I #LoveMnWinter! Today, I love ritual.
By Julia Winkels
I was over winter early this year. For the first time I really felt that I suffered from the cold, a menacing force that compounded my anxiety and fatigue. I began to dread leaving the house, whether it was climbing into my warmed-up car or braving the cold on my bike. I felt clumsy and irritated by the endless cycle of layering winter clothes. I began to simmer with self-loathing, frustration, and resentment because I wasn’t as tough as I “used to be,” since I found it all to be such a damn drag.
Until one day I came home. I walked through my back door, pulled it shut and turned the lock without thinking. I set my mittens and my backpack on the steps, bent to take off my boots. I unbuttoned my jacket and pulled my hat and scarf into the sleeve. And up to that very ordinary day I had found this process a oppressive chore, something I labored through because it’s winter and that’s just what we do — we cope. But as I reached to pick my backpack up, the thought crossed my mind that those 30 seconds weren’t a chore, but a ritual. The simple act of undressing from the cold had — has — become a mellow ritual that I rely on to keep the clockwork of my day ticking smoothly along. When I saw that little moment clearly, met it and accepted it and embrace it for what it is, my mind shifted completely.
In that moment, winter taught me a lesson, about stillness, about clarity, and above all, the power of ritual. This is a season of letting go, stripping down. Trees have let go of their flowers and leaves, we’ve put our gardens to bed. There isn’t an outward sign of growth — the work is underneath, in our roots. It’s a necessary and supportive process that I’ve come to love and crave. In the stark stillness of winter, I’m learning to embrace nourishing rituals. There is so much ease and sweetness in these little daily practices that gently guide me through my day. I feel so deeply grateful for them.
Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and sign up to share a post in 2018 here. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.