The wisdom of winter is about darkness.
Every year I need this reminder, to simply surrender to this natural rhythm of life. To slow down. To appreciate the seasons of more internal work. On outside it looks like nothing is growing, yet beneath the surface, internally, things are gestating, gathering nourishment, and an important metamorphosis is undoubtedly taking place. Without the fallow season there would be no rebirth, no transformation. The darkness is as necessary as the light, and resisting this truth has often thrown my world into utter chaos. Embracing the full energetic spectrum has allowed me to expand more fully into all aspects of my own creative process, and to see that all of it has value. The truth is, as creatives and visionaries we are always in our work, whether we are producing tangible things or not. Don't let your physical output be the stick by which you measure the value of who you are and what you do.
Rest, healing and stillness, are absolutely integral parts of our cycle.
I have been slowly emerging from a very long energetic winter of my own, which lasted most of 2018. There were times when I felt the urge to force myself into spring for more external reasons, but I wasn't truly ready until late last summer. I stayed in sync with my own seasons, and what I learned is there is great wisdom, and so much less resistance(!), in honoring our own rhythms and cycles. Even on a smaller scale, our moon cycle (week 4), has a winter. It's our body's reminder to ease off the gas, nourish yourself, and take care and rest. Nature knows her way around the block.
For us, there will always be shadow seasons in our lives; seasons of healing, seasons of grief, seasons of deep change, seasons of learning the hard lessons, seasons of reflection and integration, season of low energy for whatever reason. Allowing yourself the time and space to simply be where you are, knowing that this too is foundational to all you will create and become on the other side, is truly what it means to 'trust the process'. Just like making a painting when you inevitably hit that place where it feels like you've lost your way, staying with the discomfort, nurturing what's coming up (feelings of doubt, frustration, insecurity), is what pulls us through. It's in fully tending to whatever arises, for however long it takes, that enables us to find our way back into the light.
Tips for navigating the darker seasons:
1. Get enough sleep. This is so essential to all of your body's basic functions, especially when it's working through hard things!
2. Eat simply and mindfully. Have fresh, whole foods you like, on hand, you can easily grab and prepare. Don't waste energy on planning elaborate meals by asking your food to dazzle and entertain you (unless this is a true source of joy!).
3. Sit in the light. Literally. Get your vitamin D wherever you can.
4. Honor and make space for your feelings. Feel the sh*t out of them. Resist the urge to label or judge them. Journal them out if that feels supportive, and not like another thing to-do. Talk to someone you trust, a friend or a professional, to help hold the heavy things.
5. Move your body. Shake loose what is moving through by sweating it out however you enjoy... dance, box, stretch, run, swim, etc.
6. Find touch where you can. This activates the body's healing mechanisms on so many levels. Lay under a pile of blankets (or treat yourself to on of those schmancy weights blankets). Get a massage or some kind of body work. Self pleasure. Take baths. Hug your kids, your dog, your friends.
7. Have faith that in tending to your winter, your springtime will always arrive! Because it absolutely will.