Sheila Mae Hamilton Blog Number #4

Winter

Winter can be a difficult season with short days and long nights of darkness and can be associated with loneliness, sadness, isolation and bleakness.  But it is also a time for hibernating, for withdrawing and restoring energy; a time to slow down, rest and pause; a time for nourishment, reflection, silence, solitude and growth; a time to refocus and reassess our direction and purpose. 

It reminds us that life is not always visible, it might feel as if nothing is happening in Winter, but life continues unseen beneath the earth.  After the dramatic and vibrant colours of autumn, Winter has more subtle, but nonetheless beautiful hues of soft grey, white, pink and powder blue.  We experience gorgeous starry moonlit skies, perhaps even the Northern Lights, magnificent sun rises and sun sets, icy puddles, frost patterns, snow dusting the hills, crisp icy winds and lots of rain ensuring the greenness of the grass. 

Trees lose their leaves and enter a period of dormancy, conserving their energy, protecting themselves from strong winds and snow and enabling them to survive. This letting go, this fallow time is essential for nature, for ourselves and for all life. 

Katherine May in her book, ‘Wintering’ says she has wintered many times in her life in order to survive and says, ‘Wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience and wisdom resides in those who have wintered’.  She poses the question, ‘How do you survive the wintering phase of your life?’ and says, ’I knew that I had to find the most comfortable way to live through  . . . until Spring’.  

It is a time when we need to draw on our resilience, strength and endurance, to journey to our innermost depths.  Wrapping up and keeping warm, eating well, coorieing down, being gentle, compassionate and kind to myself and getting outside into nature whenever I can, all help me. 

What do you do, to survive winter and to endure your wintering?

We can live in faith and hope that Spring will come, but until then we need patience:

‘’While we are in our winter space, we may be tempted to give up, to lose hope, to stop believing in ourselves because we cannot see our growth. Winter asks us only to be, to live with mystery, to wait patiently, to keep a delicate balance between yielding to winter’s silence and keeping our eyes on a future springtime.  Each day challenges us to carry hope in our hearts, no matter how sparse our awareness of inner stirrings might be. Winter is the calm and wise voice of encouragement. It offers assurance that the seeds of life are being tended, that what is needed for future growth is simply waiting to burst forth with the wild joy of Spring.  And Spring will indeed come. ‘’

From The Circle of Life by Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr.

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