Archive for January, 2012

I was talking to a beloved colleague last semester about taking forever to mark papers. It was late November and he said “I always find myself slowing down at this time of year.” I said I did too and as distressing as I found it having piles of paper to get through, I thought slowing down at that point was natural. “Nature is slowing down and I think we’re meant to do the same thing,” I ventured. There was a spark in his eye then as he said “You know, I never thought of it that way.”

As a mother, educator, wife, writer and budding herbalist I often feel the pressure to go full steam ahead even when I don’t have the energy to. I think part of this has to do with buying into the idea that we always have to be “on”. Another part of this though, is not taking my cues from nature. I remember a long time ago I told my friend Bruce that sometimes I wanted to be out socializing but just as often I wanted to be home writing and being quiet. He replied “Well the moon is not always full.” That wisdom provided the first huge shift in my thinking about my energy and how I used it. Watching the seasons and celebrating them has provided me with my second huge shift.

As a lifelong city dweller I’ve lived much of my life divorced from nature and her cycles. I can eat strawberries in December, write in well-lit rooms at 2am, and work the same schedule year round in an office where I barely catch glimpses of the sunlight or rain. Nothing in the city encourages me to take my cues from nature and we are expected to be as “on” in December as we are in June. But notice: most of the flowers are gone in December. The trees shed their leaves and instead flaunt their elegant bones. The vibrant greens, reds, pinks, and yellows give way to deep browns. Animals hibernate. In the natural world there is stillness. Darkness is abundant at this time and just as the seeds in the earth rest, we too are invited to bask in a long, dark, delicious sleep. This is what winter is for. Going underground to nourish and replenish ourselves.

During fall and winter I make a conscious effort to slow down, rest more, gather my energy and reflect on what I am grateful for. I notice that the more I imitate the energy of the season, the better I feel.

How do you honor the energy of winter?

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