Embracing the Winter of Our Lives

Last Updated: November 21, 2022
mug with blanket and book in front of a frosted window

Winter, the introvert of seasons, is nature’s way of going quiet to reenergize and retreat from busyness into a nourishing rest. The species who know how to hibernate often exhibit a deeper sense of wisdom than many human beings.

We, too, need to rest, lean into the winter seasons of our lives, and find ways to nurture ourselves not just during the cold, silent times, but daily.

This time of year requires a presence amidst the hustle and bustle, pies in the oven, and presents being wrapped. In order for us to lead ourselves, our colleagues, and those we love through winter, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Here are some things worth putting on the table - along with our favorite foods -  to help us navigate the winter of our lives:

  • Tuning into ourselves allows us to truly be present to others.
  • Holding the tensions of life, lightly, enhances resilience. As an example, during holidays we can be mindful when we feel sadness and gratitude. Life is about living in the “and”.

Winter is a season of waiting. So I invite you to not rush through the waiting but to embrace it as a time to cultivate presence. The word “wait” could become a powerful call to do these things:

Witness - what is happening inside of you when things slow down and you are in a holding pattern. Just take notice.

Accept - that waiting is just dang hard. It brings up all kinds of uncertainty and fears. It reminds us that we are not in control of most things.

Invite - yourself to breathe through the difficult times and learn more about yourself.

Thank - the season of waiting for teaching you patience and how to embrace the gifts that waiting can bring: hope, resilience, fortitude, and presence.

Please know that waiting does not mean we give up and do nothing, simply allowing the world to have its way with us. Waiting, as recently referred to in a McKinsey article, requires resilience, courage and a balance between wisdom and boldness. Families who know how to wait, demonstrate the gift of presence by: exploring feelings, testing perceptions that get in the way, accepting what is, and tapping into our healthy, inner wisdom.

Embedded in the season of winter, as we wait, is hope: hope that the work and inner reflection we are doing now will yield wisdom and a path forward. The waiting seasons of our lives are a brick-by-brick, step-by-step journey. The waiting prepares us for what is next so we are truly ready and not just rushing through to arrive unprepared.

I am learning to wait well even though waiting is super hard. As I transform my relationship with the act of waiting, I give up control (even more) and trust something beautiful is taking root.  As Camus once said, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer”.

For me, this captures the beauty and gift of winter;  it is the season that teaches us to nourish presence and ourselves as we wait, trusting that beneath what is visible to our eyes, something new is taking root.

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