It may be very hard to believe this but SPRING IS COMING! In the meantime, winter can feel interminable and as a result, everything can feel a little harder. It's almost as though, right before Spring Equinox happens and light and energy begin to return, the shit hits the fan so to speak. We may get really sick, feel really depressed or deprived of sunshine, or moody or hopeless or helpless, or...fill in the blank. Simply put, the final throes of winter can feel challenging even for the most optimistic of us!
Yes, spring is so very close, but what to do in the meantime, or what to do if you are in a season of your own life that feels like a never-ending winter? What do you do in those dark times? One thing to do is take HEART and remember the simple saying, 'This too shall pass'. When we don't feel so great, it's easy to run with that feeling and create an entire story around it...'I'll always feel this way', 'I must have some kind of deadly disease!' or 'There must be something terribly wrong with me.' Well, I'm here to say that (most likely) you don't have a terrible disease and nothing is wrong with you. You are human. And as humans we go though cycles and seasons of beginnings and endings, loss and change, life and death. Here are 4 steps to greater peace and serenity while navigating a difficult time or challenging passage or the doldrums of winter:
Step One: Know that you are OKAY and let go of the story line. Take a deep breath, go into your center and know the peace that dwells there. It might even be helpful to silently say to yourself, 'I am okay' or 'I trust' or 'This too shall pass'. Never underestimate the power of mantra and positive self-talk. Change your story to a better or truer one. 'I am a failure.' can become 'This has been hard but is launching me into my next stage of growth and transformation.' Check out The Work of Byron Katie. It can be really helpful for turning around our typical thought patterns.
Step Two: Purge. Give yourself full permission to be YOU. Call up someone you love and trust and share your story. Practice being vulnerable, allow the tears to flow, have a total meltdown, it's all okay. You don't have to keep burying your feelings. Let the hardened damn break like a winter ice jam and allow yourself to be totally free to emote. Sometimes when we are willing to open up, even if it takes mountains of courage to do so, we are able to free up tons of energy that might otherwise be stored in our bodies and eventually manifest as illness or dis-ease.
Step Three: Reclaim some of your joy! Feel like you've lost it forever? It's there, really it is, behind the heavy clouds of doubt, fear, loneliness or pain. What do you love? Maybe it's taking a walk in nature, or a hot bath, or visiting a local florist or bookstore. Give yourself some extra soul support in the form of simple pleasures or gifts. Think of something that you really love to do, that is soul- nourishing, and go do it! Sometimes even just placing our hands in prayer position in front of the heart, gently smiling to ourselves (even if we don't feel like it) and internally stating a positive affirmation, can completely change the tone of our day.
Step Four: Listen. Really listen to what you most need. When we are going through a very deep or rough time, our daily latte or usual treats might not appeal. Maybe we typically love going out but all we want to do is cocoon in with a dear friend and a good movie. Listen deeply to what your body, mind and spirit need and act on that information. Really take a moment to tune in, and then follow through. When we are in the midst of a change or crisis, we are not the same. We are changing right along with the event. Allow for change, trust the flow, and be extra gentle with yourself.
As the Winter turns into Spring, we can allow ourselves to become new again. This is sometimes a painful process as we allow for transformation and re-birth. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is the promise of spring both in our hearts and on the Earth.
Be BRAVE. Welcome it wholeheartedly.
"...so, stay with me, and let us journey together.
let us become conscious. breathing in life. taking risks.
telling the truth. and in doing so, becoming world revolutionaries.
let us wake up from our slumbering seasons of emptiness,
and let us shake loose from our feet the dust of despair.
there is life to be lived and stories to be told."
- Lindsey Jo
"Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back,
learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you."
- John O'Donohue