Monday, January 10, 2011

The Wisdom of Winter

By Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO
AANP Past-President (2008-2009)

Photo by miss pupik via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons License.
We are once again at the beginning of a new year: a fresh start, a time of possibilities. Doesn’t it seem a bit odd that this time of renewal is smack dab in the middle of winter? It just seems a little counterintuitive, the cold, austere bareness of winter juxtaposed with the verdant blossoming of new resolve, ideas and optimism. I mean, given the choice right now between starting off down a new, unexplored path of life or staying home, snuggled up under a warm blanket, I would choose the blanket. And, of course, I would just sit there in pure mindless contentment… or would I? In reality, that would last all of about a minute, and then, quite likely, in this time of quite repose, my mind would shake off its shackles to the routine of my life and stretch. In that stretching, I would begin to imagine and consider new ideas and perspectives. And, the more I let my mind wander, the more possibilities appear in my life.

This then, must be the wisdom of winter: giving us every possible rationale to slow down, relax, and, well, stop and think. Only when we are still enough can we dip into our own deep well of creativity and purpose. This profound renewal is likely the source of our tradition of New Year's resolutions. If we truly take advantage of the quiet that winter offers to us, maybe we will actually find our resolve and renewal. Simple reflexive declarations of resolve just don’t stick – as we all know. The true grit of a New Year’s resolution is gained from its birth in a quiet and comfortable moment of reflection. So as the snow layers the ground outside your window, or the briskness of winter air dances with the trees, sit down. Sit down, relax and let yourself imagine your possibility.

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