Time to count blessings
The calm, still beauty of the winter months offers quiet downtime for personal reflection and healing meditation - time to reassess and count the blessings in our lives.
The air outside is cold; the earth lies dormant; and we snuggle warm and protected inside our homes. The calm, still beauty of the winter months offers quiet downtime for personal reflection and healing meditation— time to reassess and count the blessings in our lives.
“O Winter! ... I crown thee king of intimate delights, fireside enjoyments, [and] home-born happiness" —William Cowper (1731-1800)
The winter season is the perfect time to explore within and take a closer look at our personal choices. From inside the warm cocoon of our homes we have an opportunity to appreciate the good things in our lives and to think about the future. Like gardeners poring over design books and seed catalogues, winter is a time to plan the coming year and plant the seeds of future goals for the spring.
“One of the themes most strongly associated with winter … across the world is the re-emergence of light out of darkness, bringing renewal of life and the promise of a successful future,” writes Jennifer Cole in Ceremonies of the Seasons (Duncan Baird, 2007).
The joy of being alone
Winter is a time of meditation and contemplation. Sitting alone and quietly questioning the symbolic meaning of winter is a wonderful opportunity to create positive change in your life. A quiet interlude on a winter’s afternoon can create time for reflection on the next steps in life (see below).
The joy of being together
Winter is also a time to share with others. Daylight hours are very short, making it a special time to find ways to bring light into our homes. Long winter evenings are a great time to sit around the fireplace with family and friends, and contemplate the love of those sitting with us. These are perfect times to share stories together, eat together, and relax together, as are the sacred holy days (holidays).
Winter brings times of meaningful celebration for many cultures and religions. During Hanukkah loved ones meet to light candles on the menorah and sing. Christmas finds family and friends gathered to share gifts and memories. Celebrants of both festivals enjoy time indoors eating, drinking, and conversing.
Every season has its purpose, and the winter season is a time of sharing made richer by time spent alone in contemplation, restoration, and the anticipation of rebirth in the spring. When we take action to bring joy into our lives, we begin to feel internally the blessings of our lives.
A winter interlude
A great way to find time to count your blessings is to go out for a long, quiet walk in a park. Warm winter clothing will make the walk much more pleasurable. Invest in a quality winter jacket and snow or rain pants, weatherproof boots, warm gloves, and an insulated hat.
It is wonderful to walk on a sunny day, and bask in the sunlight that is desperately needed in the winter months. If you’re dressed for the weather, even snowy or rainy days won’t keep you inside battling cabin fever.
After a long walk, it’s such a great feeling to come indoors and feel the warmth of home. This is a perfect time to make a hot cup of tea or coffee, and look out the window at the beauty of the winter landscape.
Take time to meditate on what you are feeling at this particular moment. Visualize the whiteness of the snow or the purifying rain penetrating your body and cleansing you in order to take the next steps in your life.
Take a long, hot bath to warm up after being outdoors. The awareness that the hot water is a blessing in our lives helps create mindful recognition of other blessings such as heating in our homes and walls that protect us against the winter storms outside.
Getting into a warm, cozy bed after the day is done is a fantastic finale to a wonderful winter day. Take time to read a book or magazine and slowly doze off to sleep.
More ways to find joy