As a Southern California kid, the perpetual spring weather I grew up with as my only frame of reference did not prepare me for the bitter truth of Indy’s shifting seasons and temperatures. Especially winter.
That’s right, winter… I’m calling you out.
The chilliness and isolation is no joke, mamas.
I spent the first few winters here with bitterness and hostility that I couldn’t just go outside without a good enough reason and way too many layers of clothing. I was scared to drive my kids anywhere on the icy roads, and I felt irritated that the only places to go (if my cabin fever trumped the freezing cold) were stores and soulless indoor locations, when all I really wanted was the nourishment of my feet on the grassy earth in the warm sunshine.
My moods were all over the place and I suffered as a mama because of my resistance and restlessness to be somewhere that I just wasn’t.
I didn’t want California, because Indy mostly rocks.
I just wanted to be in another season, like, immediately.
So I responded by fighting hard and putting pressure on myself to be just as active and not slowed down by the weather. When I did get pulled under by the gray sky and freezing temperatures, I felt lazy and crappy about myself because all I wanted to do was chill on the couch with my babies.
I was just dead set on fighting with the natural slow-down that winter brings.
But I truly believe we are always where we are meant to be in life, and wherever we are, we must have something to learn.
So this year, instead of choosing dread as my response for the upcoming winter, I chose to “steer into the skid”, so to speak, and to hear Mother Nature out on this whole winter thing.
Because it turns out, being victimized by the weather (or anything, really) gets old real quick.
I got on board with the idea that I was actually going to have to wear socks and shoes if I wanted to go outside. I decided that I was going to have to either be okay with the amount of TV we were watching and stop guilting myself over it, or do the work to find other activities to entertain us.
Yeah…I mostly chose TV.
I did creative things to feed my restlessness for nature, like painting murals of swirly trees and cloudy blue skies on my younger daughter’s bedroom walls, finishing a knitted scarf that I had started and stopped two years ago, cooking something new, writing, meditating.
I did all of these things imperfectly but I did them and it felt good.
When I was craving intellectual nourishment but not wanting to reach out and socialize, I listened to free audiobooks from the library. I also rented piles of books that called to me… most of them went unread but there were a few helpful gems among them that transported me elsewhere and made me forget about being cooped up.
Then I had coffee with new soul-sisters and held creative healing circles with girlfriends when my need for sisterhood and connection got real.
When I really had ants in my pants and had to get outside and see something beautiful, I sucked it up and bundled us up to play in the snow. Or, I grabbed some fresh coffee, packed up the baby and took a scenic drive through Southeastway park, my Southside power place that feels like wild magic to me.
And I noticed that the trees, with their naked branches exposed to the elements, seeming deep in slumber, looked how I felt.
Quiet, thoughtful. Hushed, but alive.
Most of my winter journey this year has been internal, and I’ve experienced so much nourishment, joy, clarity and acceptance in the process of letting go and just being where I am.
I think that is the blessing and the gift of winter.
It is an excuse, a reason, to go within.
To listen to, honor and roll with yourself for a change, and wake up your creativity and fiery vision against the icy white backdrop.
When I was fighting so hard against this, I missed out on the very real healing qualities of this aspect of the seasonal cycle. I missed out on getting to know myself as not just a wife or a mother but as me, in my raw authenticity, getting through this time of chilly stillness in a way that felt right in my soul.
Now, I feel legit gratitude for this clarity and connection to myself as a cyclical being, intrinsically linked to the bigger forces at play in nature.
I understand myself better and appreciate what winter actually means for the spirit.
It’s a necessary time that challenges you to actually seek out your inner fire. Your light.
And this shift in perspective and willingness to surrender has helped me so much as a mama through this winter, just to be okay with slowing down, listening and being in the moment.
Because that’s what winter demands.
Before I know it, the cold will pass and the beauty of spring will begin to emerge, and I will be so much more grateful for everything blooming back to life.