Winter is the season for rest and reflection. A time for finding safety and creativity in the bare energy of life.
So often we feel a dissatisfaction in our life, but we don’t know what to do about it. It can be too easy to focus on the things we don’t like about our life, about the things that make us unhappy or even miserable. Maybe we know exactly what it is we hate about our life – a job, a relationship, where we live…or maybe we just have a nagging sense of discomfort.
So where do we focus our energy? Do we focus on the negative, or do we find a way to make things better? Maybe we feel trapped and can’t see a way out. I know I felt trapped as a single mom. Working two jobs, two young children in school and day care. I was in survival mode and it took every ounce of energy to make it through each day and week.
This is where having a dream, a vision, is so important. Even though I couldn’t see a way out of my situation, I still took time to imagine how I wanted my life to be. I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted for myself and my family. And I was really connected to that vision, emotionally and physically. I refused to give in to despair. I refused to give up my vision. I kept re-visiting it, writing it down, imagining it in detail. And eventually, everything fell into place and the vision became reality.
I believe we get what we put out. If we are always focused on the negative, then we will get more negative in our life. If we are primarily focused on the positive, then we will overcome our obstacles and receive more good in our life. Some might say this is Pollyanna and naïve. Maybe. Of course terrible things happen to good people for no good reason. And things happen that we have no control over. We can’t change what happens to us, but we can change how we respond and what we choose to focus on. I think this is how people survive great tragedy.
I wouldn’t say I have had any great tragedies in my life. I have had ups and downs, joys and losses. I wish I hadn’t lost my parents in my thirties, there is still so much I could ask them. I wish my children knew their grandparents. I wish my mom and dad were here to share this journey and to meet the wonderful man who is my husband.
I wish I had stayed closer to my brother Tim. I wish I had known how serious his despair and depression was, and that I could have offered him some hope and avoided his suicide.
I wish my children never had to experience divorce. Divorce is not something that happened years ago, it is still happening today, as they struggle to divide their time and energy and love between two households.
But these are not the things I focus on. I choose to focus on the wonderful moments available to me now. And I continue to dream of a beautiful future. I don’t want to passively allow my life to carry me forward. I want to consciously create my life. And I want my children to know they can create a life based on their true values.
And so as I move into the cold dark months of winter, I am evaluating my life. I am taking the past vision which has become my new reality, and adding another layer. But before I can paint a new picture, I am questioning everything.
What are my values, and are they truly my values, or were they created outside of me, by my culture?
What are my priorities?
What would I do if I knew I could not fail?
What are my limitations?
What more can I learn?
What obstacles exist?
What strengths do I have to overcome these obstacles?
What are my strategies for making this dream come true?
Winter is the time for introspection, for thinking and dreaming and planning. Winter season is an opportunity to get in touch with your life’s dreams, to embrace and enjoy all that you have cultivated.
With the spring equinox, our energies will rise, the days will lengthen, and we will be ready to begin again.
Do you have a vision for your life? What do you hope for this coming year?