Here in Berlin Winter certainly makes its presence known. After the ‘last hurrah’ of Autumn everything gradually begins to retreat in to itself. The light fades earlier and becomes blue, the air grows sharper, colder. The last leaves fall from the trees and the branches become stark outlines against the sky. Nature exposes only what really matters. And we all begin to retreat inwards as well. We wrap ourselves in layer upon layer and spend much more time inside. It takes more effort and will power to get out and about to wherever we are headed.
If we pause to listen what Winter is gently suggesting, it is that this is a time to be stiller. This is an internal time, a quieter time. With longer, darker evenings Winter is inviting us to sleep more, to move slower, to restore ourselves and build up our reserves. If I look across to the trees in the park, the emphasis is on only what is most vital.
In the same way we are invited to pause and consider what is most important in our own lives. Sometimes the answer is surprising!
If we give our bodies time to restore, much like the way the Earth’s supplies of Water are replenished in Winter through heavy rains and snow, we will bring a sense of flow and movement in to our lives and we will also develop great willpower and determination (think of how water can carve through anything – rocks, buildings!).
If we do not allow ourselves to be still and replenish we can create a great sense of fear; fear that we will not have the power or the resources to cross the line, to achieve our goals, to do what we want to do. And this in turn can become a very paralysing feeling. We can become inert and frozen like Water itself.
Of course, there is a remarkable amount going on beneath the surface during this still time. Still waters run deep. The whole of nature is there beneath the frozen ground ready to move up and out once Spring arrives. But the seed must have the cold and stillness in order to grow come Spring. The Earth must have the rain to nourish the plants through the warmer seasons.
So enjoy this quieter more introspective time and know that, like a seed, come Spring, you will be ready to expand and grow once more!