I love winter, and I often long for it by the time the trees have grown bare and the leaves have all turned brown. This year however, I noticed myself mourning the end of Autumn more than usual. Less excited for the snowy months ahead. The colours seemed to be extra rich and vibrant, and the extended warmer weather was welcomed. In many ways, this felt symbolic for the state of my own being. A little bit of resistance to the inevitable change; to the grief that comes with death, big or small.

November was, in a way, a month filled with the unexpected. With a lot of staying in my head, and being less in my body. This was needed for a time. Often times, this can be what is necessary when in survival mode. Our nervous systems have a way of really knowing what they can handle, and when they are ready to release what has been held inside. But, I could see the transition from autumn to winter taking place outside, and could feel the journey begin from my head down into my body-self too. It was slow, but it was beginning. The flurry of my emotions and thoughts started to slowly move from the cerebral realm to the feeling realm; from my airy thought centre, to my more grounded body centre.

It was a month where I felt pulled in many directions. My body-self was stretching. Yes expanding at times, and then thinning too much at others. I noticed the fear of disappointing my loved ones surface as I needed to retreat more. I noticed a resistance to my own humanness and limitation. It was a month where I was confronted with my own unconscious patterns and fears, yet also an awareness of some deeper desires too. This awareness can be alarming, new, and a reflection of your own evolution. Change, once again.

December is here now. The culmination month of the last eleven. The reflective month. The cozy, inviting month that ushers us into both anticipation and here-ness. I often use the term “hermit or hermitting” during this time. A word choice that reflects my need to shut myself in for a while, away from anyone or anything that requires my attention. I am more of a contemplator first, and verbal processor second. It is more in my nature to go inward and let my feelings show themselves to me before I let anyone else into them. Winter gives me this deeper permission when I need some extra compassion and spaciousness.

Winter is the great invitation to burrow down, to go slower, to let ourselves reach for all of the creaturely comforts.

Winter is for hibernating. For getting into your bed earlier, and lingering at home longer.

It is for expecting less of yourself, and others too.

It is a time for your body to remind you that they are switching gears, and are hoping you let them.

Winter is for more soups and warm baths. For more cups of tea, and extra treats.

Winter is the great hearth that warms, and embraces our entire being when we lean into her.

Winter is a Wise Sage. An Alchemist of sorts. Let her work her magic on you.

We need winter. She is an invitation sometimes cloaked in depression, exhaustion, irritability, grief, longing and limitation. She is a visitor who comes every year, whether we like it or not. So, may we accept her instead of resist her. May we let her tend to our bodies, and give us the permission to change our pace and adjust our rhythms.

By David Whyte

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.
All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
‘round every living thing.
What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.
What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,
what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.
What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.
Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.
All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.
All those years
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.
All those years
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.
And the slow
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
Silence and winter
have led me to that
So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.”

One thought on “Winter: The Invitation to Hibernate

  1. I loved this blog. The way you have expressed your love of the winter season had me feeling each word. You have a wonderful way of captivating your readers. Great poem selection.


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