will be here, reaching out icy fingers, breathing in life and breathing out darkness and death across the land. Through the darkness, the skeleton leaves and the bare bones of the trees I can feel the whisper of a promise. A whisper of life that is to come. Rest a while it says, rest a while in the dark warm earth, breathe and sleep for soon life will be coursing through you once more, soon the river will thaw and leaves will start to bud. Rest a while, it has been a long year. Hold your body with warmth under the dark skies while the cold bright stars sing you a song of fires, beating hearts, dreaming souls and sleeping seeds.
I welcome the winter, the frost, the crisp mornings and long nights. I welcome this rest of spirit and bones, mind and body. This is the time to go inwards, a time to heal after the letting go of Autumn. It is a time to journal and dream with the land, to lie amongst the roots of favourite trees and listen to the songs of the earth and the distant drumbeat far below.
Etched in me is a sensory connection to the earth’s shifting moods and sweeping seasons. I have found that becoming more in tune with the life force of each living plant and tree, the tiny shifts within the earth and air, water and sky changes the feeling of being alone with my inner landscape, it brings a realisation that these inner seasons are natural and normal. What I realise is that as an animal of this earth I too shift as all other beings on this planet do. There was a time when I went against this and tried to live the same day in day out regardless of what the seasons were doing and it only made me feel disconnected, and out of sync. I felt weird that I was more tired, more inward and that I relished the darkness at this time of year and so I tried to be as I am in the spring and summer; outward and shining. I pushed against my natural rhythms and cycles and I shut down the voice of my inner knowing. As a culture we are expected to perform 100 percent all the time, all year round and if we don’t then it’s a problem that needs to be medicated. Truth is, it is ok to feel quieter at this time of year, to want to sleep longer, to want to stay at home rather than hop from one party to the next. It is ok to sleep, to feel more thoughtful and sometimes sad. Sad about what has gone and what has been, this is what this time is for; reflection and inner rest.
As winter takes hold of the land, darkness falls around everything; death and decay take the leading roles and all around us things are sleeping and dreaming. This culture finds letting go and change difficult and death hard; darkness is covered up with light and stillness is filled with rushing madness. Forgetting that with darkness comes creativity, rebirth and a chance to create new dreams, a time to nest, snuggle and sit by fires of our own thoughts. To know how to truly rest means that you can truly live, truly give and truly be alive.
There is a human condition within this culture of forgetting, forgetting that we are animal, that we are earth, that we are wild, that we are nature in blood, bones and skin. Within each of us is a spirit and soul that is wonderfully wild and untamed, our senses tuned to delicate shifts of air, energy, light and dark of this earth. I believe that there is a longing within all of us, a whisper of a deeper more ancient knowing. I believe it is time to remember, remember what you are, remember the conversation with our own bodies and the conversations with the earth. We are not the same day in day out and our needs shift from month to month, even day to day. This earth will mirror what it is that one needs. Take time to look, to look beyond the fears. Winter is divine, needed, restful, dreamy and still.
How can one learn to really love the darkness, the cold, the storms and the death as well as the light, the brightness and green life. Is it the knowing that without one we cannot have the other? How can one love each ebb and flow of life, each death and birth? Each part of this beautiful cycle is valid; each outward rhythmical cycle is valid; each inward cycle is valid. They are necessary. Within each birth is a death and within each death is a birth.
So wrap yourself up in wool and blankets, take out your journal and favourite pencil, write, reflect and sit with your internal slumber. Hold your loved ones close, enjoy cosy times and the sound of the rain on your window. Winter is a time of warm foods, nourishing infusions, cinnamon, stories, fire and the nurturing of baby dreams. Let yourself be held in these beautifully restful dark days, let yourself enter these bare days with a tiny dream that needs darkness and nourishment to grow, hold yourself gently and let yourself know that you are beautiful, sacred and loved. Look after yourself in this tiny death because soon the sap of spring will be rising and pulling at your internal threads a feeling of shedding skins, creating life and living the new you.