Thursday, February 8, 2024

Blessings of Winter Mindfulness


By: Donna Bucher

The seasons of the year are not so unlike the cycles of life. Spring, summer, autumn and winter each portray for us seasons of life we traverse. Spring often evokes a feeling of new beginnings, summer regales the fullness of doing, autumn entreats feelings of “being”, savoring the bounty of good labors.

While winter with its stillness, beckons us to rest and reflection. Embracing this time of rest and reflection, blesses me with the blessings of winter mindfulness.

The seasons never exhaust their treasures, and for those with an open heart, those treasures forever abide new.

For instance, in my post, “The Treasures of the Snow”, I mention the nobility and beauty of winter, the stillness fostering renewal. Winter offers times of deep discovery, rest, reflection, and the preservation of physical energy.

Think of it as your body, mind and spirit “reset” button. Furnishing times of introspection and outward review, winter leads us to appraise our past accomplishments, our present posture, and our desires for the future months.

Winter knows to hush, still, listen, so the soul can speak.

Angie Weiland Crosby

Despite day-to-day variations in our experiences of winter, the following exercise for exploring the blessings of winter mindfulness offers possibilities for creativity, spiritual reflection, personal introspection, stillness, release and renewal.

A hopeless introvert, this resonates with me, but even entrenched extroverts benefit from exploring mindfulness in winter.

The Preacher reminds us in the timeless wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Soothing Gratitude Mindfulness

You doubtlessly know the many benefits of practicing gratitude on a regular basis. But how many of us practice gratitude mindfully? We quickly jot down gifts on a gratitude list, but do we linger over them?

For this practice, the goal is not to list as many things as you can for which you are grateful; the purpose is to relish, linger and extract all the intended joy from each item.

  • Choose one, or no more than three items for which you are grateful. List them and then linger and reflect the reason for your gratitude. List every nuance, every instance, every facet of the item that elicits gratitude.
  • Do the same exercise above, only choose one, or no more than three winter related items for which you are grateful.
  • While spending time outside on a winter day, notice the feel of the cold air on your face, the feel of the cold air in your lungs as you breathe deep. remember when, as a child, you laughed over seeing your breath? Revisit that feeling.
  • Incorporate one of these journal prompts in relation to your winter thoughts, attitudes, and surroundings:

One thing I love about winter is...

In what area have I struggled the most with winter recently?

What I need most right now is...

My favorite winter memory is...

Regrettably, we resist bringing our attention to things we dislike or have little interest in. For me, winter was that season I resisted or “wished away”. Like so many other things, mindfulness unveiled the beauty, peace, and ease of winter I forfeited by my petulant resistance.

God’s ways are certainly not our ways, and I make no claim of full understanding and purpose in His design of the seasons of nature. However, I do believe the seasons picture for us the cycles of life; they present us with wisdom and valuable lessons if we but allow them space.

Approaching winter with mindfulness opens our eyes to the relational, emotional, and spiritual winters of our lives, teaching us to embrace the pause, the imposed rest, and the harsh realities.

All with the knowledge of a loving Creator’s plan and promise that new beginnings are but a season away.

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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