Well-being Wednesday: Wintering.
This book is poetic perfection – fitting the current season here (in the US) as well as what’s become #Covid life – the slow down, the savoring (if we’re lucky) of the new speed and our home-based existence, and the call into respite.
“I had no idea how much these quiet pleasures had retreated from my life, while I was rushing around, and now I’m inviting them back in: still, rhythmic work with the hands, the kind of light concentration that allows you to dream, and the sense of kindness done in the process.”
The author draws parallels between her depression and medical complications with the coming of and resilience within winter, naming wintering as a state of being.
“We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow in again” (This reminds me of the book Women Who Run With the Wolves)
Later with: “‘This isn’t about you getting fixed…This is about you living the best life you can with the parameters you have.’”
And winter centers not just hibernation and seasonality but death as well.
“But winter is a time when death comes closest – when the cold feels as though it might yet snatch us away, despite our modern comforts. We still perceive the presence of those we’ve lost in the silence of those long evenings and in the depths of darkness that they bring. This is a season of ghosts.”
The author, like many of my go-to authors, speak of the insurmountable challenge of combining parenthood with craft. Something many of know well and are experiencing, and I deeply appreciate the intimacy and shared frustration: “Today I am sick with those desires, trying to channel the infernal patience of parenthood while a dozen stories ball up in my throat, all unwritten. I’m scared that it might be forever, that one obstacle after another will prevent me from making the work I need to make in order to stay sane”.
She speaks of the life of collective verses the smaller personal, using the appealing example of (wintering) bees – social insects of efficiency: “The life of a social insect has nothing to say about us. Our lives take different shapes. We do not work in linear progression through fixed roles like the honeybee. We are not consistently useful to the world at large. We talk about the complexity of the hive, but human societies are infinitely more complex, full of choices and mistakes, periods of glory and seasons of utter despair. Some of us make highly visible, elaborate contributions to the whole. Some of us are part of the ticking mechanics of the world, the incremental wealth of small gestures. All of it matters. All of it weaves the wider fabric that binds us”
Have you read the book? Interested in learning more, check out the On Being podcast https://onbeing.org/programs/katherine-may-how-wintering-replenishes/
“Nature shows that survival is a practice. Sometimes it flourishes – lays on fat, garlands itself in leaves, makes abundant honey – and sometimes it pares back to the very basics of existence in order to keep living. It doesn’t do this once, resentfully, assuming that one day it will get things right and everything will smooth out. It winters in cycles, again abs again, forever and ever. It attends to this work each and every day. For plants and animals, winter is part of the job. The same is true for humans”
Wishing you all connection and love during your wintering.
#wintering #respite #RestIsResistance #WellbeingWednesday
Written by Dr. Allison Mitch, PT (DPT); copyright protected, please cite accordingly. Originally posted to social media on 1/27/21. Image is mine.
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