Okay, maybe I lied, maybe springs not busting out all over, but instead, just peeping its head out. Which is good, since I’m reading a book about wintering. It would seem contrary to talk about wintering if spring was gloriously erupting around me.
The book I’ve been reading is entitled, Wintering: the power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katharine May. I must admit, though silly, that I sometimes choose a book by its covers and titles, which was true in this case. The fall was upon us, when I saw it and since winter can be a difficult season for me, thought perhaps this might help me. It didn’t hurt that Elizabeth Gilbert recommended it and, in fact, added to my interest. (I obviously have a very scientific, deductive process for choosing books.)
The book’s chapters are divided into the seven months that lead into and through the winter months, which made it easy to read and reflect a section at a time as I was moving through each month, beginning with September.
Why did this book speak to me? It spoke to the heart of one my very real struggles – depression – which is exacerbated by Seasonal Affective Disorder, the short, multitude of gray days, and temperatures making it hard to play outside that winter can bring. My hope was that it would bring some comfort and thoughtful words through the difficult time, which it did.
I use several tools when I’m struggling with something including friends, journaling, being in nature, etc. One way I try to live a full and healthy life is by self-reflection which includes taking a good look at the thoughts I hold onto when in the midst of discomfort emotionally. What am I thinking? What am I telling myself? How do I judge my behavior? Often the answers are at the core of my feelings and help to bring me down. So, reframing, taking an honest looks at the answers to the questions, and looking at the bigger picture all help me along the path. That’s what I liked about the book, Wintering. It gave me some good perspectives about the concept of wintering, resting and retreating during the season of grayness. Here are just a few quotes that spoke to me.
“Winter is a time of withdrawing, from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency, and vanishing from sight; but that’s not where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but it’s crucible.” (Sept., pg. 14.)
“The problem with “everything’ is that it ends up an awful lot like nothing; just one long haze of frantic activity, with all the meaning sheared away.” (Oct., pg.19.)
“Winter is an open invitation to transition into a more sustainable life and to wrest back control over the chaos I’ve created.” (pg. 24)
“Sleep is not a dead space, but a doorway to a different king of consciousness – one that is reflective and restorative, full of tangential thought and unexpected insights. (Nov., pg. 88)
“When you tune into winter, you realize there are a thousand winters in our lives…” (Dec., pg117)
“In the deepest of winter, the robin begins to sing.” (Mar., pg.213)
These are just a few of the quotes I highlighted but some that most spoke to me. Perhaps they will speak to you as we all prepare to come out of the space of wintering.
Guess what? I saw my first Robin today. Happy Spring.
This is what I know today…