Nature’s Remedy

January 10, 2015

View through a frosty windshield

View through a frosty windshield

“When it is wintertime in your life, you are going through pain, difficulty, or turbulence.  At such times it is wise to follow the instinct of nature and withdraw into yourself.  When it is winter in your soul, it is unwise to pursue any new endeavors.  You have to lie low and shelter until this bleak, emptying time passes on.  This is nature’s remedy.  It minds itself in hibernation.  When there is great pain in your life, you, too, need sanctuary in the shelter of your own soul.”
— John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

This has been a winter of hibernation for me.  My interior landscape seems to mirror the gray monochromatic winter outside.  I don’t mind withdrawing, pulling back, letting go of ambitions while I re-group and lie fallow.  I just wish I were a more skilled thinker.  My thoughts seem to scatter all over the place.  I wonder if I ever have anything original to say.  My habit of copying quotes from my reading — words and phrases that resonate with me — makes it so easy to defer to other people’s voices.  They seem much more skilled at saying what I mean than I do!

Here’s a scary thought:  what would happen if I stopped reading books, even for a month or a year.  Would I start hearing my own voice more clearly?  (I can tell how addicted I am to reading by how absolutely reluctant I am to act on this idea!!)  Do I need to reclaim my own life?




8 Responses to “Nature’s Remedy”

  1. Elisa Says:

    I am waving my hand madly in the air!! I want to say to you the things you say to me when I state that I cannot paint and that I am frustrated that I cannot get to come out in paint what I can say with photography or with my writing. All things can be played at, not all things can be mastered. Your thoughts are still forming and a Higher Power grants to you words and quotes that give expression and joy to your innards. I suppose that you can turn off these doors granted to you, however then, you may just become more frustrated at not having an expression. I believe this is healthy and a tool for you, not an addiction. Though, I must say, I only see what I see, and I only partly see what you try to show me. I wish you peace, even if that peace for you, is full of passion!

  2. Clare Says:

    For me, this has been the case. I must still my mind, forego any ‘busy work’ and let my soul talk to me. May you accept that it’s not one or the other, but a good balance that works for most. 🙂

  3. Anne Timlick Says:

    I drew so much from your notes today! Consolation, especially, and many connections with my own winter experience.
    You said it all without quoting any one else but your own being.
    I appreciate finding you in my mailbox……especially today!

  4. Janet McIntosh Says:

    We humans! First, I want to make more time for reading. Then, is it too much reading? Should I read less and think more? Then, my mind is just going around and around; if I could only stop thinking and be still!

  5. Diana Studer Says:

    I am so glad to be back to a real library, back to a book a day or three (days).
    Now reading Lisa See – Dreams of joy
    and lost in communist China in the years just after I was born.
    Your quotes, in turn, focus my mind.
    Somewhere in Anam Cara is
    I give you a nothingness to fill.
    That speaks to me, I’ve always collected beautiful boxes, and they stand empty, waiting to be ‘filled’.

  6. shoreacres Says:

    After thinking about this for a couple of days, this is all I can offer:

    I take experience, and turn it into words. Maybe you take words, and turn them into art.

    I know, for me, any experience will do. A day cleaning the refrigerator can be as much inspiration as a museum visit, or a grand concert.

    Maybe for you, any words will do. As long as you recognize them, and can embrace them, what difference does it make whether they have come from someone else, or from your own imaginings?

    None of us is entirely original, after all. We collect our bits, then turn them round, as if in a kaleidoscope. It’s the turning that matters as much as the bits.

    • Rosemary Says:

      I suppose one constantly makes adjustments as one goes through life, and my post was just an expression of being out of balance (again). It was (is) time to read for fewer hours and spend more time in primary (real) experiences. Either type of experience — real or imagined — is enhanced or made more meaningful for me by subsequent reflection. Any of these parts can become out of balance and then I seem stressed! And this is life.

  7. Elisa Says:

    I have still been thinking of this post periodically as I go through my days. I just bumped into this:


    It doesn’t have to be
    the blue iris, it could be
    weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
    small stones; just
    pay attention, then patch

    a few words together and don’t try
    to make them elaborate, this isn’t
    a contest but the doorway

    into thanks, and a silence in which
    another voice may speak.”

    — Mary Oliver, from Thirst

    And it reminded me again.

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