Winter: Outside the Busy-Work and Rushing-ness

     Living as I do, on the edge of the beautiful and vast Gatineau Park in Western Quebec, the weather is not something I can ignore. Each season reminds me of the ever-moving cycle which is present in all aspects of the Living Layer of Mother Planet.
     The first serious snowfall arrived here this week: clear notice that the cycle is progressing.  It is simplistic, though, to suggest that the coming months are made entirely of snow and storms. There may be extremes: we live where ice storms and high winds periodically sweep the landscape, yet a northern winter is much more than severe weather.  13th-century Persian poet Rumi, wrote that ‘it is rain that grows flowers, not thunder’ and in winter it is not the storming blizzards of January which characterise the season.  Quiet, cold, unremarkable days underlie the steady transition – the deep and imperceptible changes that move the winter forward.
     In the seeming quiet of the season, the trees stand naked and skeletal. It is easy to imagine that they are dead or at the very least unconscious. Society is so characterized by movement and change that the quiet motionlessness of the forest appears lifeless.
     In spring the trees will reassert life, and in our desire to believe in action as the only expression of life, we will forget about this stillness.
     Inactivity, however, is not somehow opposite to thriving life: this is simply a time when the Life Force is internalized. The trees, the plants, the root-balls are consolidating their ever-present powers. They are nurturing the smallest, constant expressions of Life within, and keeping safe that very real treasure. As we rush by, we see inaction and label it lifeless.
     Winter, understood, teaches us that there is no death. The leaves that have ‘died’ and fallen are providing insulation for the roots. When the season is correct they will release to the soil their energy and wisdom and knowledge and nutrients.  The tree, which has been their expression of life, will benefit from this return, and build a new, wiser expression as the future arrives.
     The busy-ness of human life is akin to the tree’s budding and leafing and flowering and fruiting months.  In winter, trees do not stop. They enjoy a simple shift into quiet focus, renewing connexion with that which is most deep. There is a chance to sit and be with what is present now; changed and grown in a year of expansion. New branches have emerged; older branches have reached further. The structure of the Self has been altered by the presence of other lives: of nests and hatchlings and larvae and travelling things. In the quiet meditation of the cold, the tree can consider how each of these changes will create a new different spring.
     Turning thoughts inward allows appreciation, sees the benefits of that which is most valuable, develops awareness of the Life Force, which is ever-present, protected and guarded, preparing for the next development.
     The weeks between now and the end of the year are busy for many. The rush, and the perceived need for rush, mean there is little room for contemplation or quiet practice. There is, however, time to plan a few hours or days later this winter, when calm and reflection are the intention of the day.
     As choice-making entities, we can move from life in speeding-stress to a more tranquil life by making a simple decision. We choose or not, according to our beliefs of what is possible; of what matters; of what we deserve. We might choose to carpool, or to eat locally, or to strengthen our bodies. When the decision is made, then we join our driver on time, we meet with the farmer, we attend the gym.
     When we make the decision to connect with the Life Force within, we locate our attachment to Divinity and Eternity. When we access the depths of our centre and our heart, we can locate our purpose beyond physical consumption and creation.
     Under the ground in the forest, the tree-roots are intertwined in a state of communal support. Here in the human community, most of us have been taught the lie of separation. No one is born into a box. We come to a family; a village; a community. Human life is a group activity. Our experience of each other is designed to promote Soul Growth, and we cannot do it alone.
     Life is about growing and cooperation: about providing for each other an environment of love and support ; about the gratitude that fuels all goodness and inspiration; and about celebrating the people and the loves that appear out of nowhere and connect us to the wisdom of our souls.

     Special thanks to the Dear Beautiful Soul who suggested this topic. <3   
     Jo Leath has been supporting clients through change and growth since the 1980s.
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