With the darkening nights and the chill in the air, the year is preparing to breathe her last sigh. She’s readying herself to lie down in the cool moist earth, wrap herself over in leaves and reunite with the great mother. Do you feel it too? The desire to slow down, take stock and settle in, ‘courie in’ to winter? To let the frenzy of activity that is Spring, Summer and Autumn, take pause and sit, mulling over the year and building strength for the next.
The great decidious trees of the north, have shaken loose their leaves, dropped their seeds and bedded down into their roots. Isn’t it time we also rested? Yes, the holiday ‘season’ is running towards us, there will likely be much to do, places to go, people to see. But it’s different from any other time of the year. There’s something special about the space winter gifts us. The potential for space. In those cold clear nights we can watch our breathe crystallize: how incredible is that? We can watch as our outbreath, for an instant becomes fixed, solid, still, before dissipating. If our breathe can slow down so far, cannot we?
This is the time to reflect over the year. Reflect is not to judge, it is simply to observe what has passed, or is. By bringing a conscious, non judgemental, eye to our years’ experiences we acknowledge them, accept them, and allow them to dissipate, or return to the earth. In reflecting we gain perspective on ourselves. Instead of running straight from holiday into new year’s resolution, we can – after this reflective pause – set an intention for the year ahead. An intention which arises out of our understanding, it more often than not shines as clear as a cold starry sky.
If throwing your gaze over the whole year seems intimidating, choose an aspect, for example relationship with family and friends, or interaction with Nature, or self care, or creativity. Initially choosing a neutral or positive theme can make reflecting flow more easily. However the greatest insights often come with reflecting on what was difficult or challenging.
This looking inward is a powerful experience, and one supported at this time by Nature (in the north). In doing so, we are following our ancestors as they took leave of outside work and gathered around the fire to build and repair what was needed for the coming year. This was a time for stories, for sharing wisdom and knowledge, for recounting histories and tall tales of family members past and present. The year was re-enacted through the telling, lessons learned and experiences noted were laid down to become rich compost for the year ahead.
As the nights become longer, and indoors seems more inviting, take the time to give yourself a pause. Unplug and snuggle up to yourself. Take delicious warm baths or showers, enjoy hot tea with warming spices, practice the art of self massage with essential oils. When the outdoors beckon, walk amongst trees. And let yourself reflect on your experiences this year. You’ll be building riches for the next.