Hi friends! I hope this finds you well. So much has happened since the last time I posted here. My hope is to share more frequently moving forward. Even if the posts are slightly shorter in nature and riddled with imperfections. I don’t have anything incredibly profound to say. I wanted to hop on here though to let you in on some of the thoughts that are currently occupying my mind at the moment. I also have so much to share. I will touch more on that at a later time.
I’ve given a lot of thought to the idea of surviving winter with gentleness and learning to create peace from within. Winter is notoriously my least favorite season and has been for as long as I can remember. Darkness seems to creep in a little more prevalently during these long frigid months. The other day, it was a balmy -13° F here in Nebraska. Our furnace quit working and it was quite chilly in our home. Sprinkle in a strain of C*vid that spread through our family, just in time for Christmas! We were scheduled to have a house full of people on Christmas night. Plans changed rather quickly. We are all recovering nicely though so far, the furnace is working again and the temperature outside warmed to 20°F, which feels like a heat wave, and I am thankful for the peace and comfort that we found yesterday during Christmas. In the midst of the challenges that we experienced, yesterday felt like a gift. It was quiet and restful. We laid on the couch watching Christmas movies, ate soup and lots of snacks, then went to bed early. Christmas is a day that I wrestle with for a number of reasons, but yesterday was just what I needed.
Anyways, I digress. Back to my thoughts on winter. I have been reading short spurts of a book that I purchased last winter but am just now picking it up to read. That seems to be the story of my life as a book collector (ahem, hoarder). The book is called ‘Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times’ by Katherine May. In this book, May states that “Once we stop wishing that it were summer, winter can be a glorious season in which the world takes on a sparse beauty and even the pavements sparkle. It’s a time for reflection, recuperation, slow replenishment, for putting your house in order.” It occurred to me that our capitalistic society is rooted in the belief that time is money and we should never stop to rest. We have been conditioned to go against our natural instincts of needing to slow down, rest, and recharge. We are so burned out, overworked and exhausted.
As I’ve gotten older, any desire for rest left me riddled with guilt and shame. I struggle with the belief that I am lazy for my choice to live a slower and simple life. I intentionally choose to live my life feeling unrushed and unburdened by strict schedules filled with activities, and other obligations. My mental health depends on a slower way of living. In my younger years of mothering, I would fight to keep going when life was hard. Sickness and other difficulties were not going to stop me or slow me down. That way of life would only allow me to keep functioning for so long. The fast pace, the obligations, the expectations, and the lack of rest, would catch up to me and knock me to the ground. It would show up in the form of sickness, exhaustion, and mental health challenges. I would eventually earn myself a 4-day hospital stay for a mental breakdown. I learned this painful lesson the hard way.
I’ve been writing this blog post over the course of the past few days. At this moment it is now Tuesday the 27th and I’m still under the weather. I’ve been sick since last Thursday. I am eating my words as I sit here complaining about not feeling better as quickly as I’d like. I am forced to rest and that seems to be a struggle for me. Even as someone who prefers this slower way of life, I have my limits. I have very little idea as of how to navigate these waters of wintering well. I am still working on this. I do have Katherine May’s words to look back on though. As much as I long for this sickness to be over, as well as this dreadfully cold season, I am striving to learn that there is peace and stillness that can come if I stop trying to rush the inevitable and just…be. Rest is crucial for survival. We can turn to nature to remind us of this. Our lives mirror nature and the rhythms that take place. Whether we are in a literal season of winter, or our lives are being displayed as a metaphor of sorts, we can remember to give ourselves the compassion that we very much need. Spring will come, as it always does. Life won’t be this hard forever. And in the meantime, I will be over here struggling to make my way through winter and remembering to go slow. I hope you, dear friend, will do the same. Much love, Holly