On Hibernation

So here is where we start talking about syncing up with nature.

Here is what I believe. G-d made the seasons not just to allow a healthy pattern of growth and hibernation for the land, the animals, the flowers and trees. I believe G-d intended this for every living growing thing (psst – that includes you and me). I have heard this described as Seasonal Affective Disorder, where low feelings that accompany winter and high anxiety that comes with summer are deemed a “bad” thing – a disorder. I don’t like this classification.

Let’s look at it this way. There is Spring, where we are usually extremely productive, as people and as plants and animals. Lots of green beautiful lush foliage and flowers, ice melts and streams are bubbling and churning, animals are caring for their new young, and people are in Spring cleaning frenzy. Windows are open wide letting in the clean crisp air that seems to have a wonderful energy to it. We are full of growth and utilizing potential.

Then comes Summer, where we feel the heat of the sun as energizing, but in a less frenzied way. We feel a bit lazy by the heat of the sun and the overall warm weather. The energy is more an internal one, soothing, calling for family fun time, barbeques, family vacations where play and relaxation are combined for great quality time. Plants that have grown in Spring are showing their beauty, young animals are past the major growth stages and are frolicking alongside their mothers. The energy of Spring brought forth so much beauty and growth, and now is the time to sit back and enjoy it (over a cup of cool lemonade).

Fall then comes to start the dormancy process slowly. First there is the invigorating beauty of the changes in scenery and weather. That crisp fall air is revitalizing after the slow heat of Summer. We stock up on that revitalizing verve, and shed things we don’t need for the Winter. It is a time when plants are withering to shed extra baggage, animals are storing up food and building up their coat of fur to stay warm and store energy for the cold season ahead. As the leaves fall to the ground we take stock of what we have amassed and let go of that which we do not wish to take with us into the new year.

Then comes Winter. Dark comes early, shortening daytime, bringing with it this quiet time that begs for warm snuggles, hot tea and cocoa, and introspection. It is the time of year when the land lays fallow, storing up and replenishing nutrients for the next Spring. Many animals go into hibernation and rest for most of this period, laying low from the cold and lack of ready food.

As people, we should embrace this process for ourselves. Use this time of the approach of the Winter solstice to take stock. What extra baggage are we carrying around that will not serve us, that will sap energy from us that we need to store carefully for the Winter? What relationships are doing us harm? What thoughts cause an inertia that is keeping us from reaching our goals? What “stuff” are we carrying around that we don’t want to take with us into the coming year? And, then, what DO we want to amass to get us through this Winter? What relationships do we want to strengthen? What affirmation do we want to take on? What trait would we like to hone to bring with us into the next year? How can we stock up on positive, nurturing, warm energy to support us through this dark cold period of time? What nutrients would we like to gather in the coming months to sprout forth which goals of this coming Spring?

Winter is a time to reflect on this. Sync with nature. Allow the feelings of tiredness that come earlier to lull you to sleep earlier. Allow the cold to move you to snuggle with family members and share hot cocoa in your jammies under warm blankets as you watch a storm outside. Allow Winter to be beautiful for you and your family, not a hindrance of rain and mud and cold. Hibernate. Reflect. Gather courage and love and gratitude and store energy for the growth that comes with Spring. Store up. Go with the rhythm of nature. Let her guide you to move with her rhythm, her tide. Follow her wisdom.

It is an incredible feeling to allow yourself to drop into this natural flow. This waning and waxing of seasonal energy. You can feel the synchronization of it. This naturalness in it. It just feels right.

Go with it. Sync with nature. Don’t fight it. Restore your body. See early dusk and late dawn as gifts, not hindrances. See the cold and the rain as signs, not bothers. Seek warmth, seek love, be in gratitude. Love Winter.

Here’s to a “synced” Winter season for you,

With love and a cup of hot cocoa,

Devorah

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