From the very first lightly, softly, falling snowflake, I smile inward. Winter is here and all the joys and frustrations of winter are here, as well: the holidays, Winter Solstice and the frustration of the cold and modern technologies that may fail on us because of that cold.
It’s a cycle, just like our lives. Some parts bring us joy and some others not so much. We experience bumps in the road during our life journeys. But really, it’s only temporary. That’s what I keep in mind from a spiritual perspective. Winter is short lived. Winter is like other things in life, just a minor nuisance along the path of life. Things are in constant motion and changing continuously, nothing ever remains the same.
Winter is the time to clean out our closet spiritually, physically and emotionally. Winter is a time for reflection and self-care, just like those big bears in the woods that hibernate in dream time and think of all the wonderful things they want to do when spring wakens them with the warm sun and gentle rains.
Winter is a time to reflect on the goals we’ve accomplished over the last year, and the goals we want to continue to strive for no matter how long they may take, as long as we keep making an intentional effort. Many people think goals should only be for the upcoming year, but some goals may take a lifetime to complete.
Winter is long and dark. Many of us have trouble adjusting to those short days and long nights. This is the time to think about those indoor activities that need our attention. It’s hard to go out and play as an adult. It was so much easier when we were children. I recall being able to play, skate, make snowmen and sled outside for hours and not wanting to rush indoors to get warm. Now, it’s a totally different ballgame.
If you’ve been putting off your daily meditation, this is the time to do it. It calms the mind; intentional breath helps to elevate emotions that tend to build up in our solar plexus. It lowers your blood pressure, and helps you to focus more in daily tasks. You become calmer and more intentional in your daily life. Winter IS the time for further reflection, and meditation is a great way to do this.
How about cleaning out those closets and drawers and consider giving unneeded items to charity? I find that when I clean out my closets of old junk that’s just taking up space, or shoes and clothes that do not fit right anymore or things I haven’t worn in what seems like ages (I try to stick to the five years limit) I feel really good about doing it afterwards. It feels like I just let a ton of “stuff” off of my shoulders. You actually will feel lighter.
Volunteering, or just helping out a lonely neighbor, is another thing to consider. When you give of yourself, you give to yourself and the world around you, or at least to your part of the universe. In the winter, some of us feel stuck, or alone, and we don’t quite know what to do. Volunteerism of any kind opens doors and hearts to new friendships.
In the long run, all of these things support our life’s journey — maybe not all at once, but perhaps a little bit at a time. And they do make a lasting effect over a lifetime. We just need to make the move and the intention to do it.