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Winter Dreams


The winter of 2010-11 will go down in history as one of the worst on record. Massive snowstorms blanketed the United States and Canada while Europe suffered through one of its coldest winters on record. We’re not quite out of the woods but weary Northerners are looking forward to Spring with particular fervor this year.

I grew up in California and have lived in Florida the past 13 years, so it can be truly said that I really don’t know what winter is. However, that can be balanced by my mom, who grew up in Winnipeg, one of the most frigid cities in North America, so much so that Canadians somewhat “affectionately” refer to the town as “Winterpeg.”

Because of the extent of Florida’s summer, I have dreams of wintertime. I yearn for cold weather and even snow. The holidays, the lights – they symbolize the kindest part of winter to me. It is the time when the Earth sleeps, recovering and restoring herself and preparing herself for renewal. It is a time to snuggle indoors…and to explore your own renewal.

In many ways, winter is a necessity for all of us. I’m not talking about the actual season, but the winter of our selves; the time in which we take stock, rest from the bustle of the day. In a sense, our own personal winter is a kind of Zen thing, relaxing without sleeping. We all need it – some of us call it “me time.”

We spend it doing various things. Blowing off steam, playing videogames, reading a book, exercising, watching TV, meditating – it doesn’t really matter. Its just time we spend by ourselves for ourselves. Recharging the batteries in whatever way we can.

It is also a time for self-assessment, for recounting the things we could have done differently. It is the time when we learn from our mistakes and hopefully try to figure out ways to go about things better in the future. However, most of us don’t really use our “me” time for this; we tend to wallow in our own self-immolation, bashing ourselves with hammers and putting on our hair shirts.

That really doesn’t help. It’s easy to wallow in self-pity and certainly easier than finding solutions to the things that we keep doing wrong. Thus we wind up in a kind of perpetual winter of the soul, never really moving forward and doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Self-examination is key to growth (and I’m not talking about the physical kind…minds out of the gutter please) and we do it so very rarely. It’s much easier on the psyche to blame circumstances and other people for our shortcomings rather than looking ourselves square in the eye and asking what are you going to do about it then.

I like to think I’m a fairly enlightened guy, but I know that I have a hard time escaping the circle jerk of “woe is me, I’m an awful person, I always mess up.” That may feel good at the time but eventually it leads you to exactly the same place with the same problems and as such is a complete waste of time. Self-pity parties, by definition, are without any sort of merit or use.

Winter is a time when all is white; it is a blank slate, ready to rewrite to your heart’s content but we rarely do. We prefer the palate we know, the colors already established, faded though they may be. Yet every soul benefits from renewal. Every individual person needs to grow in order to thrive and survive. It’s the difficult things in life that make us stronger, better and yet we shirk from them so much. We opt for the easier path and then we wonder why we find life so hard, why we make the same mistakes again and again.

Winter is cold but winter always precedes spring. We endure winter and are made tougher so that when kind spring comes, we are ready to thrive. So too is our own personal winters and springs. Winters of our discontent are made spring by our own willingness to stare at ourselves in the mirror without blinking. Without that ability, we stagnate. We become victims of our own inadequacies, doomed to repeat the same behavior ad infinitum. It’s not easy to face ourselves in the dark winter of our souls, but face ourselves we must…whether we choose to do anything about it is entirely up to us.

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3 Responses

  1. I shall wait in anticipation for your ‘words’ of widom when Spring unfold…..ty for your blogs

  2. I shall wait in ‘anticipation’ for your words of wise for the unfolding of Spring….my favorite season. ty for your blogs….as they cheer me .

  3. As well as a beautiful picture you gave s a beautifully written, I can’t say blog, it’s such an ugly word, o.k. essay

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