Embracing Your Personal Winter
I used to hate the cold. Like, seriously HATE it.
So much so that in my twenties, I never bought any jumpers or thick socks, much to my friends amusement. My wardrobe was in denial of the winter.
Maybe you’re like me, and you’re all about summer — the blazing hot days where you can walk around freely without a coat, the warm glow of the sun nourishing your bones. On holiday, I was always the first person out sunbathing, desperate for my skin to turn a coveted shade of brown.
I used to believe the experience of summer was inherently positive, and going through winter was negative. Yucky, cold, dull and boring weather.
Until I read the book Wintering.
The gifts of the cold
Maybe you have embraced the cold recently in your life, Wim Hof style. Perhaps you’ve experimented with cold showers, or decided to go wild swimming in the subzero temperatures of a winter lake.
Wintering tells a story about how we can be plunged into psychological coldness, too.
Perhaps we lose a job or a loved one, perhaps we have an accident or illness. We were once flourishing; now we have shrunken, our souls retreating into themselves.
Just like a tree, our lush green leaves — our vibrancy and character, are nowhere to be seen.
Maybe you fall into depression, or mild anxiety. Maybe you just feel like isolating yourself, and withdrawing from the world. This is a season that everyone goes through in their life; but most go through it reluctantly. However, there is immense opportunity for the cold to transform us.
What does this psychological winter do? It freezes out almost everything. The leaves that fall are like the components of our life, sometimes gone in the blink of an eye.
Life is stripped back to the bare bones, like the bare stalk of a tree in winter. Those leaves the tree once birthed are gone — perhaps, as Katherine May writes, to make way for something new.
“Wintering is about my love of winter and my affection for the cold and even the dark, that…