We tend to see winter as reflective of death, and often something or someone does go out of our life at this powerful time of year. The underworld retrieves that which it gave in spring, the great cycle of return now underway. As the landscape stands stark and colorless, contrast is evident, and we must pick up the palate of our inner world. Rather than deny the dark and cold of the external world, we need to move into the warmth of soul for the illumination we seek.
As projects or loved ones recede, we are given an opportunity to recount ourselves. If we’ve been on a blazing marathon, this transition may be difficult at first, because we have to stop. Winter does that to us. When we don’t pay attention to the subtle clues, the body is under attack.
Winter puts us on notice that everything is exposed. The trees and landscape are pared back, only the sturdy wood remaining through the onslaught of the elements. So we, too, may have harsh weather, and we must bear through it. When it is lovely outside, we have no reason to sit at home and ponder the state of our union, and I have noted in the process of unfoldment that it is important to avoid avoidance. If we insist on ignoring the external signals, winter will bring stillness to our attention.
We live in a society that doesn’t make time for siestas, so we must carve the quiet time…the reflective time, out of our schedule as an act of discipline. And when the pain or hurt or isolation creeps in, we need to find the gift in it, for at the root, winter leads to spring, and it is the quality of our insights bound in winter that will dictate the seeds we plant as the new season unfolds.