It’s January 19th, 2019.
Almost 20 days into the new year already.
I’m writing this post as I watch the snow fall out my sliding glass door and into the serenity of the countryside behind my house.
A distinct silence radiates from the faint shadows behind the pine trees.
A silence that can only be observed this time of the year, and by those who stop to notice it.
I’m at ease, and my mind, for a change, is calm and present.
And as the snow continues falling, the quiet stillness intensifies.
They are saying we’re due for somewhere between 18 and 24 inches by tomorrow evening, along with bone-chilling cold temps.
Christmas and New Year’s have come and passed, and we are now in the dead of the Winter season.
Many of us conflicted about New Year’s resolutions by now, too. Do we stick with them? Do we change our plans? Is it too much work to keep going?
And for many of us, this is a difficult time of year to feel happy and at peace after the fanfare and commotion that comes with the Holidays.
I’ve never really been one about the New Year’s resolutions hype, but I did just get back to the gym this week. Although I’m sore, it feels good to be active again.
However, I can certainly empathize with those who may be feeling down with the Winter Blues. Those who know me know that Winter is my least favorite season. No boat, no sun, no lake….you get the picture.
But I’ve thought of the Winter season as not necessarily a time for renewal or rebirth, nor as a time to mope around because it isn’t Summer, but as a time for rest and quiet reflection. And in a world that now seemingly can’t sit still for more than a few seconds, I believe making the time and finding the time to rest and reflect is paramount for our well-being.
We were not designed for the constant stimulation and constant on-the-go lifestyles we currently live. You can see this in all the tired faces you pass in your car on your way to work every morning. If you haven’t seen so for yourself, I would urge you to take notice. If for no other reason than to see just how numb we’ve become to our surroundings.
Even the constant noise in our own heads like debating whether or not our New Year’s resolutions are worth the effort is too much. No progress is made in this debate, and we only get lost in our thoughts never to take any action. The self-doubt rabbit hole is no good place to be in. And our indecisiveness becomes paralyzing.
But is it any wonder that we are constantly at odd’s with our goals? With our thoughts? A large part of our own indecision is triggered by our over-stimulated lives, and in turn, our over-stimulated minds. We don’t take the time to “unplug” and let our minds, or bodies, be at ease with just being. We default to distractions the moment a thought of our own becomes too much to process, hoping the distraction will make that thought go away.
We don’t listen to ourselves because we don’t know how to. We can’t possibly imagine putting our phones away for half the day as I’ve done today, which I’ve done in part so I could focus on writing this piece, but the point is still the same: We can’t bear to be silent.
Our constant need to be stimulated ALL THE TIME is ruining our inner peace. It is keeping us from being at one with our thoughts, and ultimately ourselves. But there is no better time to be with our thoughts than during the Winter, when things are quiet, and the hustle-bustle of everyday life is, generally, a bit slower.
Commitments for the warm, sunny months ahead may just be starting to pile up, but there are still several months before we’re there. We have the time now to write in our journal. Start the blog we wanted to publish. Or just be still with a cup of hot coffee as we watch our kids build their first snowman or make their first snow angels.
We have the time now to rest. To take that afternoon snooze after a walk with the dog. To awake refreshed and start the indoor home project we’ve been putting off. We have the time to get off Facebook and read the books we want to read. We have the time to create the vision we see for our future, and begin making the plans to make it our reality.
We have the time to embrace the stillness outside. To cozy up with our kids around the fire and tell the stories of our own childhood winters to them, from our own experiences with snowball fights and snow mountain forts. To reflect on the events of the year or years’ past and take courage in knowing that good things lie ahead, independent of yesterday’s circumstances.
And yet, we don’t do these things. We revert to distractions and excuses. But while I can’t make everyone see exactly my point of view with this, or incompetently believe that everyone who reads this will, I can certainly provide the encouragement that your quality of life can be better. And it begins with slowing things down. Taking stock of where you are now, and where you want to go, or where you want to be. Take advantage that the Silence of the Winter provides. But first, stop to take notice of it. Then, reset your sails. Rest easy as the days from here get longer. Rejoice in the moments that make life joyful, independent of the season, and carry with you the confidence that you can live a more meaningful life without constant stimulation. Many opportunities have passed us by because we’ve been so desensitized to all that’s around us. It doesn’t have to be that way from this moment forward. You can choose to overcome the constant hustle, defeat the demons that keep you over-stimulated, and let the sense of the quietness guide your way.
Now the night on this winter day is making its way in. And in my own quest to quiet the life around me, it’s time to go practice the piano for a bit. Then enjoy a Crown on the rocks as I continue reading A Master’s Secret Whispers by the fireside.
Hope you all have a great night.