The Gifts of Solitude
Winter is a time for going inward, especially for those in northern regions, to reflect, and be with our own inner world. Where once it was the season to mend clothing and equipment, cooped up inside away from the cold, we can now do the same inside ourselves, tending to our private experiences, feelings, and relationship to ourselves.
We can become blocked emotionally and mentally (not to mention physically, too) from too much coming in and not enough digestion, assimilation, and absorption. Our culture has become over saturated with entertainment, whether in the form of stories and media, or online content, images, and news. Underneath it all, we still have immense rich inner vistas to navigate and explore.
When the social world was quieter and there was less stimulation, it was easier and more natural to reflect, create, and go inward.
The appeal of stories, music, legends, and rites of passage was a result of inner reflection, more structured than today in tradition, but serving the same purpose: to feed our soul as well as our body. It is a paradox that our need to fulfill the soul in story and image has led to vapid, empty, and trivial entertainment that distracts us from more real and personal stories! Stories once came from the people around us, centered in the place we lived; it was more grounded and integral than media today, and a natural expression from people—more than something driven by greed, profit, and distorted values.
It may take effort to resist the tendency towards constant stimulation, and take a break. The spaciousness of being alone allows for the hidden to be revealed. The roominess we feel in solitude—not having to be anything or perform or meet others socially—allows us to sink below our persona into deeper parts of ourselves. While we may have to face things we have previously repressed, in most cases this confrontation alleviates deeper subconscious strain, and a relief comes.
Continually facing the self allows for recharged emotional health and vitality, so we can be ready for times together with friends and family, more available and spacious ourselves, and more tuned in to our own authenticity. Taking advantage of the season may be as simple as pulling our energy inward, working with solitude and the self, while the trees and plants do the same.