It Still Is Winter


For some of us, to admit to the fact that it still is winter is the equivalent of saying “Yes” to something that we do not want. Something we wish would just go away. Something that leaves us feeling as though there is someplace better. More desirable. Less harsh and effortful.

Mostly, I think this is because it is hard to believe that something that leaves us so very, very uncomfortable could actually be loving, healing and supportive.

It puts me in mind of a couple of years ago while I was doing a vision quest in the desert of New Mexico. On the surface, the desert can be very, very scary. Harsh. Unforgiving. Difficult and overwhelming. As I was spending four nights out on my own in this place, alone in an environment that not only was I unfamiliar with, but over which I carried a lot of assumptions and baggage around what the desert had to offer, I could see that my beliefs were going to turn out to be my biggest struggle. For in my mind, I could only imagine that it was the place where people got stung by scorpions, bit by rattle snakes, and where they then went on to die alone; starving, thirsty and gone mad in the blistering and relentless heat. A carcass left to be later picked apart by the animals. Leaving only bones.

And yet, when I put aside my imagined fears, worries and fretting over comfort and safety, and opened to what was actually there, what I found was love. Pure and simple. A kind of Mother’s Love that changed and reset my nervous system just by me laying on the ground in this place and being open to what was there. Beyond fears. Beyond likes and dislikes. Beyond assumptions.

Which is not to say that I was not very, very uncomfortable. For I was. But beyond the discomfort was something so profound as to have the power to change my life for the better.

I know this may seem crazy. Fantastical. Fluffy, impossible and New-Agey. But I will tell you that something deeply invisible in me, that then went on to be visible, changed in me; moving me towards greater health, wholeness and ease. To this day, I continue to go sit or lay down on the ground in all kinds of weather, and in all kinds of seasons.

Which brings me back to winter. Recently, in the cold and as the sky was darkening,  I found my way to the ground once again. I did this because I was beside myself with a welling up of emotions that I knew were going to take me down a familiar road that has only brought me great pain. Without even giving it thought I found myself trudging to a place on the land where we live, and then crumbling down on top of the snow with the weight of what I was experiencing.

As I was about to give over to a rising wave of intense emotion, I was caught up in the most perfect silence I have experienced in a very long time. Save for the movement of the birds, it was utterly still. And even the movement of the birds carried stillness on their wings. When I finally arose, everything was different. I was different.

There is great healing available in the ways of winter, with stillness being perhaps its greatest offering. Try it. Go find someplace to sit down or lie down. Give the mind enough time to settle out. And then wait. Without demand, expectation or preconceived beliefs. Just wait.

“Motherliness is essential to healing because Mother Nature alone can heal.”

Robert Svoboda