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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter Brings Cold Weather and Contemplation

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Yesterday marked the first day of winter, also known as the Winter Solstice.

I am not one who likes the cold, so winter is not my most favorite season. I enjoy cuddling up in my pajamas with a warm cup of tea and a good book, that is the highlight of my winter season. I also enjoy the festivities this time of year brings. We celebrate Christmas in our house and my seven year old little girl is bouncing a little higher each day that brings us closer to that jolly good elf's ride. This year, I need more from my tree than a few simple presents under it, I need some perceptive.

I've written about being sick and my braces before, so I won't overload you with the details (check out my previous post "Seeing the World On My Head"). The long and the short of it is, it's been a hard couple of weeks and I'm more than ready to get out of this slightly depressed funk I've been in. I'm ready to live again and be creative again. I need renewal.

Lucky for me, or perhaps fated is a better word, gaining perspective is exactly what Winter Solstice is all about. This is the time of year to reflect and decide where to go from here.

When we aren't rushing around outlet malls trying to find the best Christmas List deals, we generally seek more solitude, sleep more, and are more introspective. At least I am. I've been having all of these heavy, big thoughts about who I am, what I'm doing and asking myself what I'm trying to get out of life. It's been weighing on me in the same way the jaw pressure and sickness has, making me weary.

I'm not much of a Bible reader these days, but since I studied it for many years, I can't help but have this particular verse pop into my head at that word. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28 NIV). I feel like these words call to me.

Thrice also brought this word and idea to life with a song called, "Come All You Weary."

(Listen via YouTube below:)

That is how I feel right now, weary and in need of rest. It is in search of that rest and researching the Winter Solstice that I found what I needed to set me free.

Winter Solstice, what earth-based religions celebrate as Yule, has many similarities as Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, also celebrated in mid-December. Decorating trees, lighting candles, exchanging gifts, ringing bells, communion and gathering with loved ones all predates organized religion. These customs and traditions have been around for centuries.

But what does all that mean? I recognize the cultures and the meanings behind the rituals we celebrate, but I need a deeper connection. I finally figured out what I was missing when I began to read about observing the changes in nature.

I've always considered myself very close to nature. I'm most at peace walking through a forest, looking up at the stars, or just breathing in fresh air. So it does not surprise me that the detail about Winter Solstice that I needed concerned the relationship between myself and the constantly changing seasons around me.

The earth is never still. Nature constantly shifts and changes, subtly going through cycles of rebirth. I have felt weary and surrounded by darkness as the days have slowly grown shorter. Now at the peak of the earth's trip around the sun, the season will subtly begin to shift again. Though it will not be warm for several months, the daylight will increase, allowing me a refreshed anticipation of spring on the horizon and a sense of rejuvenation to get me there.

My body and soul are following the natural course of the seasons. By comparing my own journey with the change of season I can turn my resentment of cold and darkness around by cultivating an attitude of receptiveness and appreciation.

It is in the stillness of winter, that I can find a confidence in myself as I prepare for the upcoming new year. I am excited about the path I am on. I look forward to pursuing the publication of my novel this year and revealing myself to the world as an author. I am nervous about putting myself out there in a vulnerable way, but I am beginning to find the courage to let people see me as who I am, faults and all.

Winter is here, and I will endure it. I can find contentment in the discomfort of the cold darkness and of the pressure on my mouth. This journey will make me stronger and I am finding a whole new side of myself that I am falling in love with. I like being able to see both logic and emotion, I like trusting in myself as I make decisions and choose my path, and I like that I have what I need, but not a lot of extra to get in the way. I like the process I use to organize my thoughts, and I especially like that I am beginning to share them with the world again.

It is amazing how much a person can change in a year, and over the course of a few years. It frightened me at first, I wasn't sure if I would be the same person or if I would like the differences. But honestly, I love the ways I am changing and growing. I believe I am better than I was before. That is what this time of year is all about: appreciating what you have, loving on the people near you and in your heart and taking time to look inward. It is important to pause and see how everything is going in your life, what you want from your life and actively making the changes to pursue your dreams.

I don't really like winter much, but this year thanks to some research, a phenomenal Winter Solstice yoga class and an amazing family, I have come to appreciate the season in a whole new way.

Cheers! May the Holidays bring a light to your life!

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