Tag Archives: Winter

Experiencing Winter’s Effects through Personal Illness

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If you live in Minnesota, then you know what I mean when I say, “Winter, what winter?”

While many people could get used to the mildness of this year’s season, I know plenty of others who are actually a little disappointed that there wasn’t a big snowstorm to lock people inside for a few days.  Personally, I fall into the latter camp. I definitely enjoy seeing people, bundled up, walking down the middle of city streets to the grocery store, because roads are too icy for driving. Yes, I enjoy cancelling plans due to bad weather conditions. Call me weird, or call me Minnesotan, I don’t know. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, I think we all can agree that winter offers an invaluable time for humans and animals to slow down, be with each other or without each other and really carve out time for rest and reflection.

Well the MN snowstorm never came this year, and people continue to speed down the roads by my house. I, too, have been in super-speed mode, and I was super-proud of it, too, until recently. Right as I checked my “to-dos” into “to-dones,” my body decided to create its own time and space for R & R through illness.  Already two times this winter I have been stopped dead in my tracks by bad colds (the ones that never seem to really go away), which is very unusual for me. Instead of the bitter and harsh winter influencing my behavior and setting me straight, my body reminds me that I still need to take time to slow down, reflect and let go of the parts of my life and myself that no longer work for me.

As I sit in recovery-mode, my emotions take me on quite a ride. From angry, to sad, to lonely to happy to grateful to confused to anxious–the list goes on, but now I have finally relaxed and realized that it’s okay be sick and it’s okay to let my body and self recover on their own schedule. It’s okay to do nothing. I can be patient. I can sit still. I can listen to and receive the messages my body sends me, and I can experience the transformative healing that occurs when one pays attention.

How is the mild, MN winter affecting your health?

Sometimes we fall ill to receive a greater message from ourselves. Can you think of a time you were sick and your body was trying to tell you something? Did you listen?

How can you listen to your body’s needs without falling into illness? 

Can illness be a good thing? Why or why not?

Winter Feast for the Soul

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A teacher of mine recently sent me a link to the worldwide event, Winter Feast for the Soul. I’m really excited about it. The Feast is a commitment to engage in 40 minutes of spiritual practice for 40 days. Sounds like a challenge, but with community and the right intention, this event could be doable and possibly life-changing.

The practice period goes from January 15 – February 23. I decided to commit to participating and will be journaling/tracking my experience. Will you join me? For more about the feast, be sure to visit their official website. You can pledge there that you will join, and if you would like, you can receive their newsletter and a free Ebook about Peace.

What’s the point of the Feast?

The 40-day period of the Feast allows people to have a life changing experience of the importance of stillness.

The vision behind the Feast (shared from their website):

We hold a vision of a world at peace that surpasses the imagined boundaries of creed, culture, and philosophical beliefs.

We embrace all spiritual traditions and organizations in a synchronized period of practice where we become part of a shared dream for a consciousness of oneness and peace on our planet.

What counts as a spiritual practice?  

  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Yoga
  • Martial arts
  • Journaling
  • Expressive arts
  • Daily acts of kindness toward self and others
  • Any other practice that grounds you, makes you aware and connects you to community (Depending on how you experience it, this practice could be as simple as home cooking or washing the dishes…as long as you bring awareness to yourself and your surroundings in a way that grounds and stills you)

For those interested in joining this feast, please leave a comment below or email me so we can support one another the next 40 days!

Finding Your Place in the Family of Things

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The other day, it surprised me to hear the sound of geese in the distance. I thought most had left Minnesota, but this flock was just starting their journey South. Their flight reminded me of my life path recently–a little surprising and just starting.

Their journey also made me think about Mary Oliver’s poem, “Wild Geese,” which still inspires healing and reflection for me during the Winter season when I read it. I hope you, too, find it worthwhile.

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees.

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

Love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

Are moving across landscapes

Over the prairies and the deep trees,

The mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

Are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

The world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–

Over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

– MARY OLIVER, “Wild Geese”

Reflection: Each season of life presents new challenges and offers more opportunities to develop wisdom about ourselves and the world around us. Like the wild geese mentioned in the poem, as a new season approaches where do you place yourself “in the family of things”? Are you satisfied with your place? If not, what resistance do you have to your place? Are you lonely? If yes, what is your current relationship to nature, people and the world around you? Where do you feel connected and where do you feel disconnected? Do you love what you love in life and really mean it?