Amber's blog is one of my favorites. I have so much respect for her and her work. I've taken her e-course and I'm currently reading her e-book, Crafting My Life which I plan to review here when I'm finished. I'm very excited to share her guest post with you (a first here at Little Tiger and The Milk Belly Princess). As someone who wold love to hibernate at this time of year, this post really resonates with me.
Looking out my window, as I sit in my computer chair and type, I see a very wintery landscape. The plants in my garden are all dead, or at least sleeping. There is snow on the ground, and more flakes are softly falling, making little white caps that look something like marshmallows on the fence posts. I can see little dents in the blanket of white, where my children spent the past weekend frolicking. This much winter is a novelty here in rainy Vancouver, and they made the most of it. But it made me want to stay inside in my sweater and slippers, sipping a hot beverage and avoiding the cold.
Holing Up for the Winter
Unlike frogs or bears, people do not hibernate for the winter. All the same, many of us feel the urge to hole up someplace warm and ride out the cold, dark days. When the nights are so long, I feel a calling to retreat and rest. I've found it difficult to motivate myself to go outside and run or even take the kids to the park. I do drag myself out of my chair because I realize I can't spend all winter here, but if I had my way I'd be inside knitting and watching Colin Firth play Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. I actually think there is some value to the hibernation impulse. The seasonal drawing-inward allows us a time of rest and reflection. Most of us are so busy, so much of the time, that we have few opportunities for respite. When we do have the chance to slow down, we should take it. When we slow down our pace, we see more. We inhabit the moment more, instead of thinking about what's coming next. We take care of ourselves, and see our lives more clearly. We allow ourselves to dream more, and feel the promise of a spring that will surely come.
Taking a Break from Doing
It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that we must be productive to be worthy. It's a message that completely permeates our culture. It's certainly true that taking action is an important part of life. But it's also true that there are seasons in life, and seasons in nature. There are times to charge off in search of your dreams, and times to wrap yourself in a blanket in front of a flickering fire and reflect. If we want to live a life of meaning and authenticity, then we need to recognize when it's time to act, and when it's time to rest. So, lay down your burdens, and pour yourself a cup of tea. Think about what the past year has brought you, and what you're hoping for from the year ahead. Allow yourself the comfort of warmth and light on a cold, dark day. And trust that when it's time to stop reflecting and start acting, you'll know.
Crafting my Life
Once upon a time I had a very impressive job title, but fate conspired to take that away from me, and give me freedom instead. It was my ultimate period of rest and retreat. Since that time, I have been on a personal journey to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life. Along the way I have acted, and I have reflected. In the process, I have learned that my mission in life is to help other moms life happier, more fulfilled lives. The seeds of my desire to help grew into Crafting my Life. Crafting my Life is a set of online tools for busy moms who want greater intention and purpose in their lives. It's targeted to moms because we face some unique constraints. It's hard for us to get out of the house to take classes or spend time by ourselves. Crafting my Life is something that you can do on your own schedule, at your own pace, without ever having to leave your house. Which, as you know, is particularly appealing in the middle of winter. During these cold, dark days, why not take some time to rest and reflect? Ask yourself some big questions, and dream up some big answers. When the time is right to stop reflecting and start acting, you'll know what to do. Amber Strocel is a writer, life-crafter, dreamer, and rather shoddy housekeeper who lives in the Vancouver area with her husband and two kids. She's devoted to simplifying and living a more sustainable life. She helps moms follow their bliss at Crafting my Life, records her daily adventures on her blog Strocel.com, and works as the Content Manager for VancouverMom.ca.