What is winter trying to teach us?
This past weekend I went to a cabin in the woods to work on my seasonal living Ayurveda book. It's turning out to be a really good book, and I'm beyond excited for how it's coming together.
I went to a cabin in the woods in January by myself. I found a community retreat style place where there were no distractions in the room it truly was just me and my thoughts. I didn't have to worry about cooking my meals as the retreat center did and brought them right to your door.
I learned even though I practice silence, meditate, and go out in nature regularly there is something to be sad to do it distraction free with no way to escape so to speak.
Silence, Stillness & Sleep
Those are 3 pillars Ayurveda classifies as winter's medicine. They are connecting to yourself on a deeper level. If you look out into the woods, the trees are bare, you can see right through them. Just like ourselves. We often feel stripped away in the winter season of our usual vices and feel the bareness, the rawness of ourselves.
The first night I was at my little cabin I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I wanted to turn on the tv, music, something. Instead I sat with my discomfort. Not letting it consume me, just questioning why I felt this way.
I don't consume that much tv maybe an hour each night but the silence really felt intense. I didn't sleep well that night as I assumed every noise meant someone was creeping around my cabin.
I woke up late the first morning at 7:30am after a restless night of sleep. I ended up having a wonderful writing day, filled with nothing to distract me but my own anxiety about writing a book.
I broke up my day with reading a 245 page book- Wintering by Katherine May which was lovely if you haven't read it. As well as consume the other novel I brought- The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. I also did yoga, meditated, yoga nidra, nature walk. All of the things I don't always make space for or feel I have time for in my "regular" life.
I also didn't have to cook. Which what a stress reliever! I didn't realize how much time thinking about what you're going to make for yourself, your kids, spouse. Taking in everyone's dietary preferences is mentally exhausting. For lunch and dinner the wonderful women on the community center staff or were volunteers brought us out our meals. I sat and ate in silence similar to what I do at home but with a 4 year old chattering away.
I found myself craving the silence as I drove home. I shut the radio off and found the space to connect with my thoughts again. I know this is not possible for everyone to do but if you like myself have been home with family members even an afternoon at home alone can feel like a vacation right now. That's not to say we don't love our families and appreciate everything we have it's just being brutally honest about your needs.
The same goes if you've been home for the past year by yourself. The loneliness can be difficult. Sharing those feelings with people and normalizing that we don't have to feel happy and joyful at all times needs to be the norm.
How do you invite winter's medicine in?
Understand what you need right now. Silence, sleep, stillness? If you like myself have been go, go, go on all cylinders without even meaning to maybe you need all three. Make space for those medicines to be in your life. Ask them what they are trying to teach you? Embrace the tough emotions that can arise. Maybe you make time to go on a solo retreat or I invite you to my upcoming at-home virtual winter retreat.
Make sure you you ask yourself what you need and create space in your life for the medicine your soul so deeply needs right now. Winter can often bring up our shadows. Don't run from the uncomfortable but sit and ask it what lessons do you have for me? Journal, read, meditate. What feels good for you right now?
The view from my little cabin in the woods
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