The winter season can bring with it a snow-like flurry of sadness or anxiety. As our lives become steeped in a thick foggy darkness, our clarity and perspective can often fall by the wayside.
And yet, there is wisdom in allowing ourselves to be drawn into the dark whilst also making the most of the breaks in the clouds.
This weekend, after a particularly gruelling week, I took myself and my winter worries out to a nearby forest. For the first time that week, I walked with the hardship that had enveloped my soul and aired out any pain. It was in strolling in those woods streaked with strips of strong sunlight, that my mind settled and I was able to recalibrate, to breathe, and to let go.
There was something about the wide paths amongst the trees that offered hope and a chance to embrace both darkness and light within. I realised that sometimes, when I am walking around in circles in my mind, it is better to find the straight lines outside. The open spaces that revolve around simplicity and calm. The sound of rustling leaves reminiscent of white noise gently coaxing the body and mind into rest. And the caring embrace of the elements urging me to remember, to remember, to remember.
I softened my back against a wide tree trunk and closed my eyes. To feel its silent support was to rediscover a true sense of calm and to imbibe the immensity and strength of its roots. It felt like the quickest, truest way to come back to myself; to restore wellbeing in the depth of my being and to dispel loneliness and exhaustion.
I looked around as leaves floated their way down to the ground and noticed that the forest is never still; that it moves at its rhythm and whispers messages that we are too busy to hear.
In the city we are always being told to slow down, to take it easy, to relax. And I often think I have a handle on it when I practise yoga or when I am doing “self-care.” And whilst there is a place for this in everyone’s busy life, it can sometimes feel like an extra to-do.
Meanwhile, in the thick of the forest, I realised that if I immerse myself fully in nature and revel in just being, there is no effort that I need to make. I simply need to absorb its fullness whilst refilling my own.
That is, to recalibrate the soul and come home.