The British School of Meditation Blog

22Jan

Wintering

As we entered the new year this month, some of us may feel motivated and ready to flourish, after taking a break to rest over the holiday period. This is a great place to be. Others may still be leaning into the slower pace of life that Winter draws us into. This is a great place to be too. Wherever you feel you are on this spectrum right now, the important thing to remember is to listen to your own needs and what you are being called to focus on. 

We humans are cyclical beings. Just like nature herself, we enjoy seasons of our own, and listening to our own needs throughout the year can help us tune into our own inner cycles and how these connect to the cycles and seasons of nature. In January, we are still in Winter. So, although we might associate this month with a ‘new start’, nature herself is still sleeping. If we aren’t feeling as motivated as we think we ‘should’ be this month, that’s OK, because in nature, Winter is a time for resting. Like the hedgehogs in hibernation, we may be storing up our energy to re-emerge in Spring, when nature begins to bloom again.

However, rest and hibernation do not mean doing ‘nothing’, this time is still hugely important for us, helping us prepare for the months ahead. This extract below is taken from a fantastic book which I read recently called ‘Wintering’ by Katherine May and talks about how alive the trees still are in Winter, they too are not just doing nothing….

“The tree is waiting. It has everything ready. Its fallen leaves are mulching the forest floor, and its roots are drawing up the extra winter moisture, providing a firm anchor against seasonal storms. Its ripe cones and nuts are providing essential food in this scarce time for mice and squirrels, and its bark is hosting hibernating insects and providing a source of nourishment for hungry deer. It is far from dead. It is, in fact, the life and soul of the wood. It is just getting on with it quietly. It will not burst into life in the Spring. It will just put on a new coat and face the world again”.

Just as the season in nature help to maintain a vast ecological system, living more in line with season can help us to find balance within ourselves too. However, in our busy modern lives, it is easy to forget that these seasons exist. Similarly, as wonderful as hibernating all winter might sound, it may also not be practical - we also have bills to pay and people to take care of (including ourselves!). However, making small changes can also be effective.  

Here are some small things we might do this Winter to allow ourselves to align more with the season…

  1. Take time to reflect – you might pull out your journal a bit more often at this time of year.
  2. Try to listen to your own body and your own needs, if you need more rest currently, that’s OK.
  3. Try to let go of expectations, including those set by new year’s resolutions.
  4. Practise meditations which give our mind and body time to relax. 

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