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The Heart of Winter

January 19, 2018

Each January, our thoughts turn to the newness of possibility. Resolutions, goals, intentions, all help us focus forward. What do we want to accomplish? Where would we like to travel? What do we wish to experience?


It’s interesting that we do this in the middle of winter…winter is traditionally a time for slowness, for spending indoors and keeping warm. Animals hibernate during winter of course, and humans feel that same pull to sleep, to rest, to slow down. And yet the calendar tells us, Hey! It’s a new year! Set goals! Get moving! Is it any wonder that it’s hard to get to the gym after January 2? Our bodies are fighting us every step of the way and saying, Nap! Eat chili! Binge-watch The Bachelor! Perhaps what this season is really calling us to do is to focus inward, rather than forward. Our heads tell us what we "should" be doing this time of year, but our hearts may be saying something quite different. 


In talking with my coach this week, I realized how important it is for me to create my own structure, my own sense of rhythm and pace. I just can’t do things the way that other people do them, and that’s ok. All that’s required is for me to embrace my own instincts, tendencies, and quirks and go with them. I don’t have to fight myself to get things done.


An organizer friend started a decluttering challenge in early January. At first, I really didn’t intend to participate. I didn’t want to devote the energy it takes to make all those small decisions (keep, donate, toss) in so many areas of my home at one time. But I kept reading her posts and realized I had actually decluttered several areas on my own already, seemingly out of sheer necessity. After being sick for almost 6 weeks, I couldn’t find anything in my pantry, so that had to be organized if we had any prayer of cooking dinner ever again. Our kids had gotten new toys for Christmas and in putting those away it seemed natural to clean out the ones they no longer used. And then, last weekend, I found myself in front of my bathroom cabinet trying to shove the blow dryer in and close the door. The next thing I knew I was sitting on the floor with rubber gloves on and a trash bag next to me, weeding out old hair products and nail polish that had seen better days. I had become an unwitting participant in the decluttering challenge, like it or not. And as great as it felt to have those areas of my home clean and organized, it felt even better that I had done it because I felt the pull toward peace that comes from being able to find what I need quickly and easily.


As you consider what 2018 might hold, what represents the pull toward peace for you? What brings harmony and order to your mind and to your life? What gives you the space to think and to breathe? How willing are you to give yourself time to sit quietly this January and to contemplate those questions? How willing are you to write down the answers? To take that piece of paper out and look at it often? If you can find the willingness, you may also find that this year brings something different. It may bring a sense of ease and grace, and perhaps a sense of renewed purpose and excitement. You might even get to the gym, but not because the calendar says so—but because it feeds what your soul is truly desiring in the heart of winter.  


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