Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dealing With Emotional Winter

Several people have emailed me recently asking about how to deal with feeling no motivation, no passion in their lives. This made me think about the "emotional winter" we naturally go through after experiencing loss or change. Just like trees that lose their leaves when the air turns chilly, we humans tend to go into a state of shut-down when our "life weather" changes, particularly when we lose things that we loved or things that defined our world. We too "lose our leaves" so that we aren't recognizable to ourselves; our world seems as bleak and desolate as snow on the plains in February.

And we don't like winter, most of us, so we try to push for spring--we try not to feel so blue and bleak and everyone tells us to snap out of it because they don't like winter either. But the problem is, you can't force spring to come. Just as trees need to be barren for a while in order to renew themselves, we too need to allow ourselves to be dormant through the cold, dark season. We need to care for ourselves, give ourselves time to recover to make room for the new.

Here are some observations taken from nature about how to winter, adapted from the wise and wonderful book, The Seasons of Change, by Carol McLelland.

1. Animals hibernate. Winter is a time when the organism needs to take shelter, to find protection, to renew itself and rebuild resources. During your winter, you just might need to hibernate--to take time to be alone, to contemplate what you really want in life, to review what drains you, and who drains you…and who you can actually be yourself with. Keeping a journal is good during winter, as is giving yourself permission to say “No” to events or people who take it out of you.

2. Animals build dens. They create safe places, places to huddle against the forces of cold. You might try to create a safe haven in your home--a retreat space that feels cozy and safe; a place that’s just yours, where you can contemplate and renew. It can be a corner of a room, a closet, or a place outdoors. Put objects there that make you feel safe, happy, inspired. Spend time in your retreat den every day, journaling, contemplating, resting, taking refuge.

3. Plants lose foliage. They don’t try to cling to their leaves and flowers…in winter they must let go so that the new can grow. And yet, even when absolutely stripped of apparent life, the plants simply are dormant--not dead. Buds are there, waiting for the time when they’ll find support again to blossom. Likewise, you might need to let go of old habits, old routines, old things, old relationships. You might need to shed some things to make way for the new.

In other words, emotional winter is a time when you need to let go, protect and nurture yourself, and be patient. If you give yourself the space to reflect, renew, and rest that you need, you'll find to your own surprise that you have seeds of new inspiration to plant when spring comes--as it will.

Email me if you would like to take a "Seasons of Change" quiz, free, to find out what emotional season you are in now.

All best wishes to you,
The Life Change Coach

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T-Fly Katapult said...

loving this blog...making words of encouragement sound "encouraging" is harder than most think...and you pull it of wonderfully

TFly Katapult

T-Fly Katapult said...

loving this blog...making words of encouragement sound "encouraging" is harder than most think...and you pull it of wonderfully

TFly Katapult

Dorothea "Dee" Buckingham said...

Good for you . Good for you. Good for you. You are wonderful.

So happy to have found you again. Bonnie pointed me to your blog.

Big kisses to David.

Your blog is intimate, caressing, professional, poetic, wonderful-it reflects you.
Dee Buckingham