It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that lately, I have been feeling very wintery. The moon has been living in my belly; a cold and swollen stone. Moving is difficult, and direction eludes me. I could write you all kinds of poetry about it, feed you metaphors about treading water and drowning, about my closed eyes and heart, but I’ve done all of that before. I am trusting you can picture the paralysis, that maybe, perhaps, you have been experiencing it yourself.
I am no expert on anything, really, but can speak from my experience living on this planet. It was a hard year for us human beings. There was tumult and terror, and there seemed to be more than usual, but maybe that just shows my sensitivity to it. It’s not news to me that change is the only constant, but I felt it this past year more than ever. In my tribe of friends and family, many people I know (myself included) have been reeling.
If I had to pick one word for 2012, it would be transition. Related words include: difficult, change, indecision, choice, surrender, grief and growth.
The new moon on January 11th came with a similar message. Through two readings, it was affirmed to me that depression, turning inward, and slowing down all went hand in hand with this new moon. I was told to be patient, and not to judge where I am in the process. We are gathering strength for the next step in our path.
So many of us have been waiting for a long time for the next step in our path. I can empathize with feeling done with this whole waiting business. I can empathize with feeling powerless, or perhaps more accurately, afraid of my own power. But the message that is repeatedly sent to me is this: hang in there, feel your feelings, and breathe through it—a change is coming.
There is another reason to cut yourself some slack. Besides being a human (a tough break, really, and the only kind of training we get is on-the-job), it’s also winter. Our bodies and biorhythms are so attuned to nature and the turning of the seasons, that even in sunny California, my body and mind are wintering. I just recently crawled out of the cave where I was hibernating. There is another word for it, and I’ll give you a clue: it starts with a D. But does it really need to go there? If we want to lie low in a cave for awhile, let’s just do that without judging or pathologizing or trying to fix anything. With this mindset, for perhaps the first time in my life, I embraced and even enjoyed the hibernation.
It’s amazing what can happen when you go inside. It’s amazing what is inside of you (Spoiler Alert: the Universe!). Are you having trouble getting in there?
I want to share with you this meditative exercise from Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck (a truly amazing book for anyone aspiring to live a life awake and aligned with their deepest desires and true nature):
Follow Your Own Bloodstream
- Take a few deep, full breaths.
- Exhale completely, and pause before inhaling.
- In the space before you need to breathe in again, focus your attention on your heart until you can feel it beating. This may take up to a minute.
- Take another breath and exhale. Along with your heartbeat, find the sensation of your pulse moving through your hands, feet, scalp, and entire body.
- Stay focused on the feeling of your entire circulatory system as it channels your lifeblood to your head and extremities. See if you can feel it moving through your organs as well.
- Perform some simple task-walking, making breakfast, making your bed – while continuing to feel your heartbeat and overall pulse. You’ll find the activity becomes strangely blissful.
Winter is a very internal season. If you look inside yourself and see the chaos of snowdrifts obscuring your path and fallen trees creating obstacles, bless them. This is part of your path, too, even if it just feels like a pain in the ass. Even if it just feels like pain.
Yes, winter is difficult, with a cold that bites and a darkness that dampens. But the plants make it through, and so can we. On the sunshine we’ve stored and trust in the turn of the seasons. We’ll get there, we’re getting there (and paradoxically, we are there). Winter, with all of her biterness, is an essential part of our path.
Don’t despair if you’re despairing, if you lack direction, if you’ve been really still and itching to move but not sure where to go or when. Don’t judge yourself for any process that is taking place—it is only life flowing through you. I repeat: there is life flowing through you!
Trust, breathe, and leap. The net will appear. It’s already there, inside of you. Spring is coming, but right now, winter is here. Bundle up and let her in.
With thanks to Ruby for teaching me about letting life flow, and great thanks for moon wisdom to Ari Moshe (sign up for his e-mail list to receive moon readings) and Meredith Murhpy. And thanks to all of my other teachers, of which there are many.