Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Beauty and Wisdom of Winter

“Winter, while it can be one of the hardest seasons to embrace, has a lot to teach us about true beauty and wisdom. Stripped of her flowers, leaves, and warmth, the earth reveals her naked self through her skeleton branches and barren ground. She becomes completely simple, having discarded everything but the bare essentials. Her scarcity and fierceness command our respect and attention, and, without apology for not being a warm and gracious hostess, she retreats into frozen silence.

When we look to nature as our teacher, we see that she’s reflecting back to us a prolonged opportunity to hibernate and renew. Arriving with the shortest day of the year on the winter solstice, December 21 (June 21 in the southern hemisphere), winter slowly grows brighter from this day on as the sun’s presence gradually beams stronger and stronger until its apex on the next summer solstice.

Hanukkah, Advent, Christmas, and Kwanza, along with many other holidays and rituals, celebrate the return of this light. We’re reminded to connect with the sun within us, which is the bright potential of our souls, even amid the darkness and the holiday frenzy. We also celebrate New Year’s, a call to reflect on the past, appreciate the present, and dream about our future.

This truly is the time of year to go inside and ripen in our womanly wisdom before stepping out into the world again. Use the darkness all around you to explore your inner world. There you will find that flame inside of you that can never be extinguished. You can only make this descent when you commit to stillness, solitude, and deep soul-searching. You must become quiet, less social, more introverted, and–despite the negative connotations in most cultures–lazy. Just as fields need to remain fallow at times for their soil to stay fertile, we need to leave our innermost beings barren of new projects, adventures, and activities.”

If we don’t take time each year for deep rest, then authentic healing, rejuvenation, wisdom, and softening are not possible. It takes so much energy to burst forth into the world and to birth something new. This winter, treat yourself like a pregnant mama. Rest, nurture yourself, rebuild your vital life force, and prepare for the coming of new life. And if you don’t live in an area with a pronounced winter season, you need to be more disciplined about getting quiet. This is also an opportunity to listen to the subtler rhythms of nature. Yet while nature’s saying one thing, society’s saying another.“

 - Sara Avant Stover 
The Way of the Happy Woman



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