Remembering what our bodies know to be true

Remembering what our bodies know to be true

Leaning into our fear is a step toward letting it go.

Usually when I start to acknowledge the days are getting colder, we are well into winter and the days so short that it gets dark here in Vermont as early as 3:30 p.m.  I feel resistance turning towards the darkness, the cold of winter, and a reluctance to let go of warmer days.  It is as if I know the winter will feel long, or I have a subtle fear that the feeling of it being cold will never end.  As I query further into my habitual ways, I see the feeling generated by a chill is just a reaction, a sense of doubt that I might not be able to make it this year, through winter, or that I may lose my freedoms of being able to move freely and travel.  I normally look forward to the ritual of running retreats in January and April, which offers the opportunity to extract myself out of winter at least once a year. I mix things up, meet strangers and long time retreaters on their yoga mats in some hanging yoga platform in the jungle or ocean somewhere.  Internally, I query further into my feelings about the lack of this tradition this year and find a fear of loss of freedom, hope, and faith.  It is just a moment, and it passes.  Like a wave, emotions come and go and they are generated by thoughts, often fear.

The Wisdom traditions have taught me to acknowledge my fears, to lean into the darkness, and to feel into what is there.  As I explore the natural rhythm of winters’ darkest days, I have let go of my resistance to the cold dark days time and time again, and been curious about what a friend evokes in me on a walk in the snow today, “Planting the seed of our heart in the darkness.”

As I ponder these words, I have an internal sense that my body and our bodies seek to rest, to turn inward, to attune with the internal and external forces of nature.  There is enormous potential for peace, harmony, longevity and hope if we allow ourselves to slow down, take pause, and be with the shorter days.  This year, the hustle and bustle seems slower in my town, and it is palatable to notice the difference.  Something feels right and connecting about the slowing.  I evolve into being more patient with myself, and take time for more care of my body.  My body longs to go to bed, to feel relaxed with the sun down and get up with sun up.  I have a desire to write, create, and use my hands more.  To harness hope, prosperity and to enjoy long walks in the crystal snow.  

Less intense energy helps me connect with the flickering fire,and stoking the fireplace — that need for direct genuine warmth on cold nights.  We huddle in together, honoring the simplicity of writing cards, my husband digging out his father’s tools to clean up as Christmas gifts… doing less, and enjoying more.  I have a sense that my ancestors had some great wisdom to be had, and that I appreciate the warmth that is generated from stacking wood, or that candle light, the sound of the fireplace earlier in the evening, and the resolve to tune into what is natural and within the cycle of earth’s natural rhythms. 

Simply by the act of tuning in to the discomfort of winter and being patient with my reactions, I am able to see more patience, more purpose, and more balance in day to day life..  This is the true resilience that rests within if we take time to listen, be curious and tune in.