If you've ever read my column, you may have concluded that I do not like winter. I always try to focus on the positive points of this season, but when it is this cold I don't think anyone can enjoy anything about the weather.
Christmas has come and gone and that is the one thing that keeps my spirits up. Do any of you out there have post-Christmas blues as well? Christmas and the month of December was a time of putting things off to prepare for the holiday season. Plenty of shopping, visiting with friends and family, parties, and enjoying Christmas and the New Year. Now that January has hit us hard it is back to reality. We are back to facing the struggles we neglected in November as well as what has piled up while we were hitting pause on our things-to-do list.
For me, January and February are the two hardest months of the year. The days are the coldest and the nights are the longest of the year. But, believe it or not, January is the season of new life. How can I say this with a snuggly blanket wrapped around me and a box of Kleenex on stand by? It's my "glass is half full" attitude that understands that for new life to spring up there must first be death so that new life can replace it.
The first flowers that bloom in spring are a good example of how at this very moment, underground, the flowers are dormant; they have stopped growth and are storing food for spring start up. Perhaps we should try to emulate the life of a flower ... to consume winter as a season for contemplation and regeneration so that, like the plants, in Spring we can re-emerge full of energy.
I've said before that winter is nature's way of allowing us to slow down and contemplate; but we live in the "real world" and with work and day to day tasks who has time to slow down?
Well, I had plenty of time to slow down last week because a cold or flu took over my body and plunked me on the sofa for five days. I didn't like surrendering to the illness but it was a good time to try to order my thoughts. It was my body's way of telling me to slow down, rest, and like a flower get good nutrition, light and care. I tried to look back over the last year and assess my actions and non-actions. In between my NyQuil® state of mind I did have some clear thoughts of how I would like 2014 to look for my family.
My thought to you is without an illness forcing you to some time of solitude, try taking some time during these winter months to look back over 2013. What were the good the bad and the ugly that you can learn from? Grant yourself time to look deep into your true self and allow yourself time to reflect, to understand and learn, and to dream. You too can bloom when the time is right. Sometimes when you are feeling the least useful, the least motivated, the least hopeful, that is exactly the time that you can transform. Spring isn't that far away.
A Flower in Winter
A flower in winter,
The only one that stands,
Is thrashed by the blizzard,
That freezes its once green hands.
Its roots cling to the earth,
With all their might,
And waits for all to be calm,
Vulnerable for a ray of sunlight.
The next day,
There is nothing left,
But a broken stem,
Amongst the snow covered plain.
But soon the snow will melt,
The sun will shine,
A new bud is born,
This flower will bloom again.
Even though January has started out with a bite, and even if you had a bad year, maybe even a bad decade, the one thing you need most is a breath, just a breath of new life, of new hope. Believe it or not, that is what January is.