The Winter of Joy and Renewal

The Winter of Joy and Renewal

“People in Alaska run to the windows and cheer when it snows!”

I could see the joy on my daughter’s face as she related what she’d seen.  She was a 3rd year medical student spending 4 weeks at a regional hospital in Anchorage. The people with their noses pressed to the glass were hospital staff and patients.

“Why is everyone so happy?” she asked.

“Because when it snows it means we can get outside and play!”

She laughed.

“In Vancouver, BC where I grew up people groan when they see snow, they think about having to shovel their walks, unbury their cars and the hazardous condition of the roads. Unless they’re heading to the ski hills, a big snowfall is viewed as a nuisance.”

But here in Anchorage, Alaska it was cause for celebration; it set everything aglitter and life opened up.

A different set of ‘lenses’ saw the snow in a completely different way.

New Lenses

Her story reminded me of this past year. In 2020 were all given a new set of lenses with which to view the world. While these lenses saw heartbreak, they also brought many wonderful things into sharp focus.

Joy in Small Things

Almost everyone I talk to (myself included) was surprised by the joy they found in small things. Things that hadn’t been noticed before or dismissed as nothing special. Suddenly viewed from these lenses they were magic.

Hygge

Have you heard of the Danish word hygge? It’s not a word so much as a concept or way of being. Not translatable into English, it is essentially a coziness that evokes a feeling of contentment and joy. Hygge is a big, overstuffed chair, a weighted blanket and a good book. It’s drinking cocoa by a crackling fire and cuddling a pet or loved one, it’s the sun sparkling through the trees, new bursts of growth, a smiling face, having coffee with a friend socially distanced on a blanket in a park, watching a lazy turtle on a pond, a surprise phone call from a friend, the smell of baking wafting through the kitchen, the crunch of  the sourdough crust as the first cut is made, the dance of a candle flame. The joy button is pushed, and feelings of contentment warm the body and spirit.

Wintering provides access to Joy

I’m not going to endure the winter like I do year after year, I’m going to use it to rest rejuvenate and reflect. This winter I’m going to give myself full access to joy.

As we celebrate the new year and enter the winter season let’s look at it as British author Katherine May does. She released a book last year called – Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, and it’s a wonderful read. Wintering, according to May is not just a time of year. Everyone has their own personal winters, or seasons of difficulty in which we must nurture ourselves and our souls to come out better than we were upon entering them. Sometimes winters are in the summer. Other times, like last year, they begin in March and last for an unforeseeable length of time. Winters like those May speaks of are a time to welcome our hardships (they’re coming for us regardless, but embracing the cold makes them hurt a little bit less) and give ourselves the time and space we need to get to the other side.

In Wintering, May talks about the magical transformation trees in northern climates undergo: “the changes that take place in winter are a kind of alchemy, an enchantment performed by ordinary creatures to survive.”

Is it magic? No. It’s nature, it’s joy and it’s in you and it’s in me.

I received a holiday card in December, “kindness is like snow” it read, “it beautifies everything it covers.” This quote by Kahlil Gibran – accompanied by a man in a crown holding a robin while a goose and a fox have tea in the foreground-is the kind of specific beauty you can only find this time of year.

I intend to bask in it and let the cold, now and the darkness magnify the beauty all around me.

Start everyday with joy in your heart

Take a moment every morning to activate your joy center. Ask yourself – how I want to feel?  Take a deep breath and wait for the word to come into your consciousness. Once it does draw, write, print or doodle it on the the page in your OH MY WORD journal. Channel your inner 6-year old, colour it and make it beautiful.  You’ll feel the joy starting to bubble from within.

You have selected the lenses you will wear today. All your experiences and thoughts will be seen through these.

Have a joyful day.

Cheryl x

Don’t have an OH MY WORD journal yet? You can get one here.

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Amazon.ca

Chapters/Indigo

Please share with anyone you know who needs more Joy.

 

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