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When the winds of winter swirl around our feet, raising the dying leaves toward the sky, lifting the dust and darkening the sun, our inclination is to retreat, hiding from the cold as nature's storms rage with long duration. Spanning the time between the wealth of the fall harvest and the new growth of spring, winter's chaos represents a much needed period of rest and renewal.

Just as the rains of winter fuel the growth of spring, we can benefit from this stormy time. In Spiritual Literacy, Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat advise us to use this time for refueling . "What mystics have always known has been confirmed by physics and ecology--all things are intercommitted. What happens in one place affects all places. We are finally settling into a period when the dueling dualisms of the past are giving way to holistic thinking. The separations between mind and body, human nature and the natural world, are being scraped for a new project--the reenchantment of the world."

Chaos, often encountered in midlife, provides a means for us to reflect upon events, grieve our losses and embrace a final resolution of the past while preparing for the future. "Midlife is a time of inner work -- a time to bring our lives under our own authority. It's a time when we shift our forces away from the practical concerns of the first half of our lives toward a search for a deeper meaning," counsels Stephanie Marston in If Not Now, When? "Midlife is about remembering. Remembering who we truly are. Remembering our visions, hopes and dreams. Remembering our deepest yearnings. It about remembering what we've lost and reclaiming it. Midlife is a time when we've come finally into our own, reclaiming our strength, passion, viability, wisdom and compassion. It's a time for which every woman can emerge a new person."

Essential questions of self spring to mind as we remember our visions, hopes and dreams:

If I am not for myself, who is for me?
If I am only for myself, who am I?
And if not now, when?
~Hillel

Going to our core, we naturally tend to strive for balance and renewal, hoping to find fulfillment while hibernating or struggling through the chaos. Seeking resolution and clarity enables us to respectfully separate days gone by and prepare for the approaching year. In Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi emphasizes this important process. "In the lives of many people it is possible to find a unifying purpose that justifies the things they do day in, day out -- a goal that like a magnetic field attracts their psychic energy, a goal upon which all lesser goals are deferred. This goal will define the challenges that a person needs to face in order to transform his or her life into a flow activity. Without such a purpose, even the best ordered consciousness lacks meaning."

While chaos might temporarily block our spiritual growth, it also provides a chance to free our souls from undue restrictions, moving into a period of free flowing enchantment and to reconnect with our sense of wonder at the creativity and beauty of a world in transition.

By Loretta Kemsley
Publisher/President
Women Artists and Writers International
Writer, Editor and Editorial Coach

Loretta Kemsley's Personal Portfolio: Women's Writings
http://lores.lair.moondance.org/


 
 
 

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