Invitation to Winter Renewal and Revision
by Suzanne E. Sky, MTOM, Life Resilience Coach
According to the Chinese lunar Calendar, Winter began this year (2021) on November 7th, just a few days ago from when I wrote this. It was the coldest day so far and felt quite wintery. While here in the Western hemisphere, we think of Winter Solstice as the beginning of winter, Solstice is actually the apex of winter - the longest period of dark. In the Chinese lunar calendar the seasons are marked by the changes and balance of Yin (dark, cold, inward energy) and Yang (light, warmth, expansive energy) throughout the year. So early in November, when the dark and cold begins to increase, marks the very beginning of winter.
As fall moves into winter, life slows down. The energy moves deeper; sap slows and drops deep into the roots of the tree; seeds go dormant in the deep, dark earth; the grass stops growing in the pasture. Bears and other animals hibernate in their winter burrows or caves. So also does our own energy go deep to our core of the body, just as it does in the earth. Following along with this seasonal energy can help us build resilience. Here are a couple ways I alter my own rhythms at this time of year to enjoy the restful energy of the season.
Winter is a good time to go to bed early and to stay in bed a little late. I get off the computer, eat dinner, and go to bed earlier than in spring or summer. I might cuddle up with a good book or write in my journal before bed.
My morning routine changes seasonally as well. In summer, I love to get up and outside early. During these darker cool months, I might sleep in a bit later, and enjoy a cup of warm tea after my morning meditation before I head out for a walk with my golden retriever Ginger. By then it’s a few degrees warmer and, if we’re lucky, the sun might even be shining!
As we enter into the darker days of winter, some of us might feel the pull of our psyche turning more inwards. We may spend more time indoors, or may crave more quiet time and retreat into our cave, whether our inner cave for reflection or just being at home more to work on inside projects, like writing or art. This is certainly true for me, though I know many folks love the outdoors and winter sports.
Rest and Renewal
The ancient Chinese sages and medical practitioners taught that, energetically, winter is a time of rest and renewal – going within to connect with the essence of our being; it is a time to conserve our energy and hold it deeply, renewing our vision and our spirit. In the stillness of being and winter we are called to listen deeply. Who do we listen to?
Being quiet, still and meditative brings healing to our kidneys and adrenals, stressed by our high-paced lifestyle and the worries of so many issues affecting us individually and collectively. Gatherings with friends and family to share meals, activities, and laughter also nourishes our hearts and spirits to lighten and replenish our souls during these darker months.
What are your winter renewal practices and experiences? I'd love to hear!
From my heart to yours, Suzanne Sky - Life Resilience Coach
As a Life Resilience Coach, I offer a heart-centered approach to support purpose-driven women in transition in creating the meaningful life they love.
We work together in a collaborative coaching process to identify practical steps you can take in alignment with your abilities, core values, and life vision so you can live your heart and create the impact you want. My whole person coaching integrates compassionate awareness, collaborative dialogue, gentle inquiry, and an invitation to engage in journaling and embodied awareness practices.
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