Walk in Winter

Most days, when I take my Morning Walk Delight, I send out the following question to whomever it is that does the listening, “what message do you have for me today?” Most times, she answers me in ways that make me not only feel comforted and heard, but sometimes laughing at the transparency of it all.

I have felt stalled out on a threshold of “what’s next” for a while now…like it is there, I sense it, but it is like veiled behind a gauzy curtain and surrounded by a lot of activity, noise and heaviness. I am gaining clarity and patience and always turn to Nature for her wisdom.

No matter what season of life you may find yourself in, Mother Nature holds some answers, peace, perspective – if you are open to hearing it.

Yesterday, this is what I received, and I suspect for many of you, it may resonate.

In Raleigh, we have experienced below freezing temperatures and strong winds for days. While many tend to hibernate at this time, this is my favorite times to go for walks, when the weather is “bad.”

And here is what she shared…

Branches and Bramble sometimes need to fall. The winds have been excessively strong, coming in from all directions for days. We lost power for a few hours when a large tree was blown out of the soil and hit our power lines. There were branches, twigs, pinecones, death stars and debris all over our front yard and the neighborhood. Nature whispered this was not “a mess to be cleaned up,” but asked me to marvel at the number of dead twigs and branches that our super tall beautiful strong trees had held onto until the wind and storms were just too much, and they had to just let them go. The trees even appeared to stand a little taller minus the dead weight.

Vulnerability requires strength. As I walked further, I marveled at how I never view the bare trees or trees that are holding onto their dead leaves as “ugly” or worse, not notice them at all. I noticed some of our trees are just not ready to part with their dead leaves. Despite the heavy winds and storms, they continue to hold their dried-out leaves. These enormous trees stand before me in their season of darkness and cold, vulnerable, exposed, bare, stripped to their skeleton. The taller the tree, the more she bends in the winds…a huge sway as not to crack…this wisdom only coming with years of growth and weathering many storms. The trees shed their splendor allowing us to see their essence – they allow us to see their insides. They stand tall, quiet, resting for next season, releasing, when they are ready, what no longer serves, or they are ready to release.

Noise will always surround us. In what feels like a very loud world and home, I crave more than ever solitude and quietness. I go to the outdoors and my daily walk for this peace, time to be – quiet, solitude. But what she showed me yesterday was it wasn’t quiet. It rarely is. I was aware of a chain saw, a loud exhaust on a truck, a dog barking, our resident heron squawking, fire engines in the distant, the hum of the freeway unbuffered by the loss of tree canopy during winter, a garbage truck, chatty neighbors…. yet, nature exists in a quiet stillness in the midst of the loudness. I too, could choose quiet in chaos, right?

As I reflected on her messages, I also thought of some activities that may support us as we move through the winter season, literally or metaphorically.  If called, here are some activities to consider as we hang out in that week between…between the holidays and end of year and all the new year may hold.

  1. Take a walk alone outside, without any technology and just listen and look around. What narratives or perspectives are you carrying that are due for a fresh/new perspective? What messages does she hold just for you, right now?
  2. Go outside and pick an area in your yard/balcony/shared community that is now asleep for winter and clean it out! Maybe it is your garden or flower pots on your front step? Put your hands in the cold soil, pull out the dead plants, flowers. Clean out the areas to make way for the new growth that will certainly show up this spring. Clean out the old for the new.
  3. Declutter! Consider donating, throwing away any holiday decorations that either never were put up this year or don’t bring you joy. Before making room for new items, consider releasing some items first.
  4. Turn off your phone for 24 hours. I promise, if it’s important, they will find you.
  5. Clean out your email inbox.
  6. Organize and move your photos from 2022 to make room for what is ahead!
  7. Dump your leftovers, clean out that fridge!
  8. Consider new NYE traditions that will serve your soul best! That may mean staying home, alone!
  9. Set up a new 2023 Calendar.
  10. Purchase and begin practicing the habit of daily journaling.
  11. Take some time to sketch out your 2023. As Nature demonstrates, storms may come and disrupt your plans, but we can still have a rough draft our what we would like to happen next year.
  12. Instead of New Years Resolutions, which many times feel “restrictive” to me, consider a “More of” List…what do you want more of in 2023? More time with friends? More time outside? More time moving your body? More time with your lover? More time at home? More time doing work that fuels your being? More of what…focus on that….I desire more of…feels more abundant to me.
  13. Write a letter to 2022 reflecting on all the things that have shaped your year…then, write a letter to 2023 expressing our hopes and wishes for 2023.
  14. Leave your tree, holiday decor or twinkle lights up as long as you need…
  15. Go outside at night. Light a candle and sit in the darkness. When ready, blow the candle out, give thanks and go to bed in silence.