As we are poised between seasons, now is the time to prepare and ready ourselves to emerge into spring.
Alongside the annual spring cleaning this year, I’m moving into our new home on the first weekend of April. I have been decluttering and letting go by donating/selling/giving away like crazy as I realised last year that I need VERY little to LIVE WELL.
While going through the process of simplifying my overall life, I have put together a vision board of how I want my new home (which is almost half the size of our current home) to look and feel.
This includes ideas and a vision that is inspired by the ‘Japandi‘ style (a mix of Japanese & Scandinavian), light & airy, a large seating area with plumped cushions, simplicity, oak wood coffee table, TV bench, picture shelves and frames, linen curtains and loads of plants.
This vision is a bit different from the current state of affairs; boxes ready for the move, carrier bags destined for the charity shop, wooden furniture I have started to sand down and repaint etc.
In my world, the month of February is the last beat of winter, a time to get ready for renewal. It always arrives just at the moment when I’m ready to stretch my wings again and engage with the outside world after several months of sheltering indoors away from the cold.
We all have fallow periods of life when we feel cut off from the rest of the world, perhaps after an illness, Covid and lockdowns, a period of grief, or a rejection that floors us for a season. I’ve wintered many times in my life, through various ups and downs, and through times when I could feel a change coming but didn’t know where to turn next.
Over the years, I learned that nature could show me a way through these times. From hibernating dormice to trees shedding their leaves, I discovered that winter is a time to mass our energies, to rest, repair and recuperate, and to pare life back to its essentials until we are ready to emerge again, remade.
The most important thing that nature teaches us is that wintering is a cycle: the cold visit us over and over across the course of our lives, and we can’t avoid it. When we endure a personal winter, it’s not a failure. It is normal. I’ve come to believe that these winters are important times of personal transformation, even if they are unbearably painful. They are moments of metamorphosis, when we fall through the cracks of life for a while, and spend time working through the agonies of change.
But I also believe that we can learn to cherish our winters. Not enjoy them exactly – that might be asking too much – but recognise them for what they are and sink into them. I’ve learned the pleasures of dipping my toes in the ice-cold sea and discovered just how much colour could be found in the woods in midwinter. I let the cold bite, but I also defended against it, snuggling up on the sofa with a cup of hot cocoa or golden milk, a warm blanket, a hot water bottle and a book.
I retreat as much as I can and let some of my social ties fall slack for a while. I rest. I keep my calendar empty and spend time doing simple things like baking, going for walks and reading, rather than competing and achieving. Winter has helped me to understand that a dormant period is essential.
As I am currently in the space of the in-between, I spend a lot of time visualising and planning the next phase of my life and now is just the right time to imagine the space I’d like to create for the next chapter of my life.
Spring is the season of dreaming, warmer, longer days. Planting seeds. Sprouts. Rebirth. Clearing space. Growth! This is the time to set intentions, start new projects, reach out and make new connections.
When we clear away the dust of a long winter, it’s an act of imagination, sowing the seeds of a life yet to come. This starts with a simple act of hope.
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