Changing seasons, time to breathe.

I’ve chosen to discuss time and winter today and map them as metaphors; as reflections in our lives. The following are questions I pose to myself, that may relate to this time of year.

We get another hour this week, time will be different for the next few months. There is a shift in the day; it will be shorter and darkness envelops us more and more. Twice in the year this monumental alteration occurs and changes our interaction with our environment and ourselves. How does it impact on us?

  • How do you feel about winter as it arrives? Is it something you welcome, that you embrace, with it’s beautiful singularity, welcoming wrapping up; or is it something you do not look forward to, associating it with dread?
  • Each one of us has an individual experience of the seasonal adjustment. As the delicate balance shifts, it is important that we understand our place in it’s movement. How do we understand it’s effect on us? We all inhabit the earth-people, animals, plant life, we are made aware of life’s precious transience by observing what’s going on around us. In Ireland we experience distinct seasons, they have a tempo that can be reflected in the cycle of life, of our life.
  • There are natural pauses in the cycle of nature which invites us to reflect. Winter is one of these, it is the earth taking a breath. What do we do with these pauses, how do we engage with them, absorb them? Winter can give us a wonderful opportunity to contemplate, to slow down and notice how we are as time transforms, as nature takes a break.
  • Some of us are acutely tuned in to the dwindling light. Darkness is often associated with feeling depressed, the dark cloud. How can we manage if we feel sadder or more subdued as the days shorten? Firstly it’s important to become aware-we must learn our patterns-is there a change in our mood related to the season, to the amount of light we get? Do we mind ourselves appropriately in the winter? Do we eat well, do we ensure we take care of ourselves in more challenging conditions?
  • Winter’s beauty is stark, it is clear. As the leaves depart the trees and the ground hardens, there is a powerful majesty about nature’s essence being made apparent. It is stripped bare, revealing it’s vulnerability. How do we reveal our vulnerabilities? Do we keep them hidden behind what might seem distraction or are we able to know them, express them, share them.
  • Winter light is keenly welcomed as it is so spare. It’s fleeting nature can be harnessed, it clears a way through the darkness. It invites us to see what’s being kept in the shadows, when spring emerges we speak of clearing and cleaning, starting afresh; there must be a preparation period leading up to that. Time in winter is the lead in to the season of renewal, where the ingredients are being identified, gathered and mixed.
  • Where is your safe sanctuary? This question is especially piqued in winter as with this season can come great destruction. While it can be dangerous, it can also open the door to great opportunity, it can clear a space. Where is your safe sanctuary? Is it a place, is a person, is it a memory, it is something you draw on within you, that you can nourish. It is something that is important to know, in order to have the knowledge that you can rest there.

These are just some thoughts on the wonderful poignancy of our lives entwined with nature’s cycle….

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