As we approach the winter solstice, that moment of the longest night and the shortest day, it is a demarcation of transition into winter. For many, winter can feel bleak, barren, a sense of life suspended amid the naked trees and sometimes blanketing white snow. And yes, winter is a time of stillness, a time of quiet, a time for reflection. It is also a beautiful incubation period, a time of gestation for rebirth in preparation for the reemergence of spring. Through this secretive season, when plants lay dormant underground and animals are cozy in their nests, we may be reminded to also find space for stillness of the mind, a slowing of activity and making purposeful time to rest and renew before the dawning of spring’s reanimation.
We know winter; we know it well. We experience it, and all four seasons, through our daily activity. When seen through the lens of a day, winter is our sleeping time. Each night, we winter-over, replenishing the body and giving way to a new day to be lived. In the morning, we reemerge to the rising sun, the signal of light and life of spring, the precursor to our busy day ahead. Our waking hours become filled with work and engagements, the buzzing activity and pollination of ideas and friendships, reminiscent of summer. Then as the day closes, we make our quiet retreat home in the evening, withdrawing and much like fall, we shed our worries, enjoy the fruits of our labor and prepare for another winter’s sleep. These cycles are intrinsic to our lives on Earth.
On the larger scale, we know the seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall. We experience them both externally through the visual changes of the seasons, as well as emotionally and energetically. Winter holds that space for creation, for time to dream again. While the temperatures are cooler and the trees bare, we’re given a blank canvas to create anew. We turn inward, often recalling the successes and opportunities of the preceding year and setting intentions for new ways of being. Here, in this time of renewal, the plants prepare for their next season, and we have opportunity to germinate new possibilities, new life. Soon enough will come the spring! In this time, we see the physical emergence of new life with the budding of plants and trees and the onset of blooms. Life shows us her restorative capacity to emerge brighter, stronger, showing her vibrant colors after a monochrome season of rest. And so, too, we have that same opportunity, to return in spring refreshed and vibrant! We embrace our new endeavors, ever with the beginner’s mind, ready to explore, adapt and learn.
Throughout the months of summer, we notice the ripening blooms, the hum of pollinators helping flowers transition into fruit that provides nourishment. We are surrounded by reminders of the perpetuation of life. Summer is the heyday glory season, when we may shine brightest and soak up the sun of long days. We feel most energized, most active and we seize this time of physical, mental and emotional accomplishment. And as with all things that come into maturity, while we enjoy the harvest of summer’s labors into the fall, we soon begin the season of releasing. This is the time of completion, of the conclusion of the lifecycle. As leaves fall from the trees and plants die away, we sense the capacity to let go, to find acceptance of any losses or missed opportunities, and we come into gratitude for all we’ve experienced in the year. What a beautiful way to celebrate the close of the annual seasons!
We resonate so closely with the changing of the seasons and all the opportunities for growth and evolution because this seasonal cycle began within us at the spark of creation! Through the time in our mother’s womb, we are in the season of winter, the season of hibernation and preparation of waiting for our emergence into the world. We are then born, sprouting into the season of spring, learning to slowly crawl, then walk, and how to express ourselves. We slowly understand how we relate with the world, moving through the years of our youth. As we grow older, our life experiences bring us the gift of maturity and understanding, we become teachers and guides for ourselves and for future generations as we step into the shining glory of adulthood, our individual season of summer. We will then come to know the shifting of time and the transition into fall. Just as leaves change color, we notice our own graying hairs, the color of our skin turning more pallid, and a slowing of activity. Through the wisdom of this late-life season, we release our fixed thinking of youth, and we begin preparation for our journey through our golden years. This is a time of harvesting all we’ve learned throughout our lives, passing it forward to the next generations as we prepare for the closure of our own lifecycle, knowing there will be life which continues after we make our final passing.
There is such natural beauty when embracing the changing seasons. Each season brings a gift, whether we experience it fractally through the Earth’s seasonal changes, microcosmically through our daily cycle, or macrocosmically through the seasons of our lives. As we move through this solstice, marking the shortest day and the longest night, we prepare ourselves for a new season, while taking time to recover, renew, refresh and rebirth. Let this winter season be a time for quiet and slumber, of slowing down and replenishing, so you may emerge reenergized and revitalized in the spring. Allow yourself time to release and let go of all that you’ve carried throughout the year and set your mind to what new possibilities might arise and germinate through the season of winter, infusing life into new ideas and ways of being. Come spring, you will awaken with a renewed vitality! Winter is not death and barrenness; it is quite the opposite: winter is the secret time when all that will be is just beginning.
By Jennifer Rizza, Founder of Newtown Wellness Collective, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher, Healthy Living & Wellness Coach, Lover of Nature