More Winter Musings

Photo This is what it looked like in South Philly this morning. I can practically smell the hot cocoa and the crackling firewood.  

Winter storms like this can be intimidating yet inviting; it's useful to know when to stay indoors and when to go outside.

I'm not sure which is more challenging, the winter weather outside, or our own internal winters. 

photo courtesy of JF

"Our inward winters take many forms–failure, betrayal, depression, death. But every one of them, in my experience, yields to the same advice: 'The winters will drive you crazy until you get out into them.  Until we enter boldly into the fears we most want to avoid, those fears will dominate our lives. But when we walk directly into them–protected from frostbite by the warm garb of friendship or inner discipline or spiritual guidance–we can learn what they have to teach us. Then, we discover once again that the cycle of the seasons is trustworthy and life-giving, even in the most dismaying season of all." 

–Parker Palmer

I love what Parker says about what steadies us when we walk directly into our fears: friendship, inner discipline, or spiritual guidance.  Ideally, I prefer a three-pronged approach that uses all three of these resources. Ultimately, we walk through our fears alone and accompanied in some way. I need to experience my own autonomy, and I need safe, supportive encouragement as I walk alone.  

I imagine it's a little bit like a toddler's first few steps; the parents need to allow the little one to wobble along, to fall down, and to cultivate the ability to get back up and keep walking, even with a few tears and a quivering lip.

What new steps are before you today? What sources of support are available as you bravely walk through your internal winter? Where and with whom do you find spiritual guidance or encouragement?