Lessons From the Bear About Winter Rest

Lessons From the Bear About Winter Rest

I have so much I could share with you today.

My 2024 word and symbol of the year...

Some of my biggest takeaways from 2023...

Solstice / holiday / new year celebrations and meaningful rituals...

But I think I am going to leave it at this, for now:

We are at the darkest time of the year and it has felt, for me, like a hibernating cave, a pause, a womb.

I am Day 26 of my cycle and entering the "dark" of my cycle as well.

This pairing has me feeling incredibly potent, deliciously slow, and blessedly lucid.

I feel like a great bear, who, before her long winter's nap, lumbers to her den, with a belly full of berries, intent on only one thing:

The fertile dark.

The safe rest.

The quiet...quiet...quiet.

bear walking on snow

A very good friend of mine shared with me an idea that she's been coming across lately and it speaks so deeply to me:

The idea that the darkness is the birthplace of everything.

(From Ursula K. LeGuin: "Women grow things in darkness, not in light.")

Darkness is a requirement for growth:

Seeds germinate under the dark soil.

Our brains wrinkle and synapses snap and we think, observe, create inside a sphere of darkness.

As babies, we divide, expand, form, and grow into our very being in the darkness of the womb.

All the universe is contained in the vast darkness.

Everything good, every necessary thing, everything we are...begins in the dark.

And that she-bear who crawled under the damp, humid earth to stay still, safe, and silent for long winter months in the darkness?

Before she even awakens in the spring, her body has created, birthed, and fed two new tiny replicas of herself.

When she blinks in the first spring light, she will find two bear cubs--the fruit of her labor, the prize of her hibernation, the glorious outcome of her trust to s l o w   d o w n and rest.

In the dark.

Did she know, when she at last collapsed into the sweet dark of her den after an autumn intent only on fueling her body, her rest -- did she know she would emerge in the spring?

Did she know she would become a mother in the darkness?

I don't know.

But I do know she surrendered to trust.

And I do know I am taking this lesson from the bear.

This winter solstice, I hope you, too, take this message from the bear:

We are nature.

Everything we need starts in the dark.

brown bear laying her head on her paws gazing out of her den

Menstrual cycle awareness has vastly changed my relationship with the dark, cold months.

(Read more on this blog, "The Surprising Way I Improved My Seasonal Affective Disorder.")

MCA has expanded my capacity to find beauty, wisdom, and power in things I previously dismissed, dreaded, or even feared.

I know it can do the same for you if you let it.

So now, I am looking forward to my dark weeks, my dark rituals, my winter hibernation.

2023 was a year of learning and accepting the capacity for darkness that I hold as a human (the fertile darkness, but also the typical cultural darkness-as-shortcomings). I have been working on acknowledging, addressing, and integrating, releasing, or healing my personal shadows.

Transmuting those shadows into a fertile darkness wherever possible.

There is always something to learn from the dark.

And so now, I leave you.

In the dark of the winter.

It's time for us to retreat, to be alone, to hibernate.

To honor this need, this aspect of our nature.

And to trust that we will be birthed anew at just the right moment if we travel this darkness well. ✨

Examine your relationship with the dark, the quiet, the winter, the needs of your inner nature.

And I hope you come out on the other side renewed, rebirthed, in awe of yourself. ❤️

And if you would like support, guidance, and exploration as you embrace traveling the dark, the natural cycles of life, nature, and your menstrual cycle, I invite you to explore my coaching packages for highly personalized support in 2024. 

Happy resting!

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