Guest post from Cheryl Bridges.
Cheryl sent this to me as an email and then gave me permission to share it publicly.
I used to have a button that read, “It may look like I’m doing nothing…but on a cellular level I’m really quite busy.” Well, that’s exactly what has begun with the Winter Solstice this weekend. In the weeks following Summer Solstice, the yin energy of darkness has quietly and gradually intensified. Winter Solstice marks the peak of yin energy and the beginning of its slow giving-way to the yang energy of activity and productivity. This wintry activity is not as palpable as summer’s growth or as visible as autumn’s harvest. It is activity at its deepest level as the roots we’ve already established utilize energy only for essential functions.
We humans don’t hibernate like other mammals, but we certain feel the instinctive call to slow down significantly in the winter months. Yet, how do we slow down on one hand and become more active on the other hand? If we look closely, nature gives us clear messages on using the slow crescendo of yang energy to prepare us for the fullness of life after winter.
What’s Dead is Dead – Winter is an ideal time to clear out dead leaves and plants. Left in the garden, old debris can invite pests and diseases. In what areas of your life have you allowed past debris to linger? It might be the emotional remains of feelings unexpressed or deeds unforgiven. It could be that your home is cluttered with too much stuff or your life is filled with too much drama that drains your energy reserves rather than inspiring your creativity. What do you need to rake away and be rid of once and for all in order to be energized and infused with the essence of life?
To Grow or To Prune? – Even areas with good growth need to be assessed as a winter activity. Gardeners and farmers know that pruning overgrown trees and bushes will improve flower and fruit production in the spring. Take time to explore the areas of your life where there appears to be solid growth, whether it’s mental, physical or emotional. Are you overextended or stretched in ways that deplete your energy? Would you be more productive in the long run if you trimmed back temporarily? By cutting back—even in the short-run—you ensure deeper roots and higher energy reserves for productive growth in the weeks to come.
Nurture Your Nature – Winter gardeners spread mulch over roots to protect them from the cold and to provide them with nutrition at a time when nature is renewing itself. What are the roots that can nourish you right now? Which ones are a little tender and vulnerable to external influences? What can you do to tend and attendto those roots? By providing your spirit with much needed protection and nuture, you will find yourself revitalized as the days lengthen and the fullness of sunlight returns.