A winter ritual for inwardness and restoration
As the winter season sets in, the cold and shorter days beckons us to cuddle up and close in. Yet this is not a time for doing ‘nothing’ but rather an opportunity for a change of focus from outward expression to inner reflection. Winter is an ancient call to care for our emotions and state. It is an opportunity to reflect on our experiences over the past summer, and in the reflection make choices of how we wish to express ourselves in the brightness of spring.
This effort can actually turn out to be quite hard work, but it can also be deeply satisfying. Here is a way to do just that with a special winter ritual. This is how it works:
Over the next 10 days take a few minutes each day to reflect on experiences that were tough over the summer. Don’t dwell too long on each one; rather write it on a piece of paper and leave it be. At the end of 10 days you should have a stack of 10 pages. Now set some time aside in your diary when you will be undisturbed – at least for an hour or two. For the next part of the process you will need more paper, pens, old magazines, and a large sheet of paper (a sheet of flip chart paper will be ideal), scissors and glue.
Look at each of the 10 pages, and for each one reflect on the experience, thinking of what lessons you could draw from each experience. You can also consider how you would rather have reacted and felt. For each one take a fresh page and jot down a few words that would describe this ideal. Give yourself a time limit of only one minute per experience.
When you are complete, the next step would be to hold all the pages in your hands and, just for a moment, feel a sense of gratitude for all the learning opportunities these experiences offered you. If you can safely make a little fire, you could then burn them – otherwise simply toss them away.
Now the fun part starts! Flip through all the magazines, looking for pictures or words that describe each of the ideal response that you described. Cut the pictures out and make a beautiful collage on the large piece of paper. Maybe you can even put on some music to establish the right mood.
This is a great way to spend a cold afternoon. You could also invite your friends to do the exercise with you, or maybe even your partner. When you have finished, take a photo and use it as a screen saver to remind you of the new choices you have made. This is a valuable winter reflection exercise that you could repeat a few times before the spring arrives.
If you come across some experiences that you would like to work through in more depth, you could chat with one of our professional councilors by calling our helpline to set up a free session with one of our skilled counsellors on 08002BWELL (0800229355)