This last year or so I have focused inward, and my outward focus is mostly limited to those with whom I live. I feel like I am about to emerge from that time, but I’m not completely ready yet. This time has been a gift, and it has also been odd. Covid-time came at a great time to me personally. It gave me a great excuse to withdraw and focus inward. Last fall I discovered the book Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May.
This winter I listened to the book twice, and read it once. The book interested me because of the Soul Leaders Retreat I attended a few years ago that focused on each one of the seasons. I knew I was in the season of winter, and I knew I had found the right book when I read May’s definition of wintering. She writes, “Wintering is a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider.” It describes well the transition period I have been in for the last 20 months. Further she asserts, “Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but it’s crucible.”
While one of my goals has been healing and grieving, another primary goal is figuring out what is next for me. I soon realized that the answer was not going to come quickly. The work I have been doing is necessary for the answer to come. As May claims, “Transformation is the business of winter.” She says that “you’ll find wisdom in your winter, and once it’s over, it’s your responsibility to pass it on.” I hope to do just that. My winter is not quite over, but I do think the light is lengthening and spring is coming.
I recently read Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck. In her map of the change cycle, I am very much in Square One: Death and Rebirth. I was able to complete the book’s exercises up until and including that part. And then I just had to take notes and return it to the library. However, thinking through the exercises like: If I were sure I’d succeed, I would… or If I could be certain it was the right choice, I would… did give me some insights.
I celebrated Easter with Joy, and I believe in Resurrection and new life. However, I am also comfortable with the fact that my transformation is still in process. I am still cocooned, no longer a caterpillar, but not ready to break out with my new butterfly wings. Stay tuned.