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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Blues...

I may have to rethink this “contemplative life” I *thought* I wanted to live. I like the *idea* of “contemplative living.” And yet, being housebound for 5 days with 3 snowfalls and arctic temps (unusual for here this early), left me anything *but* contemplative. The first 2 days were wonderfully restful and peaceful. I read, journaled, conversed with hubby - enjoying the quiet and companionship; and simply sat – in contemplative Silence. But by Saturday night I was restless, agitated, irritable, discombobulated, and down-right cranky. The “new” realizations of the fluidity of Life, from “the edge” last Wednesday, just flitted on through, and I was left empty; as if gutted by the cold. Frozen in this time bound reality again I found it hard to sit in the sacred Silence that used to be so comforting.

I wandered – unmotivated - a vagabond within my own mind – feeling out of place and out of sorts. I used to enjoy this snowy visitor. The older I get, the more I feel its icy edges permeating the “soul”, instead of illuminating it, as it used to do. I don’t recall experiencing the “winter blues” before. It was a different kind of visitor – a darkness from the dungeoned mind. Unable to settle, I searched for a spark of inspiration to light the embers that had cooled so quickly from standing on the edge of glory.

I scanned the book shelves for something inspirational – nothing appealed. I pulled Rilke’s Book of Hours down, reading the preface and introduction again. One line stood out: “Through the empty branches the sky remains.” Yes, I acknowledged - that is true – except it was snowy and dark, therefore I could not see the sky… But the meaning did not elude me – beyond the contraction of my perceptions, the expansiveness of Life is always there – waiting to be experienced.

Each day I took photos from the windows – none of them came out that well. One has to be out *in* life – experiencing it for a clearer view. My vision had become snowed in and frosted over.

Sunday afternoon I finally took the plunge and wandered out into the cold to take more photos… The cold hit my face crisply and felt good, exhilarating. There was my spark of inspiration – immersed in the experience. A simple movement on my part had changed the brain and the patterns of thinking, shifting the entire mental perspective - lightening the color.

“What happens in your mind
changes your brain.
And what happens in your brain
changes your mind…”

Buddha’s Brain

I’m reassessing what it means to be a “contemplative” – not that I need that label. In fact, I think I have romanticized it – imaging myself in monk’s robes – days in solitude – communing with “The Divine.” :) However, it evidently does not mean being cloistered somewhere between walls – especially the canyoned walls of the mind. Living contemplatively, it seems, is simply being immersed in and absorbed by the play of Life.

May Your Heart Fly Unburdened…


  1. what a lovely post! even though I could feel your angst, your restlessness, your cabin fever, your description of it felt somehow rich and full, like you weren't drawing away from the discomfort, that you were living it. And then a willful move, go outside and it all shifts, like the proverbial house of cards. Your willingness to see how we romanticize and imagine things and how that differs from the reality of it.

    Love the heart leaf and the magic ball on a pedestal!

    Yes this is life, the ebb and flow of feeling and circumstances! Thanks for the snow coated slice!

  2. interesting thoughts. have you read Sinetar's book Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics? I read it many years ago and "used" her ideas as an excuse for my choices of living, LOL. I would have made the choices anyway but nice to know others make similar monkish choices.

    perhaps those who imagine themselves as monks/mystics etc are also introverts. Introverts go inward for renewal of energy which would include going out for a walk in the snow. Extroverts go out to a party or the mall for an energy renewal.

    so far our snow has melted quickly and we have had a mild fall but a storm may come tonight. i understand both feelings, the delight in being "forced" to stay cosy inside and the ensuing restlessness and urge to do, the freedom that is there when the weather is mild. the enclosure that ice and snow create, like a womb.

    Be well, suki

  3. ZDS ~ Thank you :) Yes,I was definitely living it. I even sat with "the blues" a while - to just be with it. Going outside re-focused my awareness and am sure changed the brain chemistry. Some of "the blues" remain - but that too is all part of the play of Life - the many hues of winter :) As you say the ebb and flow of life itself - living the Tao.

  4. Suki ~ Thank you fellow monkess :) I haven't read the book you mention, but I will definitely look for it. Sounds fascinating.

    Yes, the "Silence" has always enlivened me, which is why this experience was a little unsettling because I couldn't seem to "get there."

    And I definitely realized the harmony in both the being and doing - not trying to force myself into the one, but allowing them both.

  5. On rainy days such as this I have always wanted to simply stay home and not fret with raincoat/umbrella/puddles/driving...and today I realized I am finally living that, as challenging as it has been to carve out any space for myself now that my home is also my office. But I too go back and forth between needing the outside world and rejecting it. It usually drains me — but sometimes it sustains me!

    I'm going to look for the book Suki mentioned as well!

  6. Uma ~ Thanks for your comment! Yes, it is challenging isn't it! I love the "contemplative" silence and solitude. It sustains me as well. And it is a challenge carving the time out for this contemplative time as well, for different reasons. But evidently I'm supposed to *see* something in this experience about the ebb and flow of living life - embracing it all, not withdrawing *from*, or "rejecting" anything, but engaging in the dance of Life as it unfolds; intuitively doing what is needed in each moment - finding the harmony in it all - not either/or.

    Being in the beauty of nature is so contemplative, heightening awareness and mindfulness, as you know - as you have shared with your beautiful photos! So am trying to spend more time "outside" - not successful so far :)

    Glad you have created this for yourself!

  7. This is beyond sweet Dear Christine....thank You Dear Heart. ♥ Immerse...immerse...immerse...♥
    May all our days be Holidays.

  8. Thank you Dear Leslie - my "contemplative" friend - window sitter extraordinaire :) Yes! May all our days be Holidays!!! That would be sweet... :) Big Hugs! C

  9. Love this: "Living contemplatively, it seems, is simply being immersed in and absorbed by the play of Life."

  10. Cathy ~ Thank you for your comment! And what a lovely post on your blog today about the wounded child inside and seeing the light of hope in the eyes of a child.

  11. LOVELY snow moments, Christine! If find much comfort & inspiration from Rilke’s Book of Hours. Winter is my hard time of year--it is so wintry & snow here, it is a huge challenge sometimes to keep the spirits up when knee-deep in snow and cold. Sometimes thinking warm thoughts of Hawaii or Tahiti don't always work. ;o) But I do try to see the beauty of the season, and actively celebrate the Winter Solstice. Taking time to honor each season helps. Sending you warm thoughts & wishes, my friend ((HUGS))

  12. Tracy ~ Thank you! Yes, I find the "winter blues" come and go depending on other circumstances as well, so I can usually just ride them out. Going outside does seem to help a bit - stepping out into the beauty of Life. And I too celebrate the Solstice, which helps to give meaning to the cycles and rhythms of change. May the flame of your Heart keep you warm this wintry season :) ((Hugs)) back ~ ~ ~

  13. Cold, snowy, vast, tiny, warm-hearted, Christine Divinity. Perfect. Beautiful pics, beautiful honesty, as always! <3

  14. Maria ~ Thank you! my "sensual contemplative" friend :), who brings "aliveness" to the word. Hugs...


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