What I'm Learning from Winter
As an early spring brings light and warmth to Ticino, I am also awakening out of a time of wintering, "a moment of intuition" which is "not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible," as Katherine May explains in her book "Wintering" (thank you Alex & Harriet for this perfect recommendation). Wintering can happen at any time and last any length of time from a couple of weeks or months to, as in my case, a couple of years. During this season of life, it may seem on the outside like nothing is happening, but underneath the surface of the soil and in the center of the seed, transformation is occurring.
And so it has been for me, after trying to live much of my life as an endless summer, when I entered this dark season after the end of my marriage, it took awhile for the resistance to winter to subside. Eventually, after closing the studio and withdrawing from teaching publicly, I cleared my calendar of everything except the essential and truly turned inward. Katherine May affirms my own experience that instead of fighting against it, once we can welcome winter as "an active acceptance of sadness" and it becomes a "practice of allowing ourselves to feel it as a need. It is the courage to stare down the worst parts of our experience and to commit to healing them the best we can." Surrendering fully into this fallow period freed me to tend my inner garden--weeds, seeds, overgrowth, rotten plants and all. And among the treasures that unearthed from this time is a new offering for us, sprouting out of the ashes of loss and nourished by the wisdom of experience. It's called "The Circle is the Medicine" and it is a women's healing journey through movement and meditation, ritual and rest, with space for sharing, silence and spontaneity.
It feels tender and new and honest and fresh and even as a part of me isn't ready to release it, I sense that we are ready for it. Actually, we have always been ready. It's just that, like our collective denial that we humans too are subject to the laws of nature, we have forgotten our innate call to Circle.
Since always, we humans have come together in circles to share, celebrate, grieve, process, begin or end something, and simply bear witness. Our ancestors sourced the raw materials for their ceremonies from the land; they danced and sang stories that connected them to their gods and goddesses, ancestors and the ones yet to be born again. While their ways may resonate, offering a legacy and shining a light, we must not mistake their ways for the way. The medicine, what heals, isn't just the particular herb, plant, chant or posture. The medicine is the gathering itself--the space for us to connect to ourselves, each other, and Source within the safe and sacred container of Circle.
Deep bows for the inspiration for this phrase: "the circle is the medicine" arose as an intuitive knowing out of deep experience from a participant in sacred circle, led by dear friends and teachers Adrian and Paola. Years later, when I joined their magic circle, I too learned this saying and experience firsthand this truth.
Whether you too are a woman emerging from a wintering time, in the full bloom of summer, or somewhere in between, there is a place for you in the Circle. You can find out more by scrolling down and visiting my website www.mytreeyoga.com/the-circle-is-the-medicine, and as always, feel welcome to reach out to me directly with questions or reflections. I am so grateful to those of you who have reached out, and will look forward to reconnecting in the coming months. Until then, sending you a big hug and many blessings!
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