Giving Permission for Hibernation

Winter is a natural time of going inward, and my body has been feeling that pull this winter. 

Honoring the season and my desire to retreat does not come with ease. The pattern of engaging is strong in me. The pattern of saying yes to all the things and of shoulding on myself. I should meet that friend. I should say yes to writing that piece. I should go to that action.

There is a lot of ego wrapped up in my shoulds. I should because it is important for me to be out there, to speak and show up. This is true, and it is also true there is a need (for me) to slow down, integrate, evaluate and reassess how I am living my life and doing my work. As one of my mentors recently shared with me this inward reflective and refining time is necessary to keep doing effective work in the world, and potentially to be even more effective. 

There is a push/pull of permission to take more time for solitude while also questioning the validity of it. Am I depressed? Is something wrong? Am I sick? The questioning even goes into my core identity. Who am I if I slow down? Who am I if I am spacious instead of packed, rushed and constantly on the go?

When I drop all the shoulds and all the questions I am loving this time. I have told friends I am taking first quarter off of being social. I have said no to things I did not think I could say no to. I am watching more movies, spending more time cuddling with the dog, cooking and preparing food and just moving much slower. It is spacious and glorious.

As soon as I allow myself to enjoy the quiet, beautiful moment the questions and shoulds return. How long is this going to last? Should I push myself past this to go do something?  What if winter ends and I still don’t want to engage? The teeter totter keeps moving back and forth between full enjoyment and ease to contraction and what if stories. 

The first word of the Yoga Sutras is Atta. Atta translates to now. When I am in the now I am loving this precious quieter time. When I leave the now to wondering about the future (how long will this last?) or leave myself wondering about others (what will this person think of me if I say no?) I leave atta. When I can trust the now I believe it will guide me to the next right thing. When I have to understand or micromanage the now suffering arises. It can feel vulnerable to surrender to the now because it is a surrendering into what is, not what I think should be.

Love from my winter cave,