February 2nd marked the midwinter point, acknowledged in the US by the groundhog’s appearance. This year, Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, which I believe was inevitable. At least here in Colorado, signs of spring don’t usually show up for at least that long!
No matter whether Phil predicted an early spring or a longer winter, midwinter continues to offer us the opportunity to reflect. This is the season when nature reminds us we are in a time of dormancy and hibernation. We know new life and regrowth are coming, but we are not yet there. If we take direction from nature’s wintertime landscape, it’s a wonderful time to reflect and prepare, but it’s not yet time to leap.
Considering my life currently and where I am personally and professionally, I started to think about what midwinter means for me this year especially.
As I continue to work through the rewrites of my first memoir, along with the editing and coaching work I do, I’ve found myself at my computer for long stretches of time. This year, because of COVID and due to a problematic ankle, I’ve been even more “homebound” than usual, making me feel disconnected from nature.
Recently, I made a conscious decision to spend some time every day either sitting in the sun in my backyard or sitting by a window to look outside, and to take short walks to strengthen my ankle. I realize how much I’ve missed being outdoors. Even on brisk days, because our backyard faces south, I can sit outside and let the sun shine down and warm me. I’ve begun to take a midday break to do just that.
Living in Colorado and looking out at nature’s dormancy can feel depressing, especially as it continues to look like winter even after we cross the Spring Equinox threshold. Because our springtime doesn’t usually reveal itself until late spring, I have friends who’ve told me they want to skip right over spring and plunge into the summertime heat and outdoor life. Admittedly, there are times when that’s exactly what I want to do too.
Yet, when I take in the deeper knowing of what is happening in nature right now, there is much for me to appreciate about midwinter. And there are plenty of cues I can take from Mother Nature.
Underground and within the trees, plants, and grasses, energy is being gathered and conserved for the impending burst of new life in spring. We may not be able to see it, but animals and plants are continuing to rest and make use of what they stored up in the fall or forage for what is available to them at this time of year. Bears are hibernating, continuing to experience dream states. The energy within plants and trees is being held in their roots and trunks—a very centralized way to shore up throughout winter in order to survive the oftentimes harsh cold.
We can do the same in our lives, tending the fires within until spring bursts forth with new life, color, and vibrancy.
Rather than jump ahead to summer or feel as if I’ve got to hit the ground running during the first quarter of the new year, midwinter invites me to rest more, eat hearty, and tend to myself in mind, body, and essence. Even after setting intentions for the New Year, I can allow ideas and plans to incubate and percolate, to simmer even, rather than take a frenetic approach to what I want to manifest this year.
It’s about taking the time to prepare so I can sustain my energy for the entire year rather than to hit the ground running in January. I’ve learned that when I actually slow down, more can happen for a sustained period of time.
My first memoir has been in the making for a very long time—over a decade actually. Not only has it taken that long to write it but I was still living parts of what needed to be included in this book. As time went on, I saw how I needed to separate my original memoir into two separate stories. None of that would have happened if I’d rushed through the process to get my book out. Even knowing that, however, in the fall of last year, I announced that my book would be out by Valentine’s Day—a significant date in my story. By the time winter came, it became apparent I wouldn’t meet that deadline.
Now I see how I’ve needed this wintertime to be with the rewrites. They’ve needed cultivation time. I’ve needed time to ponder what additional pieces I must include. None of this can be hurried. Just like fertilizer will not make outdoor plants grow in wintertime, neither can I force this process.
If I allow for it, my book will let me know when it’s time to be birthed. If I trust that a book takes on a life of its own, it will be birthed at the perfect time.
Six more weeks of winter … at least … is a message to me: Allow for the time necessary to let your book take shape, filling out with details and stories that go to the heart of your book’s message. Take the time necessary to create the parts of your business that reflect who you are, what you do, who and how you want to serve. Let this all gather the energy necessary to burst forth when the time is right.
Today, I choose to be with midwinter, to take in her message and her truth. As time goes on, more will be revealed. For now, it’s time to settle into my backyard chair facing the bright, warm sun as I sip on a steaming cup of hot tea.
Just as a tree doesn’t have to do anything but BE itself during winter in order to burst forth with leaves in the spring, I believe that come spring, I’ll have a better sense of what’s coming next and when it will be time. At the very least (which is not “least” at all), I believe I’ll discover more of who I am—and what I am passionate about and what makes my heart sing.