Winter is the perfect time to go deep inside both physically and mentally. I have been doing a lot of that lately. Since Christmas I have been sick on and off and have been forced to take is easy and stay inside—in my house and in my head. Cocooning is the term I would say most aptly captures what I have been doing. My dad passed away just a few of weeks ago and although he was almost 92 and lived a wonderful life filled with love and art and family, his passing has hit me harder than I expected. And so my body reacted and has left me unable to do much. I haven’t even been able to journal or sit down to write much this past month (though with this blog, perhaps I am re-emerging). Instead, I have been reading voraciously. I borrowed countless books from the library in both digital and print form and I have been going from book to book absorbing all that I can. I have read several novels and romances. But mostly I have read reflective books on spirituality, relationships and life.
I have also been spending a great deal of time just sitting in my newly created pillow fort with my cat Anubis, thinking and pondering just about everything imaginable. (Anubis knows it as his kitty fort because he pretty much took it over as soon as I made it.) The quiet time in my head is allowing me to integrate all that I am contemplating. Because of this huge change in my life—the loss of my dad—my integration and how I re-emerge will probably be different. I am not sure how. But I do know that this month of introspection is teaching me more about myself and about what I want and need in life. And I also know that when I am fully healed I will make more time in my schedule to cocoon on a regular basis.
Being vs. doing is an important distinction in life. For most of us life spins by at a frenzy pace between work and chores and general busy-ness. You are trained to do, do, do! And you are told that just “being” is lazy. You are taught that the more efficient you can be, the better off your life will be. And you are reminded that the more you can get done in a day, the more you should feel proud and satisfied and have a sense of accomplishment. Sure being productive is a good thing, but why can’t we see deep introspection and just “being” as equally productive to our life?
Although I do not recommend that you get sick in order to slow down and go deeply into your thoughts, I do encourage you to take time to cocoon and introspect. I suggest that you take lots of time in your life to just “be” instead of “do.” Winter is traditionally the time to go inside. Because of the winter light—low in the horizon—and the winter cold, staying inside is welcome. Find yourself a sunny room with a southern exposure, or make yourself a cozy and warm pillow or blanket fort and take some time right now to stop and think deeply about your life.
Introspection is an amazing human capacity that can give you such great moments of awakening. And there is still plenty of wintertime left this year for cocooning. Pick up some books on topics that expose you to different perspectives and see what insights you have. You might even decide to make some changes in your life. I wish you warmth and deep thoughts for the remaining winter days.