Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Season of Slow

It's cold. And gray. And cold.

Winter in New England is lovely in its own special way. Over the years I've finally learned to layer up and dress for the weather. I carry extra pairs of gloves and hats where ever I go, and I'm always sporting a thick scarf to keep my body heat in. See, human beings are adaptable. It's one of our most valuable traits for navigating our ever changing inner and outer worlds. It seems obvious to us to change our wardrobe with the seasons, but it's easy to forget to change other aspects of our lives. 

Winter is the Season of Slow. Time to hibernate and look inward. The modern world doesn't make this shift to slowness easy though. Many of us feel the same year round pressure to perform at top speed, multitask, and expend our energy outward without skipping a beat. It requires a conscious effort to take a tip from nature and slow our pace.

If we allow it, winter can be a contemplative time of year. Other times of the year are all about growth and expansion, while the winter months offer an opportunity to look inward and reflect. This makes it the perfect season to begin a meditation practice. There are countless methods for meditation, which by official definition is to "think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation." When you put it that way, it doesn't sound so intimidating, does it? Meditation could include journalling, breath work, or simple mindfulness practices. To read more on how to begin a mindfulness practice, click here.

Slowing down may mean something different for each person: sleeping and resting more, choosing gentler forms of exercise and movement, or eating warm foods that are cooked slowly. I invite you to take a look out your windows and consider ways you might take advantage of this Season of Slow. What does slowing down mean to you? 

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