After an unsettlingly mild autumn, it looks like winter is with us at last.
No, the snow hasn't covered everything yet, but I'm sure it soon will. It's part of the cycle of living in the Midwest here in the U.S.
I used to hate winter. "Hate" is a word I don't care to use unless it is absolutely necessary, but yes, I used to HATE it. My depression and desperation would grow to hopelessness. Was it in part to Seasonal Affective Disorder, the lack of sunlight? Probably, as that still does affect me. As the years go on, however, I'm acknowledging that I'll be here in the Midwest for quite some time, so hating winter won't change it. I don't have to love it, but I'm coming to accept it, respect it, and appreciate it for what it can teach us.
What can winter teach us? What can chilly winds, snowflakes, shoveling, and barren-looking trees teach us about life? A lot, actually, if you think about it--and there is a lot of time for thinking in winter! That's the point, I believe. Let's look at plants and trees, for an example. In the fall, the trees begin to cast off their leaves, conserving their energy, preparing for the cold season. Some say "trees are dead" in the winter, but they are dormant--sleeping. Are you dead when you sleep? Of course not. You're resting your body and mind, preparing for a new day. Maybe your dreams are providing inspiring ideas for creative ventures or solutions for situations.
Now, apply that line of thinking to winter. The trees have gone within, conserving their energy, waiting for the warmth of spring, sleeping and repairing inside. Why should we not do the same this season? Instead of griping about the cold, or lack of light, maybe we should go within, rethink our lives, or beliefs. Use this time to repair ourselves, whether it be bad habits, poor ways of thinking, or taking up the things we used to love, but maybe have been neglecting to do. Read, meditate, or maybe just sit and think about what it is within you that needs improvement before the warmth of spring arrives. Maybe you'll come up with ideas and dreams to develop on and later fulfill in the warmer months.
Life, in my view, is about growth--encouraging others to do it, and growing our own horizon of thoughts and experience. In nature, growth cannot happen without periods of rest and rejuvenation, which is what winter is all about. So maybe this season, to my friends in the upper hemisphere, consider taking a tree's view of winter this season, and see how you begin to feel. Use this time to rest and rejuvenate. Mend outdated ways of thinking, question your beliefs and thought patterns, be kind to yourself and nourish your soul, so that when the spring sun arrives and the frost has melted away, you can blossom along with the flowers and trees.