It seems to roll around every year at this time, although this year it’s significantly more poignant and meaningful for me, for a number of reasons. The days are shorter, the trees and plants have shed and are pulling their energy into their roots, and the temperature beckons us to stay under the covers a little longer or curl up in front of the fire. It’s the season of reflection as we wind down to the end of another year. Now I know that some folks don’t kick into this phase until after the new year and the holiday mayhem is over, but for many, and most of the wild things, it starts now. It’s time to slow down and pause to reflect on your life.
In our productivity-crazed culture, it’s rare to press pause. No sooner do we complete one thing before we’re on to the next. Or more often, we’re racing from one thing to the next, on a schedule we don’t feel we have control over, leaving a trail of incomplete tasks, projects, or relationships in our wake.
Our ancestors were more aligned with nature and healthier for it. Once the final harvest was over, cold cellars were stocked, and bellies were full, the long winter was a time for rest and recuperation, for nesting and connecting, and for reflecting and planning.
This year, every choice and decision I’ve made was leading me to this sacred reflection and recovery time. This week marks one year since my 19-year old son ended his life. And through the shock and pain of it all, I’ve been called to move to a woodland setting; my long-held dream of my ‘cabin in the woods’. And this winter will be an essential sojourn for me, to rest and heal while I take stock of my life and explore options for the future.
If you’ve been feeling the need to slow down, I urge you to find some moments to pause and reflect. There are many ways to incorporate this into your life. And the rhythm with which you choose to do so can flex as you need it to.
Some people use writing or prayer at the beginning or end of each day to acknowledge what they’re grateful for and set an intention for the following day. You could also carve out some time each month to reflect on the past month, and take note of what you appreciate, and what you would like to change. This could be done on a forest walk, or in a journal, or in a conversation with a loved one. Or once a year, instead of setting resolutions, take as long a sojourn as you can to contemplate what’s important to you about your past year and how you’d like to move forward.
Here are some questions you can use to prompt your reflections.
- What do I appreciate in my life? What am I grateful for having experienced?
- What loose ends do I want to tie up? What amends do I need to make? To whom?
- What do I need to forgive myself for? What do I need to forgive others for and release?
- What do I want to celebrate (that I didn’t have time for when it happened!)? What do I want to congratulate myself for?
- What is my soul longing for?
- What do I want to create or shift now?
If you want to dig deeper on this, you might enjoy my New Year Life Strategy giveaway here.
Wishing you all a peaceful and joy-filled sojourn.
And until next time, be free and wild,