I am currently reading the book Wintering by Katherine May. The timing could not be more perfect as I feel as if I am approaching my own kind of wintering at this moment. This last week I began a twelve week writer’s workshop in which I am committing to write over a thousand words a week as well as support someone else in their goal. I have already had a few early mornings of waking before the sun and hopelessly typing words into a black google doc. The ideas are plentiful, yet completely jumbled. For the longest time I have been saying that “I want to write a book” and yet, while I have all the passion in the world, the exact subject, structure and specificity of it is unclear. Sometimes I think I have one good book in me and then when I go to sit down and write, I think that there are twelve of them swimming around and I actually just have to pick one, for now.
My creative process is messy. What I love about this workshop is that the goal is not to end these twelve weeks with a finished product, but rather light the fire to simply “write the thing”, of which it is aptly named. I have already written over two thousand words and yet I still have no idea where it’s all heading. I have no clue what is going to come of this.
But here’s what I do know, that is ok.
So often we don’t begin the thing we long to do because of what is currently happening in my world right now. It all feels like a jumbled mess and while we have grand visions of what a final product could be, getting there feels almost impossible. The slog of starting is so difficult that it almost feels easier, perhaps even better, to simply dream about doing it instead of actually doing it. I know this. I have been doing this for years now.
And yet, having recently experienced loss and the reminder yet again that life is both impermanent and goes by incredibly fast, I can’t just dream anymore. I have to create things while I can. Yes, I have been doing that with eMOTION and Meditation and even with coaching. And I am proud of them. But there is more. I have known that for a while now. And while I could cobble together some very quick version of what I am dreaming about doing, I want to take my time. I want to really live up the vision I have for myself and write a book that is meaningful and well written. It’s going to be hard. It already is. But I am allowing myself this time of being in my own wintering so that when it finally does bloom, it will be magnificent.
How am I wintering?
Some of it is a mindset and some of it is practical. For starters, I announced a while ago that I am more or less off of social media. You will still see posts announcing new blog posts or class opportunities, but I am doing all of it through a third party platform. The apps themselves have been taken off my phone and they are now only accessible through a browser of some kind. I have to tell you, I am just a couple of weeks in and it already feels glorious. I now go long moments without even looking at or checking my phone. Even more so than that, I find that my attention is so much sharper. I have shared this before, but social media has been such a trap for me. I believe it is for many of us, but I can only speak for myself. The constant barrage of thoughts, opinions, stories of other people. As much as I love storytelling, I have found that you can have too much of a good thing. The constant scroll continued to validate to my own mind that you don’t have to focus too much on any one thing for too long. I have realized in the jumbled mess of already trying to create something, those spaces only serve to exacerbate it. I think that this may be the single most important thing that I can do for my own mental health right now as I take on this project.
I am also giving myself permission to rest. Most of my best ideas and most clarifying moments come not when I am doing, but when I am being. My morning meditation practice is in full swing, but even more than that, when I find my brain is overheated, I literally walk away and lie down. I close my eyes and breathe or even take a nap. One of the major privileges fueling this moment is having Audrey back in school again full-time. It’s only been three days and I have already exhaled a little more than I have this last year and a half. To anyone who homeschools, whether on purpose or pandemic driven, please know that I salute you. There was a moment when I thought that was for me, but I have been clearly shown that it is not. I am an amazing mother to my child, but adding in the role of teacher is not something that I excel at nor need to excel at. I will openly and perhaps even selfishly admit, I need my own space. It is in fact, one of the driving reasons that we have chosen to have only Audrey. I love being a Mom, truly, madly, deeply and yet I have also been able to recognize my motherhood satiety has been met as one of a singleton. In a way, it is a gigantic choice of self-care that both my husband and I have made in the interest of us all. I share all of this in the context of rest, simply because I acknowledge that this isn’t what is possible for all and I have a certain, parent of one, privilege in this area. I know that and honor that. To even have the choice at all, I am grateful.
In addition to taking in less of other people’s stories so that I may tune into my own and resting when I feel the need, I am also back to practicing more ritual. Simple, minute things to mark the moments of the day or set the tone of the space I am in. Sometimes this includes cleaning things up, changing the lighting or burning incense or diffusing oils. One of the things Katherine’s book has made me really consider is how we mark time and whether or not we do so with intention. In one of the chapters, she talks about the druids and how they mark every six weeks or so with some kind of ritual. I have realized that nothing extraordinary happens through ritual, other than we become really present and aware of the fact that time is moving. I suppose that is actually quite extraordinary really. I have always been a fan of ritual and in fact, have an entire course on it. And yet, like everyone else, even those things we are drawn to, we sometimes lose and need to find again. In this preparation for my own wintering, I am doing just that. Making the space and time around these moments where I will be wrestling with my own thoughts and words will serve as the reminder that my creativity is sacred. And that my willingness to dive in and get messy is something to scoff at. It is brave and bold and I must keep doing it, even as time passes and I will have feelings of wanting to give up.
And so I am closing the shutters, gathering the warm blankets and with each colder and darker morning that I wake up to, reminding myself that the winter is what actually makes the rest of the year beautiful. It is one of the other lessons I have learned from choosing to, in addition to writing for my book, only put my words on this tiny blog, with you, my wonderful but tiny audience. The world is so loud out there and going quiet can be a kind of tonic that soothes our soul in a way getting loud cannot. I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for loud, there is just an equal time and place to get quieter.
Lastly, getting ready for winter has also meant taking care of my time better. I announced recently that I was changing eMOTION classes, the movement portion, to be completely recorded. Beginning this week, folx who are signed up will receive a weekly email from me. There will be a link to the week’s movement class and a link for our live meditation session on Monday nights where we will convene live for the only time that week. There will also be other little treats such as recorded audio meditations or journal prompts and personal words from me. There will also be a theme of the month and this month the theme is Gentleness. We will explore what it means to be gentle with ourselves, something that will serve us well as we all move forward towards winter, literally and personally.
And because I am grateful for you to be coming along with me for this journey into winter, because in order for you to even be reading this, you had to choose to do so rather than scrolled upon it, I am offering you a special discount for your first month of the eMOTION subscription. Use code: BLOG at the link below and you will get it for half off. This will work for both the coaching subscription and the eMOTION monthly and will expire on October 1st.
I hope to see you this Monday night for meditation as we begin our own journey into winter. It is not a time to dread, I promise you, but a time to really be much more intentional with these precious lives we are living.
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.