The days around New Year feel a little uneasy. Restless. Caught between the old year and the new, not really off, not really working. It’s like floating and endlessly shifting. It’s a little uncomfortable too.
I am longing for more time by the fire, reading, writing, slow walks in the woods. The winter is in my body, comfort still in hibernation mode. And although I hear the call of a brand new year, it is distant and my body hesitant. The truth is I’m not ready to fully emerge. Not ready for full blown resolutions, plans or changes. My body claims it’s time to rest and so I let her. It is still winter after all, a time to dream.
The more we rest in Winter the more harvest we can expect in Late Summer.
Culturally, we value activity and do-ing. In Shiatsu this is Yang energy, the buzzing energy of the Summer. Winter is the most yin of our seasons, the time of year to slow down and balance the activity of a full year by simply being for a while. Just as we
should balance a busy day with a good night’s sleep. Winter is our annual time to rest.
For many of us though the lead up to Christmas and the holidays themselves are so busy we have yet to start the slowing down by the time the new year arrives. And that’s okay. It’s winter after all, still time to dream.
Looking at nature this becomes more obvious. With shorter days and longer nights nature retreats, plants slow their growth, shed their leaves to cover up. Animals move inwards and hibernate. They do not return until spring in February. And neither did our anchestors. With harvesting done and less daylight available, they moved indoors, caught up on sleep, nourished body and mind with warm hearty foods, the comfort of community and reflection of the year just past. Activity only resumed with the first rays of a firier sun come spring.
What about those New Year’s Resolutions then? The ancient Babylonians are said to be the first to have made resolutions as part of their new years celebrations some 4000 years ago. Their year, not surprisingly, started with planting out crops, mid-March.
Resolve to dream this January, I say. The better we rest in winter, the more we can expect in autumn. Now is the time to be gentle with ourselves, recover and cultivate our yin energy. Just as nature rests its soil we’re resting out bodies. This doesn’t mean we stop doing. It is an invitation for doing less and doing it mindfully. It’s a time to doodle, to dream, journal, to listen inwards and let our heart’s longing slowly emerge from within.
It’s time to dream our world awake.