I have grown to look forward to winter…strange, perhaps, after living for most of my adult life in sunny & lush and impossibly bright Miami…but in the 4 years I have been here, I have come to relish the winter; to allow it to nourish me. I have found that it nurtures and restores me. I am getting better at leaning in to let it ground me & to calm me, because I seem to come to this time of the year worn out from a hard year of life & growth & challenges & yes, losses, too. And I see this in many of your faces, too. Our spirits are tired!
So can I invite you to do what Winter is asking you to do: can you lean into Rest wherever you are able? Even if you don’t have the privilege of an abundance of restful time in your life, can you find small, simple places where you can embrace rest? Can resting receive just as much focus as your ‘to do’ list? What a concept! I have a To Do List daily…bet you do too. Can we put Rest on that To Do list?
Let’s pretend, if even for a little while, for this time of year, let’s pretend that we are in the chrysalis stage of our personal evolution….Winter is the chrysalis stage in the evolution of the butterfly. It’s the time when the caterpillar is wrapped up quietly, in the dark of her cocoon. To the outside world it doesn’t look like anything is happening. (And this is one of the most challenging things about embracing rest: to the outside world it doesn’t look like anything is happening. Our brains scream at us, telling us “You’re not doing anything. You’re wasting your time.”) But actually, deep in the dark, a quiet transformation is happening: the caterpillar is evolving into a magnificent butterfly.
Let this be a time of a transformation of our spirit, as it is a transformation of all of nature in this season. All the experiences & lessons learned over the past year are being integrated into our spirit & into our lives. And we are evolving because of it.
Let us embrace that our only work right now is to be like the caterpillar. We don’t have to do anything. Just wrap ourselves all snug in your cocoons, and simply rest.
Winter is the season when things are revealed by turning deep within ourselves. Embracing the quiet & the darkness – recognizing that we don’t need to do anything for the magic to unfold. This is truly the season of receiving.
Margaret McAlister, UU Asheville Board of Trustees