- Published on Thursday, 14 February 2013 17:36
- Written by Donna Mazzitelli
On February 2nd (when the groundhog popped out to tell us spring will come early this year), I hosted my first of four one-day retreats that will focus on the mid-seasons of 2013. It was a wonderful experience for me to facilitate and bring into the participants' awareness more of what it means to be in midwinter.
Through my own writing this winter, I've deepened my understanding of how important it is to connect with nature in the midst of our day-to-day lives. Yet, because most of us live such an "indoor" lifestyle during the wintertime, it's easy to be completely disconnected with what's happening outside. Unless we're into winter sports, we may hardly spend time outdoors at this time of year. The cold and wet may keep us from venturing out, and our only excursions may be in our cars as we run errands--going from one indoor place to another.
What came out of our retreat were some great reminders and aha moments.
Living in Colorado and looking out at nature's dormancy can feel depressing. Most of the participants said they were already wanting it to be summer (yes, they wanted to skip right over spring and plunge into summertime heat and outdoor life). Yet, as we talked, everyone came to a deeper appreciation of what is happening in nature right now and what cues we can take from Mother Nature.
Underground and within the trees, plants, and grasses, energy is being gathered and conserved for the impending burst of new life in spring. We may not be able to see it, but animals and plants are continuing to rest and make use of what they stored up in the fall. Bears are hibernating, continuing to experience dream states. The energy within plants and trees is being held in their roots and trunks--a very centralized way to shore up throughout winter in order to survive the oftentimes harsh cold.
We can do the same in our lives, tending the fires within until spring bursts forth with new life, color, and vibrancy.
Rather than jump ahead to summer or feel as if we must hit the ground running during the first quarter of the new year, midwinter invites us to rest more, eat hearty, and tend to ourselves in mind, body, and essence. We may have set intentions for the new year, but rather than taking a frenetic approach to what we want to manifest in our lives, we can allow ideas and plans to incubate and percolate, to simmer even. It's about preparing so we can sustain our energy for the entire year. When we actually slow down, more can happen.
Have you wanted to write a book? Finish one you've been working on for some time? Review one you've previously written? This is a good time of year to do just that. Slow down. Grab a cup of tea and a blanket. Put a nice pot of soup on the stove for when you get hungry. Allow yourself to dream--allow your essence to come through. Write, journal, create music, sing, maybe even dance or twirl when you feel the need to move.
The saying, "Slow and steady wins the race" has been around for a long time because it's still true today. If we honor this time of year, and allow ourselves to BE more than DO, we will one day soon look back and be amazed at what burst forth. Just as a tree doesn't have to do anything but BE itself during winter in order to burst forth with leaves in the spring, we may find that come spring, we have an entire manuscript written. At the very least (which is not "least" at all), we may discover more of who we are--what we are passionate about and what makes our heart sing.
What might you do during the rest of winter to tend your internal fires? I'd love to hear!