Throughout the winter season, the Earth turns away from the sun, reducing our access to its strong warming light, dropping temperatures, and beckoning us to retreat within where it is quiet and dry. We set up the hearth fires and bundle up in sweaters and socks. Nature, herself, pulls back her energy: animals slow down and enter hibernation, rivers and lakes freeze over, and plants and trees draw back their saps from the fallen leaves and branches, returning it back to their roots where they can grow and forge a stronger foundation for the coming year.
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The photo above, by Leila Knapp, perfectly depicts the sentiments of the winter season for me: although the sun may come out to shine on occasion, the branches are still bare, the ground is hidden, covered with the white blanket of snow. The branches also cast a shadow reminding us of the roots still alive and thriving underground. The tree has withdrawn its vital energies from the Earth's surface, and during these freezing temperatures - held long and hard for months - hunkers down below to focus its resources on the strongest and most vibrant of roots. New growth actually continues to happen for most plants, but only underneath where its foundation - the root system - lies.
Have you been taking advantage of the energies of this season? It's the time of year to withdraw from the outside and focus within, to explore the health of your own root system, and to analyze "what is". Soon enough, we'll all be preparing for spring: when we burst forth again with renewed vitality, anticipating actions for the summer, and maintaining a vision for harvesting the fruits of our labor in the fall.
Although I may personally moan and groan about the cold, I do find myself instinctively following nature's flow. I get out large pots for cooking beans and root vegetables, spending vast amounts of time digging deep, connecting with Spirit, and dissecting what is and what is not working in the continual growth of my life purpose.
This instinctive practice in the winter may be adhered to throughout the natural environment, but we, as humans can also make the most of it ourselves. By projecting the right intentions for the coming year, we can avoid simply maintaining "what is" by default and set out a clearer more directive path for the coming seasons. The tree, itself, chooses to abandon those root systems that are decrepit, old, or plagued with parasites, and re-directs its energy flow toward what is strong and vital, ensuring that the key components of its foundation are given plenty of nutrients to continue their growth and expansion.
If, during the winter season,we can begin to look at the general picture of our lives in this way, it can be a key investment in our time to do these full assessments, and set out our plans for a productive and efficient coming year.
My own practice is to listen to Spirit's guidance by quieting down, taking time for deep meditative periods, and journaling to flush out what I am receiving as new, intuitive ideas. I feel a tremendous amount of encouragement toward the next, bolder vision for the entire year forward, and these new ideas spring forth from a place unknown. One thing is clear: they are creative, full of vitality, and hold a promise of a bright, colorful spring.
Although these views of the coming year may be sweeping, I know from experience that it is best not to set any plans in stone too early. We are all still in hibernation. Letting these new ideas simmer for a bit longer allow the flavors to blend and mingle, creating the perfect, flavorful pot.
The evolution of all of us is fluid and mobile these days, shifting swiftly in direction and speed. So when we start taking action steps - preparing ourselves for spring - we will feel and be guided as to where the right plans shall move us, when to take action, and when to wait.
This in-depth analysis and re-configuring of our foundation are truly the fruits of an abundant winter season. One where we come out on the other side, refreshed and renewed, clear on direction, free from past, outdated systems that no longer serve us, and preparing our minds and activities for spring.
How have you been using the energies of the winter season in 'digging deep'?
Leave me your comments below, we'd all like to hear!