Wintering in Summer: Time to Reflect, Reconsider, and Reinvent
Have you ever endured a season when you felt unsettled with a yearning to jump off the hamster wheel, exit the information highway and figure out your next steps? If you are like me, you have encountered this more than once in your life. A year ago, I published Unstuck, a book chronicling my journey through one of those seasons, and I’m finding myself again feeling a little stuck.
As I begin to walk toward the light at the end of the very long tunnel created by a global pandemic, I’m not sure which direction to travel. It’s like a tornado came through and tossed everything around. All the landmarks are missing, and I’m not quite sure where I am standing.
In her book, Wintering – The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, Katherine May describes wintering as a time for the following:
putting your house in order
letting spare time expand
She states, “This is a crossroads we all know, a moment when you need to shed a skin. If you do, you’ll expose all those painful nerve endings and feel so raw that you’ll need to take care of yourself for a while. If you don’t, then that skin will harden around you. It’s one of the most important choices you’ll ever make.”
While the pandemic may have been a perfect opportunity to “winter,” I missed it. I spent a lot of time working on my book, which was an incredible experience, but I also spent a lot of the time fighting off anxiety, mood swings, and brain fog. As a result, I wasted a lot of time sitting and scrolling, taking in way too much information, and now I’m feeling completely saturated, out of shape, and searching for direction.
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I love the winter, with its imprisonment and its cold, for it compels the prisoner to try new fields and resources.”
Living in Texas, I don’t think of being imprisoned during the winter (except this last one – it was a doozy!!); however, our summers are a different story. Triple-digit temperatures and humidity create an oppressive heat provoking many to retreat indoors. Soon, only mornings and evenings will be tolerable. So this may be the perfect time for me to limit distractions, process all the information I have consumed, and try new things.
As the summer nips at our heels, I think I will begin “wintering,” taking time to be intentional, to reunite with family and friends, get my home in order, read without a highlighter, and seek adventure and see where it leads me.
Have you ever spent a season wintering?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Until next time, be well.
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Title photo by Lori Sanders