Honoring winter

Winter. The cold. The darkness. For some, it marks a dismal time of year and for

others, it offers remembrance of light in the form of celebration. But winter is longer than the celebratory holidays and can be a struggle for many.

It can be easy to forget that we are a part of this Earth. This planet that spins and cycles. Many of our wild furry friends are tuned into the cycles and live the year in relationship to each season, as do some cultures in our world. As humans in modern society, we have been taught over many generations to extinguish our relationship with nature, with the seasons. We are expected to continue working as if nothing around us is changing. This inevitably creates suffering as we continue to feel the natural pull to go inward, to rest, to hibernate.

I believe that many people suffer unwanted emotions during winter not as a result of some inner malfunctioning, but rather, a malfunctioning of society's connection with nature. We have disconnected so intensely that we have forgotten that this time of year serves as a reminder to put to rest what needs to rest and prepare for the spring. It can be daunting when we must go about our days and pretend to be unaffected by the darkness, the pull. Or worse, feel the pull, but believe something is wrong with us or we need to do what has to be done to continue on. Maybe it is not something wrong, but rather something very right. Maybe our inner self is calling us home, to reconnect with our true nature, with the nature all around, with the darkness, with the cold, and ultimately with ourselves.

Winter can offer so much, if we allow it and return to our roots of remembering. Our roots of slowing down. Cuddling by fires, reading, baking, taking long hot baths, lighting candles, breaking bread with loved ones and friends, giving and sharing to others we care for and to those in need. Taking the time to truly connect with our inner world and the pull to the seasons can allow us to move more fluidly with the seasons, instead of feeling pushed and pulled because "life must go on" "work must go on" "everything must go on." We forget. Maybe we need to remember and in remembering we may give ourselves the greatest gift of all.

It must be noted that not everyone has the luxury to honor winter by resting, which speaks to a much larger problem. That rest has become a luxury instead of a right.