How to Receive the Gifts of Winter
Around here we love to embrace every season and the gifts they each have for us. But honestly, doesn’t it feel a little harder to settle into winter? It’s easy to love flowering spring colors, summer sunshine, and the cozy spice of fall. Compared to those vibrant seasons, winter is a pale, gray vacuum as we watch for spring. With that in mind, may I offer a few thoughts on how to receive the gifts of Winter?
There is purpose in every season, so there are also gifts in every season. We just have to dig deep with winter! Search out the goodness, develop eyes to see what the season has for us. Let’s excavate the places we don’t expect to find anything valuable, and be surprised by joy! Here are three ways to be intentional about finding and receiving the gifts of winter.
1. Embrace rest.
How healthy it is that our calendar year both ends and begins with rest! A bit of recuperation after a year full of adventures, then a gentle transition into 2022. Plants go dormant, animals hibernate, and we take the cue to downshift as well. It’s been work-hard-play-hard for months, and our bodies could use some restoration! Deep sleep, nourishing food, and long walks sound incredibly good right now, so I’m planning on lighting the fire under those lovely things.
Something I’m really excited about is experimenting with new soup recipes. It’s an easy way to pack more veggies in while still embracing rest in the kitchen. One little pot simmering on the stove all day is the definition of cozy simplicity.
Make a little time to set some intentions for this season. What physical rhythms would be renewing for your body right now? What healthy routines would support your well-being?
The mind is also ready to chill a bit. With a new year approaching it’s habit for us to jump into huge self-improvement plans. But I challenge you, instead of pursuit, take a pause. Invest some time during this restful season to assimilate all the growth that has already occurred over this past year. Read through your journals. Reflect. List what you’ve learned. Recognize the goals you accomplished and celebrate those things before plowing breathless into the next self-improvement push. We often skip this assimilation part of our personal growth, but nothing makes your hard work stick like spending some time processing before moving forward.
It’s like eating well; your body takes protein from food, digests it, then literally transforms that protein into muscle and tissue. That’s assimilation. If a body receives food but can’t digest it, nothing is being formed into biceps and hair and skin. The body will literally waste away without assimilation. Interior growth is exactly the same. Without assimilating “nutrients” into your mind and heart, the interior world starves. Taking time to digest your year of personal development is worth it!
How do you best process your growth? Writing, going on walks to just think, and conversations with your spouse or best friend can all all be effective. Try a few different ways and see what fits best!
2. Look for beauty.
As we search the surface of winter, what does it hold for us? The first thing that comes to my mind is the sky. A winter sky is one of the best! The moody, smoke-gray morning shifts into gentle cloud layers by noon, then brightens into clear rays of sun mid-afternoon. Lovely. But then night descends, and oh my goodness the neck injury is worth it to keep staring up at that captivating blue! Have you ever seen a blue quite like it? It’s as if the depths of the sea are waltzing with thin, silvered mountaintop air. A winter’s night sky is a mysterious hovering thing, ethereal and out of reach. Every time I’m outside during this season I look up, and can’t help but to linger and savor all that gorgeousness.
I think experiencing beauty makes us better people, reminding us what’s real and true. Through the awe we feel when we see something beautiful, we also connect to the One who made it. And maybe, just maybe, finding beauty helps us flourish into beautiful things ourselves. Have you found your winter night sky yet?
Pay attention to what sparks a thrill of beauty to you. Bundle up and brave the cold to find beauty in places you didn’t expect. Maybe you’ll discover it’s the sculptural forms of leafless trees in your backyard. Or watching liquid flames in the fireplace. A stack of books on your nightstand that you finally have time for might be that thing. Again, pay attention to what you find, and make a point to enjoy that beautiful thing every day.
3. Celebrate fresh starts.
A lovely bonus of this particular change of season is that we also welcome a brand new year in with it! Natural energy is the gift of anything new. Forward motion almost becomes effortless! Isn’t that the best feeling? I’m sure you’re planning wonderful things for the coming year, and are already using the momentum of “new” to energize your plans.
Thinking beyond the resolutions or goals that come with flipping the calendar page, what are some other, more subtle fresh starts you’re experiencing in life right now? Maybe a new job or a different living situation? Or you’ve let go of a habit that held you back? Even learning a new skill can mark a new phase of your creative life.
Where is the “new” for you right now? Is it an external circumstance? Or is it a shift you feel on the inside? How can you harness the momentum of “new” to energize this area? Go for a walk and reflect on a meaningful ways to celebrate the fresh start you’re in today. This celebration could be anything that feels like a party to you, from treating yourself with a red velvet cupcake at the local bakery, to signing up for pottery classes, to calling a friend for a good chat!
As you enjoy all the gifts that winter brings, I hope you find so much beauty, rest and celebration in your everyday! For planning printables to help you get organized in an intentional way, hop over to my Etsy shop! If you’re craving something warm and toasty make a mug Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate and chill.
Stay cozy, friends, and happy Winter!
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