I used to be afraid of winter. I dreaded the going within, the darkness I was sure to be confronted with there.
Then, one winter I made a project out of working through my attitude about winter.
That winter I read through "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers," by Debbie Ford.
I learned that the Universe is all one thing, with light and dark, duality, contrast.
I learned that everything is a mirror and that whatever triggers me is evidence of some aspect of me that I'm not at peace with.
This is a tool and truth that has stayed with me over the decades.
That winter, I healed my relationship with winter. I lost my fear and rejection of this natural part of the cycle of time, life and the year.
Now, I look forward to winter.
Now, I understand that the quiet, internal time of darkness, is necessary and natural and not to be feared nor rejected. On the contrary, I have learned, and continue to learn, that the yin, the feminine, and that which I fear and want to push away, out of existence - is in fact a treasure, and a magic doorway to all the riches I seek.
How Do You Feel About Winter?
How do you feel about winter? Is it your friend, or do you prefer to keep your distance, keep busy, stay in the masculine energy yang flow as much as possible?
Is the fear of Winter, of stillness in fact a fear of a representation of death?
Do you ignore the call from the cool dark earth to be quiet and listen, ear toward the ground?
Our culture and many of our upbringings emphasized productivity as part of the definition of a worthwhile life.
Have you ever doubted or questioned this? Would you dare to challenge the status quo? Would you feel like an ungrateful traitor to consider quiet time just for you? Purposefully non-productive?
Fear of Stillness
I used to be afraid to do nothing. Back in 2006, I spent five months in Guatemala. I thought I’d do volunteer work there. I didn’t especially want to, but it seemed like a nice thing to do. Volunteering in some NGO was what many foreigners like myself got involved in. So I tried.
I looked into various projects, but none of them really ignited my engine. And I have based my post-divorce life on doing what I feel passionate about.
Once volunteering was cast aside, I set to pursuing what really did interest me: In Mexico I had been introduced to the ancient metaphysical view (called cosmovision) and traditions. This information, these teachings, lit and fed my fire. I decided to see what I could learn about the old ways in Guatemala. I received several leads, but I felt a reserve, as if the door was not fully open. Unlike where I had been in Mexico, where I felt this information was accessible and vital.
So I gave up trying to gain entre to the ancient wisdom of the Maya.
I took a language immersion course at a school down the road, and I liked that. But eventually that too, ended, and I was left with, “What to do?”
All doors seemed to be closed to me. There was nothing for me to do. So I sat.
Sitting Still and Doing Nothing
I sat on the bench in front of my bungalow and looked at the grass growing in my front yard. I beheld its vibrant shade of green. I took in the blue waves on the lake. I sat with the warm breeze pushing gently at my cheeks. I observed the emergence of flowers at the side of my yard. Sometimes I walked to the water on sandy narrow paths. Sometimes I sat on shore side rocks where ladies hip deep in hitched up skirts beat their clothes.
I did this for months. I sat and was. Something began to change.
It was as if a show was happening before my eyes. I saw and felt veils lifting and floating away.
Layers of perceptions about who I was and what life was. Translucent veils slid off and I began to have a different sense of who I was and what life was.
Me and life were one. I felt quiet, calm.
My days, my life, were simple and clear. I no longer had to do something to feel alive, valid, worthwhile.
And I no longer feared being still with myself, worried about what might come up. What I might discover or feel.
That was the greatest gift of my time in Guatemala: I am no longer afraid to just be. It is quite lovely, actually.
A Shortcut to Gifts of Elderhood
I remember sitting there on my bench, doing nothing, feeling peaceful, thinking, “I may have found a shortcut to one of the gifts of being elderly!” I felt fortunate that I had the time to sit like an elder and let what comes up, arrive, do its dance, and then float away. It was pleasant, and I discovered that not creating more, gave rise to serenity.
I am not yet an elder, and I have decided to “act my age” in the sense of flowing with the natural energy encapsulated in the stage of life I am in. Namely: it is a time for me to share and be of service through who I am and what I’ve learned so far.
I tend to be very busy and dynamic. Overall, these days, my life is a healthy balance between action and quiet. But I also know I have the propensity to get hooked in the fast moving world of productivity. Then I can spin out of control and lose balance and ground. It is in times like those, as in my every day rhythm, that my visceral knowing that it’s safe to be still, comes to help me.
When I’m feeling stressed and confused, I remember the help that I know can come from simply stopping. And sometimes I go and “do” just that. It’s remarkable the calm and clarity that return to me every time. In these magical moments, I remember Guatemala with a grateful nod and smile.
If you have resistance to stopping and ceasing doing – I urge you to give yourself little pockets of time to experiment with doing nothing consciously and see what happens.
You may find a new friend in quiet moments and in winter.
Robin Rainbow Gate
I help midlife people and beyond to find their inner power, health and well being through slow living
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