Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Warmth Within

Following the Winter Solstice, I find myself cheered by the prospect of ever-lengthening days and, soon enough, the welcome thaw of spring. While I value the yin energy of this season, I catch myself literally fantasizing about the glaringly sunny days that characterize summer in Colorado: days that last forever, with time for meandering hikes or sweat-soaked runs on dusty trails. My body craves the bright white heat of July that seems to radiate from the mountains themselves, while my soul yearns for the leisurely evenings spent relaxing on a patio, a cold drink in hand.

Instead, I awake groggy in the mornings, wiping sleep from my eyes and lacing up my Nike Free's for a jaunt on the treadmill. My morning run and the occasional yoga class keep me grounded and sane. I take a quick lunchtime walk when I can fit it in, and down Vitamin D supplements as if they're the nectar of life itself. Comfort comes in the form of good books and the accompanying cozy simple pleasures: hot tea, warm socks, the slow burn of a cedar-scented candle.

Make no mistake. The stark beauty of a January sky is not lost on me. I find the snow-covered peaks a soothing reminder of nature's tremendous capacity to endure and regenerate in the harshest of conditions, and I enjoy the festive glow of a fireplace as much as anyone. Still, it'd be disingenuous of me to claim mid-winter's chill doesn't have me just the littlest bit out of sorts, especially as the holidays' excitement fades to mere (albeit pleasant) memory.

In these months, I try to remind myself how truly natural these really cycles are. And perhaps more importantly? That the real source of energy lies within, transcending external conditions.

As one of my great inspirations, John Muir, wrote:
"The sun shines not on us, but in us."
I'll raise my mug of vanilla almond tea to that. What are your best tips for enduring winter and finding the warmth within?

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