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Posts from the ‘Winter’ Category

Robed in Stillness

“Now robed in stillness in this quiet place, emptied of all I was, I bring all that I am your gift of shepherding to use and bless. Cuthbert’s Prayer, St. Aidan’s Chapel, Bradford Cathedral”― Ray Simpson, Daily Light from the Celtic Saints: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life

“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” – Gary Zukhav

Winter solstice, the first step of the long cut to spring.
No shortcuts, right through the long middle.
Fight or flight or settle into the stillness.
In the waiting, in the wintering, in the quiet.
A purpose, an unfolding, a preparing.
Awake to the gift of each day, of each season.
Open to receiving and giving, the ebb and flow, the rhythm and dance.
Follow the footsteps into the meadow of solstice, of the sun standing still.

“It is growing cold. Winter is putting footsteps in the meadow.” – Roman Payne

Winter Solstice Eve

“Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.” – Wayne Dyer

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” – T. S. Eliot

The tipping point of the tipping point
The cusp, the height, the depth
Longest night, shortest day
The first day of winter, though the preview feels like the full movie
Solstice comes from the Latin words “sol” – sun and “sistere” – to stand still
The sun stands still
An invitation to do the same
To witness, to watch, to wait
The beginning of the journey to light
The slow march to spring,
The rebirth of the sun
May you solstice well
Dance in darkness and light
Allowing the stillness to reveal, renew, transform.

“In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love.” – Eckhart Tolle

Winter Wonderland

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

“Beauty surrounds us.”― Rumi

Winter wonderland embracing the trees.
White reflecting light.
A glow, a sparkle.
The sound of flakes crunching under foot.
Snow angels.
A covering, a quieting.
The symphony of winter.
The dance of solstice.
May winter touch your brow.
Beauty, touch your soul.

“When the music changes, so must your dance”― Elaine Welteroth, More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”. — Khalil Gibran

Take Rest

“Everything comes gradually and at its appointed hour.” – Ovid

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.” – Ovid

Winter is back.
50-degree days and now snow.
The dance of seasons.
Fall, winter, a touch of spring.
Winter’s turn now.
Slowness, quiet, dormancy.
The earth rests and extends the invitation to join.
Beneath, preparing the path to spring when the rest is complete.

“True restfulness, though, is a form of awareness, a way of being in life. It is living ordinary life with a sense of ease, gratitude, appreciation, peace and prayer. We are restful when ordinary life is enough.”― Ronald Rolheiser, The Shattered Lantern: Rediscovering a Felt Presence of God

Winter Sun

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“That’s what winter is: An exercise in remembering how to still yourself then how to come pliantly back to life again.” – Ali Smith

The strength and brilliance of winter sun.
Blue is bluer.
Air crisp and sharp.
The sound of snow under foot.
A quiet, slowing, softening.
The great pause.
Acceptance opens the door to joy.
Prelude, precursor to spring.
Preparation and transformation in the rest.

“Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.”― Roman Payne

In the Wintering

“Snow creates that quality of awe in the face of a power greater than ours. It epitomises the aesthetic notion of the sublime, in which greatness and beauty couple to overcome you—a small, frail human—entirely.”― Katherine May, Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times

“Wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience, and wisdom resides in those who have wintered.”― Katherine May, Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times

In the quiet of winter.
In the waiting and wandering.
In due time which is not our time but God’s time and timing.
We schedule our lives, cling to our expectations, project managing for optimal efficiency and productivity.
Counting, measuring, completing, comparing.
Life is more an essay than a math problem to be solved.
Things work out, often not how we have planned for, yet they still do.
In the “no’s” “not now’s” “what ifs” “whys” “why nots” and reasons not yet revealed, “what next” is unraveling.
Growth unseen but still happening.
Slow thaw.
In the wintering, spring resides preparing to unfold.

“Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”― Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

The Journey to Spring

“Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil.” – Bishop Reginald Heber

“Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom.” – Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Snow still on the ground.
More to come.
Temperatures on a rollercoaster.
45 and sunny.
10 with windchill.
The seasonal dance as we move closer to Spring, but not quite there.
Birds begin to sing and awaken.
Light lingers longer.
Ice to water back to ice.
Brown grass peeks out of patches where melt has occurred.
Close but not next.
The prelude to the beginning of spring.
Anticipation, preparation and waiting.
Desert time.
The eve of Lent, 40 days.
A container, a well, a room, a place, a space.
Reckoning. Resolve. Reflection. Inflection.
The journey to spring, to resurrection begins with ashes.
Where we come from and where we return.
The in between is the gift we get and give.
Travel well, in companionship, never alone.
The middle ground, the path, the journey to spring is here.
Patiently, take the full trip, into depth, quiet and beauty.
Bloom ahead.

“Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.” – St. Francis de Sales

Reside and Dwell

“To dwell is to garden.” – Martin Heidegger

“I dwell in possibility.” – Emily Dickinson

In the rushing, where are you going?
What are you running from and to?
What are you missing now front and center?
Reside and dwell.

Someday, if, when.
False destinations that steal our today.
If blessings available now are unseen, when, how, where will you recognize them?
Enough and overflowing.
In the mess, in difficulty, in scarcity, goodness, abundance and depth reside as well.
Discernment, clarity, awakening in inquiry, observation and listening.
Reside and dwell.

The gift of winter.
Quite, harsh, softness, beauty, peace, wrestling, restoration, preparation, patience, dormancy to unbind, unravel, unfold, cocoon, hibernate, set root.
The precursor to new, to breaking soil, to bud, to bloom, to spring.
Reside and dwell.

Seasons, cycles and circles.
Lessons, letting go, taking hold, tipping points, transformation.
Beginnings, middles and ends. To begin again.
Reside and dwell.

“Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action.” – Orison Swett Marden

Solstice Inflection

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” — Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Faith also means reaching deeply within, for the sense one was born with, the sense, for example, to go for a walk.”― Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year as the journey begins to spring through the woods, valleys and mountains of winter. An inflection point, a turning, a beginning and ending residing together. Light always returns.

Here’s to beginnings, endings, more beginnings, more endings and the caulk and cracks of ordinary simple beautiful days that hold them all together. There’s meaning in all of it. Trust it when it doesn’t make sense allowing hope to be the thread that allows us grace to not understand and to continue on with joy as a backdrop and faith as a verb. Read your life so you can keep writing your life anew weaving the sentences, paragraphs and acts together. Finding the themes, the patterns, the connections, the dead branches that need to be pruned for new growth to unfold.

Flow in and with the rhythm of seasons with the unfolding, unmaking, unwinding that prepares for the renewal, repurposing and making new. Unfolding, unfurling, flowing.

“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.” Lao Tzu

Winter Wonder and Wander

“Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”― Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

“Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Wintering is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.

Find the rhythm of winter and dance rather than box it.
Ease follows resistance.
Clarity comes with quiet acceptance.
Entering new space, the process of transformation becomes apparent.
The season of preparing, adapting, slowing, reflecting, replenishing.
Caterpillar work.
Renewal and metamorphosis.
Butterfly training.
May you embrace the gift of wintering.
The precipice for spring.
Do the unfashionable things.
Enter the crucible.

“It’s a time for reflection and recuperation, for slow replenishment, for putting your house in order. Doing these deeply unfashionable things — slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting — is a radical act now, but it’s essential.” – Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

Full interview with Katherine May on the On Being podcast.

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