I took a late afternoon walk the other day after spending all morning and most of the afternoon in the warmth of my home. The temperature outside was thirty degrees and there were no other folks outdoors in the fields I walked. The wild Canada geese were again flying while the sun was setting and my mind was as clear as the sky. I found a place to sit and meditated quietly in a receptive mode by a small lake. I too love January. There’s a joyful companion presence in these winter days, in the quiet thin places I’m drawn to that help me calm and center, see and hear in different ways.
I’ve lived all my life in the winter weather of Michigan, Wisconsin and Colorado so my experience of January has been skewed by the cold, snow, cloudy and sunny days. I learned to love it all as well as the warmth of the hearth, the smell of home cooked food and the company of family and friends. I’ve felt the sting of the cold, the glow of the fire and the thrill of sleds, toboggans, skates and skis as well as the contemplative moments of ice fishing and scuba diving under ice. The endings and beginnings that take place in the days of January are slow and deliberate, short and long, silent and contemplative.
In these winter environments, life doesn’t move as fast as in warm climates. One has to give attention to the weather, the snow and ice; to the storms that blow across the lakes, plains and mountains. Shovels, blankets and sundry other items are stored in the trunks of cars and the beds of trucks. Books, candles and flashlights are close at hand as well as other necessities in case of power outages. Preparation and recovery from the outer storms subtly point to the inner storms that blow in, around and through us all. Winter then is a lingering season for clarity, silence, simplicity and fresh starts.
January Joy reminds me of pregnancy. We don’t know the fullness of what’s birthing within, but we know it’s something special and new. As we’re able to let this season of soul direct us rather than directing it, everything changes. Joy comes in surrendering to the unknown, to the cold, the snow, the cloudy and sunny days. Joy comes when we realize that we can give birth to something new and wonderful as we calmly allow ourselves to imagine the possibilities. Surrendering to the moments, listening to the falling snow, the crackle of the fireplace, the silence within gently calls us Home.
- Wherever you are on your journey, ponder the storms that are blowing in, around and through you during this January day. Allow yourself the gift of a slow walk somewhere that’s safe and peaceful. Notice how you’re being directed by your fears, your past. Now look forward, into a future that brings you love, joy, peace: and Follow it. . . .
- Contemplate the beauty that’s in, around and flowing through you wherever you are. Own this beauty, this wonder, this clarity and move toward it every moment from here on. Recognize the gift of this season that’s stirring your soul and how it’s calling you to move beyond your past, into your future. Gather these golden moments and journey on to a forward looking path that leads you further and further into new beginnings.