Winter Conversations ..... Cold + Dark = Quiet Wisdom

Tonight a friend stopped in to talk.  It wasn’t a chat.  He needed to talk.  

He spoke about feeling lonely, not alone. He spoke specifically about feeling lonely. The lonely that happens when you make decisions that other’s might not agree on as the best option. The lonely that happens when after 10 minutes no one has texted or called. The lonely that occurs when winter hits and you cannot go outside.

The Lonely ~ the lonely that hits even when you are surrounded by a dozen friends, in the company of your life partner, when you sit in a meeting of peers at work, the lonely that hits when your family doesn’t see you.  It is the lonely that happens at birth and arrives to finally meet you at death. It is the lonely that is the ‘curse’ of being human in the current world. Let’s be honest the lonely that has been here for generation after generation.  It is the lonely that drives us to kill not only each other but also this planet and its animals.  Those animals we are jealous of because they do not know loneliness.  The dogs, cats, wolves, deer, eagles, elephants, and other animals that understand aloneness + community does NOT = loneliness.

Right now we are all feeling alone in America. Many can raise their hands high in acknowledgement that NO one has heard them for years.  They may never admit they are lonely. They will stand tall + swagger but we can all see past the veneer. This hoopla around our next President isn't the cause only the visible ulcer.  This goes far deeper and wider.

Loneliness is personal and universal.  We came in alone by not lonely.  We will die alone yet it we don’t have to be lonely.  

Loneliness is driven by the denial of self value. Our current culture (especially western white culture) does not nurture a whole self identity. It does not understand the value of the connection to our inner self. Because of this it perpetuates the denial of the value of Community as nurturer and the self within that community. The Quakers used the identifiers of Thee and Thou to bring inclusion into the self thus creating the understanding of the value of self within the community.  Many religious practices exclude self, deny the value of nurturance, and through the exclusion create a community of loneliness.  

Standing Rock exposes the loneliness within our culture. As a cultural phenomenon to the western world, Standing Rock shows how the acceptance of the value of self within a community through ancestral spiritual practices of inclusion, loneliness is removed and courage, integrity, self love, and the ability to value all life is expressed in daily interactions.  

We are not all of First Nation blood so what could my friend do to help embrace his loneliness?  

There are options available ~ A spiritual practice to quiet the mind and connect the higher self to him. A spiritual practice that allows for interaction between the higher self and him releasing the long held generational beliefs. A spiritual practice that gives value to community.

A willingness to say I no longer want to exclude myself.  A willingness to see the pain of loneliness in others, especially those we believe are not lonely. 

A clearer understanding of the concept “we create our experiences” and it is within our control to banish or build all aspects of our life.

Finding his ancestral spiritual lineage.  

There are many other options available to grasp the loneliness we experience. Each are individual as to their benefit.  There is no One Size Fits All.  I suggested he try many different avenues to find the right fit. The one that draws him, intrigues him.  Intrigue will fuel his desire to embrace his loneliness. His loneliness, when embraced, will bring to the world compassion and right action.

The dark, cold winter is designed for reflection. It doesn’t allow distractions to take our pains away. It refuses to hear the excuses and demands we find the courage to take a stand. Winter is our best ally in forming our convictions. If you can turn and face the adversary in the dark + cold, you can face them in light and ease.

No one is ever alone. There may be times when you feel loneliness. Remember many are here with you right now in this moment. Shine brighter.

Traveling on,
Teri ~ The Soul Traveler

I once hated it too.... And now ?

Yes I once hated winter!  The howling wind, the soft freezing snowflakes, the long dark days, and the harsh relentless cold.  I froze from September to mid-April.  Depression only lifted when the chinooks started to blow.  I gained a minimum of 5 pounds + looked like a shriveled up old lady in my 20's from trying to keep myself warm.  I lived in the winter sunbelt of Colorado and still couldn't find anything wonderful about winter.  One long cold evening walk from work, as I shivered my way down the final street, ice forming on my eyelashes, I made a promise to the god above who was withholding all my joy, to never again complain about winter, to never WHINE again if he would just bring spring back!  He kept his part of the bargain with early chinook winds in March and I kept mine.  I never complained in fear of retaliation.  But it didn't really stop me from hating winter.

I took my frustrations out on autumn.  You know those warning months of whats to come ~ splendor that hides the truth!  Depression crept into my life each Labor Day.  I began squirreling away sweaters, marshmallows, & heavy socks.  The thought of overcoats on top of Halloween costumes scared the beejesus out of me.  But I never complained once about winter. NEVER!

For some reason newly acquired friend I was to discover was in love with autumn or fall as we say here in the West.  I listened aghast as she delighted in all the changes occurring.  Finally summoning my courage I asked her why she loved fall and not my favorites spring or summer.  I stood stunned as she regaled fall's attributes and slammed my beloved twins (well cousins) spring + summer.  I scoffed at her and secretly went home to contemplate her words.

Finally years later I understood the why and how of Earth's seasons.  Clarity shined on the deeper truth in my vow of No Whining.  Something that had completely escaped me for decades. I felt and understood my friends love for autumn and the beauty it held.  She opened my eyes to something deeper than just the leaves changing, the scent of wood burning, the harvesting of the summers bounty.  I discovered the wisdom in all the seasons, not just my beloved spring + summer.

The true test was could I find that same love in the long dark drawwwwn out months of winter?  Could I welcome winter with the same zest I welcomed spring?  Was I willing to really let the truth, the soul truth, strike open my heart for winter?  It took time.  Yet I finally let winter show me her splendor and wisdom.  

No, I don't rush to the ski slopes each year, those days are long past.  I don't frolic in the deep snow and dream of sipping hot cocoa.  I do listen quietly as the bitter cold moves into the land.  I watch as the birds battle against the harsh wind and wonder about the symbology.  I delight in the blast of frozen air each time I open the door, gasping in surprise.  Bundled up in layers I walk daily returning to shelter with a glimpse of new knowledge of my world + me.  

I have come to realize that I make my experiences great or small.  It is my ability to accept myself leading me to accepting my outside world that brings joy or peace.  Don't get me wrong I still shiver for 5 months out of the year but I don't harbor resentment towards Winter.  Nature's personalities are but reflections of the world she watches over.  Storms rage to bring us deeper into ourselves and show us where we may be stuck whining and not changing.  Sun shines welcoming us to open to who we are.  Rain nourishes the land reminding us to take time to nourish our world, our soul.  Drought reminds us that often what we love can be lost.  There is so much symbolic expression in our seasons.  Just like each season there isn't a one-size fits all explanation for the messages being delivered. 

I still don't complain about winter.  I promised 40 years ago and I don't break my promises.  Each season brings with it very different expressions.  Just like the barometer tells us the changes in weather, how I respond tells me where I am in my heart.  

Look deep into all our amazing seasons.  Find the message hidden in plain sight for you.  Welcome that message into your home, give it a cuppa, and hear the words.  Wisdom isn't always hidden, it is only waiting for us to see with plain eyes.

Traveling on xoxo

The Soul Traveler

teetering and tottering .... the between season

teeter totter .jpg

The Spring Equinox was officially a happening a few days back and yet for so many places the burst and fanfare has not arrived.  If you are truthful there are signs that winter is giving way to spring.  Look around and truly see.

What is the power of these between seasons?  What can we learn from it?  Where can it take us?  In our rush to move from the introspection of winter to the burst of spring and trying out our new insights do we miss the opportunity of stretching into the dance?  If you were to pause for a time and lay out all your new sparkling insights what dance would unfold?

This winter has been filled with transitional insights for me.  I went from a 9-5-work week with spillover weekends filled to the brim to days devoid of any obligations.  I struggled with finding my rhythm in this cacophony of ideas.  Each day would bring with it a new insight of how I tick internally, what spiritual practice unlocked the deepest me, and which identity wasn't me.  After four full months I can say the Between Season, teetering and tottering is becoming a favorite.  

The long nights of winter gave me the opportunity to sit in the quiet dark space.  From there I watched the movie of what had been me for over 20+ years.  The movie had drama, crime, romance, and several comedic moments played by distinguished characters all with the same last name.  Several months were spent in the cutting room, deleting scenes no longer real, deflecting urges to keep the status quo, fights over keeping to the "real" story, and embracing the right to let go.  Soon the quiet dark space was lit and the urge to push through and move out into the world with what I knew took center stage.  Was it really time for this discovery to take the stage?  Was there still incubation to be done?  What about more of more?  

To be honest I love spring, the deep rich scents of life rebirthing, the starkness of winter being danced into light, songs bursting forth from the long silence and the lingering heat from a sun long dormant.

What I have discovered is there is another lesser known season, the Between Season.  It happens 4 times a year, slips by during the midst of much moaning and holds so many jewels.

I decided to pause, peak, and play with this Between Season.  What I found amazed me.  
Taking my sparkling insights I laid them all out in the morning sun that tangoed with the clouds. I watched as they began to morph into speckled blue eggs, dark brown seeds, and molten moss.  Guided by the natural flow of the snow and rain, I placed the seeds deep into the moss covering them with the eggs.  Opening the door a breeze came to tweak and ruffle these new insights, causing me to notice the seed dangling from beneath as an egg rolled precariously towards the edge.  At that moment I realized my rush to open the door to release my insights into the world was premature.  In my haste I would have lost an insight still needing time to find its place before embarking.  

The dark insightful spaces of winter allow us to gather, reflect and nurture ourselves.  It is not really a scary, unforgiving time.  Our ancestors used this time wisely drawing upon it for renewal, reflection, and a deeper connection to Source.  They did look forward to the springtime yet they knew it was best to not rush forward.  They used the Between Seasons.  We can use them.  As you find yourself drawn to toss away the extra blankets, heavy sweaters and reflective time ask if it is really time.  Does your sparkling insights need more discovery?  Are they ready to birth?  Can this longer sunlight shine upon another insight you missed?

Spring is a season of rebirth.  You cannot birth anything that you have not planted, nurtured and embraced.  Use this time to prepare the soil, nests, and you for the birthing that will soon come.  Give it permission to find its rhythm, releasing the identity to rush allows for deeper discovery.  Find the beauty in the simple tiny hint that transition is happening and will carry your insights to a full and brilliant life.  Ask with honesty what have you left back in the dark winter?  Is there yet another opportunity to revive a wildness and nurture it to full bloom?  Can your identity rebirth who you really are?

The Between Season asks us to pause, gather, quench and allow all that we have discovered in our winter reflection to find its own rhythm of birth and rebirth.  There will be time to rejoice in the first sprouts.  Be mindful.  Allow the pause, the between, the rhythm of the teeter totter.   Discover that who you are is the brilliance of spring.

xoxoxo ~ The Soul Traveler