Winter Renewal

As much as I like to grumble about winter’s cold, snow, ice, sleet and rain, I secretly kind of like it.   Well, I don’t actually like the drastic weather conditions.  More so I like the changes it can evoke in me mentally, spiritually and emotionally.  I’ve learned, over time, to accept and even enjoy the experiences than only wintertime can bring.

It used to be that I really dreaded wintertime; the short daylight hours, the long, dark, cold nights.  I used to get a form of the winter blues, where it just all seemed so eternally gray and muted.  I would inwardly feel a bit sad.  And I would get in the habit of thinking negatively about everything winter-related.  Kind of a self-perpetuating numbness.

Over time, I guess I’ve gotten a lot more accepting of things, especially those things over which I have no control.  And I think we can all agree that weather conditions are one thing that we can definitely not control.  I started looking at winter with a new perspective, and how it could be used as a time of reflection and replenishment.  Since nature is slowing down and resting at this time, I took my cue from it and decided to do that for myself.

I find that it is a great time for looking inward; meditating, praying, reading.  There are fewer distractions, everything being colder, darker and slower-paced.  I take this time to recharge my batteries, so to speak.  I have learned to not to be afraid of my feelings, to not suppress them.  If I’m sad, I feel sad; mad, angry, frustrated – same thing.  I let it come out and really really feel it.  And then I usually go out for a brisk walk (in wintertime that is the only type of walk you can take!)  Usually this brings me back to a state of  positively balanced calmness.

I find myself cooking a lot more in winter- and really enjoying it.  I usually can be found brewing up pots of bean soup or roasting root vegetables; something that I would never do in summer.  It is so satisfying to make and then savor, some wholesome home cooking.

It’s also a great time to read that stack of books that I’ve put off all summer.  Wintertime really lends itself to reading.  Curling up in a warm blanket with a hot cup of tea, reading, is one of the great pleasures of life.  There are fewer distractions, less activity, less guilt about slowing down.

I guess I have taken Wayne Dyer’s words of advice to heart:  “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  I have changed how I look at winter; and it has in turn changed!

~Marilyn Huttunen

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