Tuesday, 26 March 2013

When winter won't let go

So. The cold continues to bite. Two of my fingers keep turning numb and white. As if I’m turning to ice. Why? I ask them. But I know the answer – the cold is not just physical; it echoes through my emotional bones.  And it’s not just me.  It seems that, right now, so many of us are enduring the bone-cold, a spiritual ice winter.  

You can say it’s the lack of light, the absence of sun, the harsh economic climate – you can claim a gazillion reasons.  And we hustle around looking for solutions, for sticking plasters, for ways to push away the cold, to make it back off for a little.  We can dose ourselves with alcohol or food, we can cry Prozac, we can distract ourselves in a hundred different ways. Me? I fight the urge to swathe myself in blankets and dogs and huddle the fire – I make myself go out and exercise like a loon.

But then, I wonder. What do we lose when we seek to avoid?  Life is a process; a circle; a spiral. Yes, we can blitz ourselves with positive affirmations; we can go Zen and remind ourselves that it’s not really real, hence it doesn’t really matter but…  Is that missing something?  Is this process just a case of existing, of passing time in as pleasant a manner as possible?  Sometimes I think so.  But then thinking…can be overrated.  So what do I feel?

I go back to Alchemy. Calcination. Dissolution. Separation. Conjunction. Fermentation. Sublimation. Radiation. Seven steps. Circling. You reach the end and start all over again, just on a different coil of the serpent. And it’s not just you, or I – it’s us. “The human heart is the crucible of the cosmos.” I can’t remember who said that but it chimes – our inner lives are not our own; they belong to the cosmos.  If we want to change the world, we start with ourselves. 
Is the world served by squashing down bad feelings; by denying them; by refusing to countenance anything except light and bright as ‘good’?  I don’t feel so. If we push away the ‘bad’ it festers – not just in us but in the world around us.  It’s like foisting our dirty laundry on the world, leaving our smelly socks in the hallway.  Bad housekeeping.

The dark nights of the spirit and soul (yes, I feel they are two different things) are not mistakes, not aberrations, or so I feel – they’re not signs that we’re not good enough, not spiritual enough, or whatever.  They’re a vital part of the process.  Sometimes we have to be cut off from everything that gives us joy, everything that makes life seem worthwhile – every height has a corresponding depth. No?

So what do we do?  Nothing much. Abet the feelings, amplify them even – we so rarely listen to the messages written in the body.  Our bodies, our subconscious (the two in cohoots, or maybe the same?) are trying, I feel, to communicate with our conscious minds all the time. Yet we refuse to pay attention.  Sleep. Breathe. Daydream. Wonder where the body and mind wander. Try a secondary process (if you're primarily visual, turn your images into sounds; if you're a musician, maybe you need to move, to work with the somatic?).  But mainly...wait. 

Well, that’s what I do. Hmm.


Rob-bear said...

Oh dear! Sad to hear of your existential difficulties. I have them, too. I hear the speech of a kindred soul.

For the record, I made it though winter, and out of hibernation. (Yes, life is lighter and brighter here, across the pond.) Things are a bit at sixes and sevens, but I'm sure i'll be better hen I've had a decent meal. (And learned how to type and spell again.)

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Ross Mountney said...

Enjoyed your post - uplifting in challenging times! (I wear mitts as I write this!) x

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

Ooo. I had actual chills reading this (and NOT from this damned winter/spring thing). Your words perfectly summed up so many things going through my head as well. Now I'm off to share. More people need to see this.

MikeH said...

Beautiful post! I'm inside, staring out the windows, wondering if I should go out, or if I am cold enough already...

LeeAnn at Mrs Black's said...

Liked the poetic post. Hard to type wearing my gloves ... did smile thinking of you turning to ice, finger by finger by wrist by bone .... and each hair a shiny icecycle. Appeals to my dark side. You brave thing going out, but exercise does raise the energy levels of the body + soul.
Minerva ~

New Mum Online said...

As I read this I am ffffrrrreeeezing and have just turned the heating on.

Very poetic, meaningful and thought provoking post.

Thank you.

Liska xx

CAMILLA said...

Wonderful post Jane.!

Very interesting and beautifully thought provoking.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if the reason some of us find winter so hard (cold notwithstanding!) is that because we are so wrapped up, because we have to make an effort to go outside we lose the connections with our body and what it is telling us. We are disconnected from its voice. When summer comes and we are in looser clothing, when we can get outside without having to put on coats, gloves, boots and hats, but just wanter out at will, we regain that connection. The risk is that with every winter we lose a bit more of that connection so each summer the voice is a little quieter.