Shelley J Whitehead

Drawing back and looking inwards

1 November, 2022

The rich colours of Autumn are giving way to the pared-down simplicity of winter, as the orangey-red leaves drop, one by one. It’s the time of the year when the trees stop putting their energy into growing and shift it inwards as they begin their annual dormant winter slumber, conserving their resources for the harsher months ahead. Consolidating, resting.  

We live in a culture obsessed with continual growth. A culture that encourages us to learn, to strive, to push and to shift ahead relentlessly. Growth at any cost. And often that cost is high. Without rest, growth can turn into overload. Without consolidation, change can lack substance. Without integration, breakthroughs can’t get woven into the fabric of who we are. 

There are times when we need to pull back and pause. Times when we need to allow the natural self-healing properties of the body and mind to knit strength back into our beings and ready us for what lies ahead. 

My greatest indulgent pleasure in winter is my quiet hibernation. I stay cosily cocooned inside my home, venturing out as little as possible. It’s the moment when, like the trees, I conserve my energy and I channel it inwards. I spend time on what matters the most to me: nurturing the people I care for; connecting with my partner and gathering around my table with my loved ones. 

In a place of active introspection, I start to quietly prepare for the following year. November is always the time when most of the busy-ness has gone and I have space to allow my mind to reflect, to look back at the year that has gone and to think ahead to what it is that I really want to accomplish next, now that things are quietening down. I stop pushing for growth and start quietly consolidating, allowing myself the feeling of groundedness, and restoring my physical and emotional inner reserves.

Shelley J Whitehead
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