Leaning into winter
It has been a process and it’s not always comfortable, but wow is it a beautiful way to pass the time as the sun sets early and we find ourselves spending much more time indoors.
Being in the cold makes you feel alive. The cool air permeating your earth suit. You are immediately taken into awareness. You feel the cold in so many different ways and they’re all lovely, making you appreciate your home and it’s levels of “comfort” even more.
As an avid nature love, I had always waited in anticipation for the spring…leading into summer and the fall. Three seasons I have always easily loved.
Winter has it’s own sense of wonder. As a native Michigander, winter has been part of my life since my first year of life on this wondrous planet. I was born in the spring so I always said spring was my favorite season, the season I was born into, just after the start of spring on March 22.
Bursting with life, just like me.
A photo from a walk around my neighborhood when it was 8 degrees. My hair had frozen from my breath condensation. But this is what I saw..
Was it worth it?
Now it’s February in Michigan. Today it is 45 degrees in comparison to last week it was in the teens.
Today is easy.
My husband and I have been making it our goal to spend more time outdoors in winter. We thought, if we do it all year in the “nice months,” why wouldn’t we enjoy it during the winter?
We have been making a point to go see the miraculous sunset, the greatest show on earth as often as we can, and the frigid cold is no longer an excuse to stay inside.
The sunset always fills us with wonder, the clouds seem to dance to a new beat in the winter months. Colors and light that we can’t quite explain. But we know it’s beautiful and we know it makes us feel so very much alive.
It’s such a blessing to change up our surroundings and reconnect with the natural world. And the best part…it’s kind of free. All you need to do is have the things you need to be warm, bring a snack, water, and get your sweet self outside.
We have been making it a point to enjoy the winter in a variety of ways. Here are a few ways I have been connecting with the spirit of winter.
❉ being in nature ❉
❉ Nature aligns us with the rhythms that are inherently a part of us. We are nature, something we often forget. Even on the grey Michigan winter days, I find myself outside and trying to absorb her stillness. The deep slumber of life and relishing in those moments when a chickadee or titmouse crosses my path. Or those incredible moments when I hear an owl or see a red tail flies into my view. I believe the universe speaks to use in a variety of ways, and one of those ways is through nature. It’s healthy for our bodies, minds and spirits to be in communication with nature. We can communicate with her through a variety of ways including…walking, hiking, sports, birding, skiing, and just being a true wonderer of the wild (whatever that means to you) If you are unsure where to find the wild, start with your own backyard if you have one, and if not find a local park. Notice the way life shifts. Notice which trees still have leaves or needles. Notice the tracks you may see in the snow. Notice the way the sun shimmers on the snow making rainbows in a sea of white. Beautiful. What birds do you hear? Do you see anything flying above you?
If we don’t make the time to explore and be outside, then how can we feel connected? How can we speak to her?
❉ slowing down (yes you are allowed + should go slow) ❉
❉ The natural cycles of our planet have so much to offer us. The winter, to me, is a reminder to slow down. To build back your energy and to go inward. A good time to do some deep inner work and cleansing of the body, mind and spirit. I have personally being listening to the animal wisdom that has been appearing in my dreams and even on my hikes and walks. Right now, I am honoring the medicine of the bear. She revealed herself to me in a dream and I have been working with her energy ever since. The ability to go inward (in the den) take care of oneself, and then emerge in the spring, fertile with ideas (cubs). As you can sense, nature has been my key way of speaking to the universe. I had decided for this season of winter I would not be on social media and it has worked out very well for me. Going inward is not as easy when we are constantly stimulated by a world of images and external this that and the other thing. Let’s collectively give ourselves permission to slow down. To soothe the Parasympathetic nervous system (part of the CNS that calms the “fight or flight or freeze” response of the CNS. If your looking for a way to slow down, try some deep breathing or meditation when you wake up. Allow your mind to quiet and just notice what thoughts come up. Sit with them. Befriend them. Release them. A good practice is to write yourself a permission slip on areas where you can slow down.
I give myself permission to slow down…
How can you allow yourself to honor the medicine of winter?
Where can you slow down?
Here are some tips for ways to enjoy winter with ease, including what you need to have to properly…in my northern soul opinion…to enjoy the big slow down.