“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
During autumn, the highway landscape between my city and the next town was ablaze with the red, orange, and yellow fall leaves. Each time I drove this route through the mountains, the beauty took my breath away, but last week I drove it again, and the utter bleakness of those same trees stripped of all color startled me. The contrast was shocking despite the fact I had bagged too many leaves falling from my own trees and was certainly not unaware of what was happening.
Winter Is a Introspective Time
Some people may be inspired by the sparseness of winter, but not me. Without nature’s colors or flowers inspiring me, I just want to go inside, and when I’m depressed by the bleakness, I visit my imagination for something more interesting. Winter becomes a time to weigh things, to sort out ideas that are not beneficial and let them go. It’s a good time to write because I’m not distracted by what is going on outside and it is a good time to just be, dreaming by the fire.
In the midst of winter
We dream rose dreams.
The fragrance of flowers
Fills the inner landscape
Until we awake in the deep night.
Tulips, Dogwood and Jasmine
Invade the moment
Between sleeping and waking
And we long to wake in spring
And bloom like the flowers
In the garden
We will surely plant.
The fact is—I plant gardens in the winter—inside my own head. I conjure up new ideas for classes, write poetry and essays, and have long stimulating talks with friends over cups of hot coffee. With fewer distractions, I can commit to tasks that I’ve been avoiding. Winter can be a most productive time.
Fear May Prevent Us From Looking Deep Inside
Andrew Wyeth says, “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.” Perhaps it is the fear of what lies beneath our surface that makes us dread winter. Confined inside by the cold, we cannot escape as easily those parts of ourselves we’d like to avoid—the ways we have disappointed others or failed to live up to the commitments we’ve made. It is an excellent time to examine what we need to change and what is not working in our lives.
Over the last two years when I was completing my book Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I ignored a number of things about my house that needed to be done. I committed to completing the book above all else. However, the rainy season was more intense than usual and mildew developed in closets and other places in the house. Distracted during the spring and summer with many lovely distractions, I’ve promised myself I will clean this up this winter. In fact, there are several “spring cleaning” kinds of tasks that I prefer to do in the winter.
We Must Look Inside to See Who We Really Are
But these are superficial things. It is the deeper aspects of our nature that we may find more difficult to face. How can we repair the damage we have done to friendships or family? How do we escape from a long term relationship that is abusive? How do we find more confidence in our own abilities to make changes in the way we live? While we may need help to solve these problems, we must begin by going inside and asking, “Who am I?” and “Who do I want to be?”
We Must Envision the Changes We Desire
We need to envision what we want in detail in the quiet of our own minds, stilled by meditation or prayer, opening ourselves to dream of how we want our lives to be and then be willing to search for the answers. Only when we are clear about what we want will we be able to develop a plan to create the life we desire. With this clarity, we will be able to take the first step.
Winter dreams may take many forms. We may dream pleasant fantasies about the coming of spring, the birth of a child or new relationship, or a more fulfilling job. But hopefully, like Albert Camus, we will be able to create an “invincible summer” within us, a hope and positive way to look at life even when everything is falling apart or frozen. That “invincible summer,” a belief in ourselves, may help us believe we can make our winter dreams come true.
What are your winter dreams this year? Please comment.
© 2013 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5
Related Articles: Finding an Invincible Summer, When Your Dreams Change, Let Your Values Guide You, Introspection Overload: The Value of Journaling, Neuroscientific Support for the Value of Introspection