It is a fact, Winter is here.
After most of Europe, even Mallorca, has experienced a burst of snow at one point this December. We have all been forced to acknowledge that it is time to let go of the last seasons and get ready to say goodbye to 2017. The beauty of this month is that it has the potential to create an appropriate space and a setting for appreciation of what the year has brought, as well as appreciation for the people who have accompanied us in it.
There is the cold, crisp air, crystallising and clarifying the atmosphere, the gentle snow quieting the surrounding, swallowing up the noise and bringing silence and peacefulness into our hearts. There is the receding day light that forces us to turn in and slow down. It is a time to be more with yourself, more introvert, more hours spent indoors and curled up, literally and figuratively, it is a perfect ground for contemplation and integration. There is no coincidence in nature creating it this way. A complete contraction, prompting rest and relaxation to gather our wits and energy for a new cycle of expansion and growth, once the spring comes.
For many a resistance comes up toward this forced hibernation. And as we know, where there is resistance we reject what is, and thereby miss the quality and grace of the present moment in its utter perfection. So take this as an invitation, to lean into natures calling, to surrender to the shorter hours of sunlight and ease into the cozy richness that this time of year has to offer.
Of course it is also a time to spend with friends, family, loved ones, which for some is an ambiguous period, as it may bring with it some tensions, some grief, longings and other uncomfortable feelings. Christmas can be an awkward resurfacing of old hurts or unmet needs, but also here lies an opportunity. A call for closeness and familiarity. It is not for nothing that we expose ourselves to the agitations that can come up when spending intensive time with our families. There is an inherent yearning for connection at the core of humans, while simultaneously there is nothing more challenging then the friction created when we gather for a longer period of time. Especially if history and conditioning get thrown into the mix.
The chance here is in honouring each others differences, in finding places in ourselves and others that are touched by each others presence, and above all, the gratitude for what it is we have shared and received from each other.
It is a simple practice of staying rooted in ourselves as we connect to those around us. It is a good time to remember what you love about them and also a perfect opportunity to learn to be true to yourself and set boundaries, while exercising compassion with oneself and the people close to us, that might rub us the wrong way or even pain us at times with their unawareness or incapabilities. This too is part of being human. Owning our limitations and respecting those of others.
Weather or not you celebrate christmas or other festivities this month, see if you can bring some gentleness into the way you engage with your inner and outer world. It would be a shame to toughen up, or simply endure this time of year, as it has valuable attributes that can support a softening of the heart and soul and carries a potential for true intimacy . Use it as a ceremony, designed to help you embrace this moment in its fullness.
Also the body yearns for tenderness during this season. As the outer circumstances get harder and sharper through weather and barrenness, there is a calling for warmth and kindness in our interior. Take hot baths, eat soups, drink warm and sweet drinks, sit by the fire, cuddle up to those you love, enjoy the sauna or a yin yoga lesson.
And don’t forget, as the danish say “there is no such thing as bad weather, there is only bad clothing.” 😉
On that note, enjoy a beautiful time of cherishing that which you have and those you love, respect the body, your temple and be gentle to your heart.
I wish you a lovely, ceremonial winter.