Winter is the coldest season, but on the subtle level it’s a time of rest, peace, inner focus, stillness, and reflection. The flow of life naturally slows down and turns inward in this season, and it strains the physiology to resist this rhythm. Winter is the best time of year to learn how productive inner silence can be, because it’s the time of year when nature gathers itself inwardly. Follow its rhythm, not passively, but as an avenue to deepening your life experience.
Silent meditation is the perfect vehicle for attuning yourself to the rhythm of every season, including winter. You will know you’re attuned in winter when you notice the following:
- You find the cold bracing and invigorating.
- You feel more inward in wintertime with enjoyment of the extra rest you give yourself.
- Your body feels warm and nourished.
- You have sharp perceptions
- You find your sleep naturally extends a little more than usual.
The holiday season occurs in winter for good reason, because winter is about consolidating your inner values and core strength. Where the other seasons send you off to go your separate ways—your energy wants to go outward the rest of the year.
Draw Inward to Improve Your Outer Life
Silence is productive; it’s here to enhance your outer life, too. One of the most productive things it can do for you is to correct some of the problems that people typically encounter in winter, especially in colder climates. These include:
- Feeling heavy, sluggish, or dull.
- Becoming depressed.
- Finding it hard to be motivated.
For many people, these things merge into the “winter blues,” but in reality, they are separate issues. Each should be approached in the spirit of healing. Healing occurs when you bring the level of the solution up to the surface rather than letting issues fester at the level of the problem.
How to Send Positive Signals to Your Brain
What can you do to change? Sit down with a piece of paper and list three qualities about winter, as you experience them, which you want to change. The following possibilities are common:
Now, take the first quality you want to change—say, “dull.” Under this word, list the kind of input that makes your life dull in your winter season. The following might come up:
- I’m stuck inside and can’t get out enough.
- There’s nothing to do but sit around.
- I eat too much.
- I’m bored—watching TV and being on the computer don’t help.
- The cold slows me down too much.
- People around me seem sluggish.
- It’s bleak and uninviting outside.
- The same people surround me every day.
Each of these complaints involves some kind of input that gets repeated. This creates a feedback loop—the more you tell yourself you’re bored, the more bored you get. The more you complain about being stuck indoors, the more stifling it feels. These are all interpretations rooted in your perception, after all, some people are delighted to be indoors more than usual.
Now bring the solution to the surface. When you finish meditating and feel centered, look at your list of complaints. In a calm, self-possessed frame of mind, create new inputs. Don’t let your old conditioning distract you. If negative thoughts crop up, take a deep breath until you feel centered, and continue.
The whole point here is to prove to yourself that consciousness is more powerful than the brain.
Your brain can’t think of new input, only your mind can. Your list of new inputs might contain the following:
- Walk in the sunshine for 10 minutes every day it’s sunny.
- Walk in a really cheerful place when it’s cloudy, such as a park of arboretum where the trees are majestic in winter.
- Spend regular time with the most cheerful people I know.
- Take up a light recreational sport at the community center.
- Mentor a young person.
- Plan a dream vacation in every detail, living it through beautiful photos and magazine articles so that it feels as real as possible.
- Turn quiet time alone into something inspiring by reading spiritual books or poetry.
- Write letters, making each as entertaining as possible to the recipient.
These are all energizing options, the very opposite of dull. And that’s the key. Find inputs that are complete opposites of the conditioning that keeps you stuck in a negative situation.
Meditation, then, is the key to moving outward, not just inward. You go to the source of creativity, bliss, and intelligence when you meditate. They are productive qualities of consciousness, and they support you when you call upon them. Calling upon them happens in outer life. In a beautiful way, winter is the best time of year to learn how productive inner silence can be, because it’s the time of year when nature gathers itself inwardly. Follow its rhythm, not passively, but as an avenue to deepening your life experience.
On the first Sunday in November, we “fall back” and rewind our clocks to return to Standard Time.
- Fall – “To come or drop down suddenly to a lower position”
- Standard – “Average or normal”
Thinking in terms other than the changing of the clocks and the loss of daylight, I thought more about what “falling back” can mean. Anyone remember falling back on the leaves in a yard, field or park, during a fall day? Often in our thinking as our grownup selves, we forget what the feeling of the innocence of a child felt like. The ability to trust, be free and let go. We sometimes forget how to slow down and trust that all will be well. We have forgotten that we don’t always have to have a grown-up state of mind and that sometimes, it is ok to fall, ok to be “average or normal.” We forget, that like a baby, who does not have words to express their emotions, crying is an ok option as well.
Fall back also means to retreat or withdraw. During combative war times, soldiers would fall back (retreat or withdraw) in order to regroup and strategize. It is helpful for us to do that as well, as sometimes we need to withdraw, by going within ourselves in order to regroup and strategize. Fall back can also mean to fall back on other people for support. That is ok too. Asking for help and support is a sign of strength and a great coping skill! I love that Falling back also means slowing down. As we slow down, we open ourselves up for more peace and calm.
For me falling back during this fall season, means slowing down even more. It means using this fall season to reflect, allowing myself to feel whatever it is I need to feel. It means using the increased dark hours to be illuminated by the light inside of me. What does “falling back” mean to you?
As we enter into the Christmas season and the end of a decade, I am sure many of us are thinking about “wrapping things up.” In addition to wrapping presents, what else are you wrapping up to give away? For me, I am wrapping up the following:
- Holding on to disappointments
- Doubt, fear and worry
- Anything or anyone that does not serve a good purpose in my life
Ten years of stuff is a lot to give away, but I know we can do it! Even if you believe it is your most prized possession and you would like to hold on to it, I encourage you to examine it and see if it is worth holding on to. If not, wrap it up and give it away!
Happy holidays and welcome to the next decade of your wonderful life.
It’s a wrap!
Letters to my sisters.
Hey sisters, say bye to the past and welcome the future. What are you hoping for in this next decade of your wonderful life?
During my meditation time, the phrase “tooth and nail” came to me. I wondered why in my state of relaxation and calm, would a phrase that means “Engage in vigorous combat or make a strenuous effort, using all one’s resources” would come to me? I didn’t have an immediate answer, so I pondered what it could possible mean and this is what I came up with.
Those of you who have been reading my newsletters know that I have been talking about transformation, transitions and other life changes. The thought of fighting tooth and nail for this, seems so tiring to me. However, the other option is to sit passively by, watching and waiting without putting in much effort. I do believe that fighting tooth and nail makes the most sense. So, what do we need to fight tooth and nail for?
- Resistance to changing and evolving
- Forgiveness of self and others
- Not loving yourself
- Sanity, peace and calmness
- Fill in the blank_____________________
When I was growing up, it wasn’t uncommon for there to be after school girl fights. Usually it was the girls deemed the prettiest and with the “good hair” or the new girl who were picked as targets. It was common practice for the aggressor to slather Vaseline on her face (to prevent nail scratches) as normally the face was the first target in girl fights. The fights usually involved biting (tooth) and scratching (finger nails). When I thought about this, I realized it was not so much the other person who was being attacked, but the attack was against the aggressor themselves. In their fighting the other girl, they were really fighting themselves, lashing out at their own fears, insecurities, low self-esteem and other issues.
When I think of what this visually looks like for me to fight tooth and nail, what I see is me facing a mirror, kicking, clawing. biting and pushing away at whatever shows up in me that is trying to prevent me from becoming all of who I am meant to be. This is confirmation that the battle is usually not towards outside forces, but things that are occurring within. The person you are fighting is looking right back at you in the mirror. Don’t let her down! Keep fighting!
LETTERS TO MY SISTERS…
THE POWER OF WRITING LETTERS…
Have you received your copy of my book yet? Diva Five Alive is the story of me and my four sisters who triumphed over tremendous adversity. After years of struggle and perseverance, through personal letter writing, we share how we learned the secrets of resilience. Our story is sure to make you laugh and cry. Diva Five Alive will inspire you as you read about our struggles, victories, hurts, losses, and triumphs.
This book was written to touch the lives of those who may have experienced the same kind of pain, who can gain strength through the example of five women who were able to overcome great odds to achieve lives of meaning and purpose.
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Copyright © 2019 Dr. Julie Gray Lighted Pathways Inc., All rights reserved.