Winter’s Invitation: An Embodied Sense of Safety
Sometimes Winter likes to remind us that she’s still here, especially as we feel new life stirring and Spring within grasp.
It’s almost like these late Winter storms that blow through are here to remind us that there's no rush. That unfolding is a slow process. That patience, and creating solid foundations, are just as important as creative actions.
A vision long-dreamt, and intentionally coaxed inside a loving container can be so much more viable, and endure time, than fleeting bursts of inspiration.
What Winter teaches me, time and time again, is to surrender my grasping of control, and let things unfold in their due time.
Winter helps us build strength and fortification within, in order to trust in our ability to withstand the long, cold, desolate periods in our lives, without the need to push or grasp.
We learn acceptance. We learn trust. We learn patience.
It’s certainly never just as easy as “just let go of control and surrender.” As if it’s that easy. As if it is something we can just decide with our minds and then it’s done.
Letting go of control, or surrendering, requires a prerequisite of safety in the body. If the body doesn't feel safe, “letting go” can feel terrifying and can be potentially (re-)traumatizing to our nervous systems.
For many years, all I wanted was to be able to surrender my feeling of vigilance, or control, in my body. It felt like I had to be ready in case something bad was going to happen. If I'd let go of that preparedness, I’d be in danger.
Our bodies are always doing their best to keep us safe, in the face of unceratinty and fear. However, many of us grew up developing internal pseudo-solutions that are no longer the most supportive or beneficial to our well-being.
These adaptive behaviors of vigilance, always being on guard, trying to control others or life itself, are outdated ways to help us grasp for a sense of order or predictablity.
In this nervous system state, the world outside is a threat.
When we work to build true safety in the nervous system and in our bodies, then we are able to carry that feeling of assuredness around with us. We know that life is extremely unpredictable, and yet we can trust in our own capacity to navigate what comes, when it comes.
The more internally resourced, secure, and fortified we grow in our bodies, the less we feel the necessity to grasp onto control.
We develop a flexiblity within our system.
We can let down the guard of constant vigilance. And we can open ourselves and our bodies up to the beauty, pleasure, and gifts of the Earth and this life all around us.
Developing a sense of safety in the body is a slow and delicate process. It is the first thing I teach in the Golden Stone Wisdom School. Before all else. And it is much of what I aim to do with clients in bodywork and energy work sessions. It is a step not to be overlooked in our healing journeys.
I'm writing about this now because Winter is such a beautiful time to build our inner safety sancturary. The more I allow Winter to fully form me each year, without jumping ahead to the energizing Spring, the more I feel my container strengthen. The more I feel I can trust in myself and in Life.
Like Winter’s teachings, developing safety in the nervous system requires patience. And endurance. It requires incremental shifts over long periods of time.
So start small.
The simplest acts can be monumental here:
A hand on your heart when you’re anxious, letting yourself know you’re here
Moving slowly when you enter a new space and allowing your sensory body to take it in
Talking sweetly to yourself
Following your body’s lead in slow movement
Checking in with your emotional body with compassion and curiosity
Following through with what you promised yourself and your body
Developing boundaries for yourself around your needs
May these last weeks of Winter allow your patience to strengthen, and your commitment to your own inner safety to fortify.
Learn more about Seasonal Living with the Sacred Seasons Guidebooks
A peek into the teachings of the seasons, the living elements inspiring our world, the plants and the stones, personal ceremony, and more.