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Winter may not seem like the most fun and appealing of seasons (especially now the bright lights of Christmas are fading to a distant memory) but there’s still a lot to love! In fact, winter holds some of the most potent pathways towards conscious living, and is AS essential for our happiness, health and spiritual growth as every other season.
Here are seven reasons the winter is essential for your evolution (and a few tips to help you make the most of it!)
1. Winter Forces us to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n
It’s not as easy to run around getting every essential thing done when you’re wrapped up in a hundred layers and hats and scarves and it’s drizzling outside and it’s already going dark at 3pm! But this season wasn’t designed to be favourable for the speed, hustle and urgency of other times of the year, so forcing these into this quiet, dark space rarely works out well.
Winter is all about gentle contemplation, a slow, steady pace, and a restful approach. So try this for a few days, and see how different you feel:
- Eat slowly
- Block out 15 minutes of unplanned time at regular intervals throughout the day and do nothing!
- Do just one thing at a time, instead of multitasking like you usually do.
- Look out of the window for half an hour, instead of looking at the TV (or your Facebook feed)
- Watch the sunrise, or the sunset. All of it. (See number 4 below)
2. Winter Encourages Healing
Over winter, nature sheds everything that isn’t fundamentally necessary for survival.
This will often mean plants lose leaves and stems die back with only their root-balls conserving energy underground. Many animals also hibernate, naturally programmed to remain unconscious for months so that deep healing can take place.
If, as humans, we take this as our lead and also go within, consume less, be less active and less available, we are conserving our life-force energy for this same deep healing to take place, on every level of our being.
3. The Cold Connects Us
Cold temperatures are an excuse – and a reason – get physically closer to other people! It is OK to hug, hold hands, snuggle on the sofa and experience touch in a way that is different from the hot, sun-kissed nakedness of Summer. The cold of winter invokes a type of devotion to another persons wellbeing that is primal and elemental and connects us to our roots.
And if we can’t be physically close to those we love, research shows we still dedicate more of our time to them. In very cold weather, we tend to make fewer phone calls but each one lasts a lot longer, suggesting that as temperatures fall, we share more deeply with our closest kin.
4. Winter Shows us the Sunrise … and the Sunset
During other seasons you may catch one or the other, or neither in the height of Summer if the Sun is up for more hours than you are. But experiencing both in one day, reminds us of the tiny spinning planet we are on and its relationship to the vastness of the life-giving Sun.
AND … sunrises and sunsets are SO impossibly beautiful! They are living, breathing, ever-changing art made from swirling pinks, scarlet mists and pastel purples which hold so much of the wonder and mystery of this awesome journey we are on. Watching them serves as a potent reminder not to take life for granted.
5. Winter Teaches Embodiment
Escape, adventure and the expansion that comes with the heat of Summer just doesn’t feel so good in the depths of winter. Instead, this season encourages us to seek our pleasure closer to home, so close in fact, that it’s within the container of our own bodies.
Warm drinks, hot baths, thick-pile rugs, swathes of woollen blankets and the crackle of a fire – the pleasures of this season are felt. And there’s no other way to do this than to come home into our bodies and inhabit them fully.
So instead of hunching your shoulders against the cold, collapse them into a soft scarf. Instead of letting your fingers freeze in icy air, envelop them in some super-warm shearling mittens!
Find sensual pleasure right here. In your OWN skin.
6. Winter Teaches us that Death is Safe
Death is an undeniable fact of life, but it’s something that our society has become very good at hiding from us, instead advocating only the sanctity of life. But death IS life – we are all part of this unending cycle, and cloaking it from view doesn’t make it any less real.
Winter teaches us not to fear death.
During this season it’s all around us in the natural world, visible as plants and trees die back, but we know that these deaths are a necessary phase before life can return in Spring. Winter serves as a powerful and safe reminder of this universal truth.
7. Winter Fuels Optimism!
Studies show that constant warm weather doesn’t actually make people happier – it’s much more of a boost to have something bright to look forward to! So if you’re somebody who struggles with the long, dark days of winter, see this time as an exercise in optimism.
Being able to nurture feelings of expectation and hope is an essential tool when it comes to drawing in a positive future, because this doesn’t happen automatically. It needs practice, and persistence.
Being optimistic is a powerful form of participation in life! And once you start doing this, life will join right in with you.
How do YOU feel about Winter?
Do you feel at home in this season or are you waiting for Spring to arrive!
Share your feelings below!