Winter's Embrace

How is winter embracing you this year? Do you delight in this season of introspection, short daylight hours and cold temperatures….Or are you contracting somehow as the snow king tries to drag you down to the shadowy depths of his earth cave and face the darkness and what wants to die within us, so as the new can be born.

I just read a great quote in by Dan Coyle which for me sums up what winter is all about so well…… “I don’t think the garden loses it’s ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there vigorous.”
Winter gifts us with such a great opportunity to turn our focus within, to look more to our inner world for answers and truth than the outer world. This is as it’s meant to be…..spring is the time of welcoming the new growth with open arms, of tending to the fragile new shoots that are appearing in the fertile ground of our beings, summer is the time for external focus, to enjoy the fruits of our labor. But right now…..if we can go with the flow winter is about rooting out what no longer serves us, allowing the natural death of that which no longer serves us to take place as we sew new seeds in the new space made from clearing house. It’s the time when we become introspective, reflective and when we revisit old dreams that come up to haunt us….are you sure it’s not too late to realize me?
If we never experienced the dark how would we know the light?
Have you also noticed, that whatever lies dormant in the shadow of our psyches is also much harder to ignore at this time of year?
I’d like to offer you a little process here, an opportunity to dive into the depths of your own psyche with me, to see if there is anything that wants to be heard… see what may be whispering to you from the gifts of winter.
Just asking yourself……..
If there was something I needed to let go of…to make room for the new, what might that be?
What is no longer alive in my life? It may be that tired old body you keep on dragging around at 100 miles per hour, or that relationship that really isn’t working, or the job you hate that is sucking the life out of you?

And if it was no longer possible to continue holding onto this or doing this any longer? What if you just let go of it? What if you could no longer drag your body around, or keep up the facade of that unhealthy relationship, or you just couldn’t face that boring job any longer? What would really be here? What emotion would you have to face then? Write it down.
Then keep asking and what’s in the heart of this emotion….what is deeper still?
Is it what you thought would be there, or has it revealed something deeper you were unaware of.
Most often it is some form of resistance to feeling an emotional state we perceive to be too painful that keeps us from changing old habits and ways of being that are unpleasant. Otherwise we’d have stopped them a long time ago right?

Would you like to break free of this?

I’m going to challenge you to dive right into the fear and dare to ask yourself the question “What is the worst that could happen……if you just gave up what isn’t alive in your life”?
 And keep asking yourself “and then what…..and then what would happen?”
When I’ve done this exercise it’s given me the gift of softening all the fear around an outcome I’ve dreaded so much I’ve put over there…far away where I can’t see it. But you know, I always know its there, lurking below the surface like a hungry piranha ready to get me if I even dare to look at it. When I do stop resisting and turn and face the worst that could happen a funny thing happens….the fear stops persisting and as it so often does, the piranha or paper tiger dissolves into a puff of smoke and I chuckle at how much of a drama queen I really am! It is never quite as bad as we think…..and deep down we do know we have the resources within us to cope. And even more scary a possibility perhaps… thriving!
So now it’s the perfect time to ask the second question……
“What is the best that can happen ……if I gave up what isn’t alive in my life?”
Make a list of all the best things, all the incredible possibilities this change may create in your life……even if it sounds ridiculous, or outrageous or indulgent…go for it anyway. It’s just a paper exercise it can’t hurt you.
Then once you’ve finished this stop and breathe deeply and take your focus within……notice how your body is feeling, all the little sensations that are there, all the emotions…and if you had to give them a name what would it be? Maybe its feelings of excitement, possibility, enthusiasm, joy, hope…..they may be shy and small and quiet but really check them out……encourage them to blossom even fuller, even fuller yet.
These are the seeds of new growth and potential your heart and soul want to germinate and grow for you this New Year, in 2011. Life is meant to be fun, joyous…..alive! You deserve to feel alive ~ it is your birthright!
If you need a bit of help along the way rooting out what no longer serves you get a friend to help you do this exercise with, to encourage you and remind you that your playing small doesn’t serve you, that you deserve joy and happiness in 2011!
As we welcome back the light slowly and surely the darkness of winter will give way to the rebirth of spring…..may you give yourself permission to sow some incredible new seeds this year! And if you stumble and fall along the way don’t worry…in the comforting words of a poetic legend……
“Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, its how the light gets in”  Leonard Cohen