November 26, 2018

It’s Okay to Slow Down: an Affirmation for Winter.

When the light begins to wane, when our bodies ache to curl up in bed with a book, it’s okay to listen.

When the trees drip their leaves, when they stand tall and naked and brazen, it’s okay to hibernate.

Our bodies possess the same deep knowledge as the rest of nature—that we are creatures of seasonality. That there are times to accelerate, to gulp all we can out of life, and times of bone-deep slowing.

Besides nature’s seasons, we each experience individual seasons in our lives. Seasons of grief, seasons of growth. Seasons of birth and death. Seasons of fresh, glowing love, and seasons of disentanglement. It’s okay—in fact, it’s quite healthy—to curve into these seasons. To release ourselves to change.

In the West, we’re often trained to ignore our own deep knowing. We’re indoctrinated to ignore nature, to speed up in the winter, to consume our way through the holidays.

Instead of slowing down, instead of listening to the sane and humble voice of nature, we buy into this speeding up, this frenzy of buying and doing.

What if we said, enough already? What if we excised the fat from our lives? What if we said no, and no thank-you, and nopity nope?

What if we listened to the innate voices of our bodies, so tuned in to nature? What if we bathed in this quiet bareness?

This year, I’m trying it. I’m shrugging off extra work, extra commitments. I want to know what it feels like to embrace seasonality. I want to dip into slowness and stillness and creativity. I want to stop being afraid of the dark and sit in it, let it wash over me. I want to go to bed early and run my eyes and fingers across the pages of many, many books. I want to wrap myself in blankets and linger for long moments in shavasana, feeling my limbs go heavy, as if I were dropping into the cradling earth.

I want to stop being so afraid of death, because that’s what winter holds. I want to be curious about endings. I want to peek around its edges. I want to tiptoe into its stillness. I want to learn what the trees know about seasons, about phases, about the steely force of change. I want to unclench my grip and learn about letting go. I want to learn what our ancestors knew before we were dazed by the bright commercial glare of consumerism.

I want to remind myself, to remind us all, that it’s okay to experiment with slowing down, to try it on like a warm, heavy robe. To string together moments of sweet stillness. To sip from small cups of darkness, allowing it to sink into us, to let it slide down our limbs.

To whisper, welcome, come on in.

How do you embrace seasonality?


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