“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh
Living in the northern hemisphere, can you feel the mood of the year changing with the upcoming season?
The winter solstice is coming in a few weeks, where the sun will stand still, making its shortest appearance of the year. This signals to our earthly bodies a time of less activity.
This event is celebrated in many traditions, such as Christmas, but the origin may very well be Pagan and the celebration of the sun being “born” and debuting his awaking cycle.
In our hemisphere, our society is not in tune with this nightly period of the year. Instead, there is a frenzy. It’s like if most of us are living in opposite ways, resting in the summer during the most energy-charged season, and embarking on year long projects in September for work or school.
To me, this is weird. No wonder so many of us are tired and sick when winter comes, living contrary to our natural continuum.
And to live against the wind is hard, because we can be swept by the frenzy and the manufactured need to work. For example I know I need to stop taking on too many projects, and I have to make a deliberate effort at it.
Here is what we can do to live with the seasons and enter winter as a season of rest instead.
Before the rest season, it’s time to finish up our projects in autumn, or postpone them for the spring equinox, when our energy levels will naturally rise.
I’m finishing few writing projects, like editing my French memoir on Zen tips for stay-at-home moms. During winter, I’ll give it to others for editing, taking it slowly, and plan to publish it in the upcoming seasons, when energy and motivation will be sky-high.
Whatever projects you’re working on it could be better to drop it for a while soon, or work really less at it. I’m saving a few projects I can’t finish now, as the free happiness ebook I started, to be done and to give next year.
Rest and live slowly, in mindfulness
According to the observable rhythm of winter, we need to freeze what we were engaged in, to rest, and live slowly.
It’s not particularly a time of deprivation, though it can be nice to slow our consumption habits as food, material, even thoughts.
It can be a feast of mindfulness instead. We can rest in a peaceful, blissful presence, and enjoy time slowly passing by, not being stressed out. It’s a wonderful time to meditate and come back to our center.
At this time of my life, I do my best to rest and savor the little joys of pregnancy, as baby girl will come in spring too.
Also, we can savor what we’ve done so far.
Prepare the year ahead
In my mind, our work and unschool year starts in January, the preparation of it. I try to envision how we will live, with baby joining us.
In my spare time, [and I’m training not to think at it at night time], I’m thinking ahead on a few other projects I want to work on, the Zen way, when spring comes, like a few short books. I prepare supplies, as ordering organic seeds for the garden, fruit trees, and knitting a baby blanket.
The winter night is coming, and I wish you a great season of rest and mindfulness, to emerge refreshed for a nice year to come.
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