As we move through Spring and into warmer times, I would like us to spare a moment to appreciate the wonders of the Winter season that just passed us by.
Winter has its place as much as any other season and personally I think we should appreciate that! Things won’t work without it and the balance of nature, the world, the universe would go completely out of kilter if Winter didn’t come and visit us every year so for that reason alone Winter deserves some recognition as a essential part of our existence.
It should also be recognised for it’s unique beauty that you will not experience in any of the other season; such as bitterly cold but sunny days in which the air has a crispness and clarity and you wrap up in your warm clothes and go for long walks feeling the frost under your feet. Followed by a long, hot bath, maybe a glass of red wine and put your feet up in front of the fire. It’s romantic (even if you are alone) and warming to the toes and the heart.
That’s the Yang side of the winter but the Yin side is the short days and the lack of sunshine which can affect a lot of people in the UK and Europe. In Eastern philosophies this is order of things, the way it is, you get short days in the Winter and long ones in the summer… balance. I am not sure why this is not also a western philosophy as I cannot see any other way the world can work. I say this very confidently but so much is out of balance in the human world that we are just used to it, that’s not to say we are good at being out of balance; quite the opposite, as a species I believe we are all out of kilter and we need to think carefully about all our relationships – with each other, with animals, with the environment, with other planets. We need to be more gentle in our approach. I do get carried away sometimes and drawn off the point of the article but I write from the heart and let it flow so I apologise if it takes us or course sometimes but it needs to come out. I will zoom in on parts of my articles and spin off new articles so everything will be connected in some way, as is the way!
I understand that there is a serious condition called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and this is clearly a huge challenge for many people. I have my views on depression, having been diagnosed with it myself in the past and I will offer those views in more detail in another article and like anything I write it will be based upon personal experience which is the only way we truly can learn and understand anything. I believe that the word ‘depression’ is over-used and that much of the time we are suffering anxiety which of course can be terrible and debilitating but the stigma of the term depression I believe can make it even harder. I don’t know if I was depressed or suffered anxiety but it doesn’t really matter how it was labelled, I found a way to manage and be free of it through mindfulness and meditation and that for me has been a life changer and these techniques or practices are accessible to anyone. There are many books available nowadays, many courses and many teachers available to help you if you need it but you can also find your own way. Ultimately, it will be your own journey but you may need some help to get started.
Mindfulness is a very commonly used term at the moment, a buzzword, but it’s not just a buzzword – the reason we see a lot about mindfulness is IT WORKS and I am a living example so I feel compelled to offer help where I can. I truly believe in the power of mindfulness and that this can help many people that struggle with the darkness and lack of sunshine in the winter days and ultimately the darkness of ‘depression’ in general. It is possible to change the way you perceive the Winter. It is the way you react – in very simple terms if you keep telling yourself that Winter is long, dark and depressing how can it possibly be any other way. It will be exactly that – you are what you think, what you think you become. You can alter the way you feel by changing your thoughts.
The point of this article began as an appreciation of Winter and I would like to get back on track and sum up. The following list are ten things about Winter that I think should be appreciated and enjoyed and I hope this will help through the next Winter, it’s just around the corner! This is not your normal list of Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year – it’s my list and it’s more about nature and the finer details:-
- The sense that snow is coming
- The icicles on a delicate branch
- Frozen cobwebs
- The rustle of dead leaves underfoot
- Collecting firewood from the woods
- Getting cosy by the fire
- Cuddling your loved ones to keep them warm
- Stunning sunsets through the skeleton trees
- Footprints in the snow
- Long, frosty winter walks
- Gusting autumn winds creating a crazy dance
OK so that’s eleven and I might add more in later, there are no rules on my Journal! I’m looking forward to next winter but first of all I will embrace Spring, Summer and Autumn and all the magic they will bring so a little poem to finish…
Look forward to next Winter
But first of all embrace the Spring
Then the summer and the autumn
Indulge in the magic they all bring