I #LoveMNWinter! Today, I love the opportunity for reflecting.
By Teresa Bina Zaffiro
I like to think about loving MN winter as both the physical things we do to embrace the cold and dark, as well as the mental and emotional work we do to embrace winter. For me, a big part of this is leaning into the time that winter gives us to reflect, plan and prioritize.
I think about this in terms of the everyday things we prioritize giving our time to, as well as the bigger picture reflections on how we live our lives and how we embrace our values. I think winter, more than any other season, gives us a rare opportunity for self-reflection. Whether it is because we have more alone time, more indoor time, or it’s something more cosmically aligned, I love that winter gives us this opportunity. For me, it is an essential part of my year.
I love the winter sunrises that are so simultaneously subtle and powerful. They remind me that even in the darkest times, the sun comes up every day, same as it always does. This is a picture of my street in Saint Paul, by the river.
In traditional Ojibwe belief system (and other tribes, as well), winter is a time for storytelling. The belief is that stories are told when snow is on the ground. Storytelling has always been an essential way in which cultural knowledge, language, belief systems and lessons have been passed down to generations.
I love the idea that during this time when life slows down, and we are all forced indoors to stay warm, that essential knowledge is shared in a communal way. In the cities, there are often community storytelling events hosted at places like the Division of Indian Work and other Native agencies. The last event I attended with my family was standing room only — people love to hear their stories! I think this goes to show how important this time for sharing, reflecting and talking with one another is. Additionally, as stories are shared, people have that opportunity to reflect on their own lives and values.
Winter is the best time to look at one’s life, evaluate priorities and get creative about making time for the things that are important in life. Pictured above is the start of my Winter 2016 “Life Priorities” Vision Board. I promise in the end my priorities were more than cats ;)
I love Minnesota winter because we get these chances to reflect, reset and prioritize. We also get the chance to share stories, listen to one another and learn from one another in settings that there might now always be space for in the warmer summer months when everyone is out and about doing everything they dreamed of during the winter. I think due to the intensity of our winters, Minnesotans embrace this ethic of intentionally sharing space with one another more than most places.
Thank you for reading why I #LoveMNWinter :)