Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday morsel: "the very heart of the season" (from Parker Palmer)

I used this quote about a year ago in my blog post "into the winter world," but given the unrelenting cold, snowy, icy weather we've had so far this winter (and it's not even the end of January yet!), I thought it was worth repeating.  

It's from one of my favourite books, Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer.  In this chapter he connects the natural seasons to the seasons of our lives.  Here are his thoughts on winter.  A year after my first posting them, they seem even more meaningful and relevant to me:


"In the Upper Midwest, newcomers often receive a classic piece of wintertime advice:  'The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.'  Here people spend good money on warm clothing so that they can get outdoors and avoid the 'cabin fever' that comes from huddling fearfully by the fire during the hard-frozen months.  If you live here long, you learn that a daily walk into the winter world will fortify the spirit by taking you boldly to the very heart of the season you fear.

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 learn to 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."

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6 comments:

  1. That is a powerful quote, Jeannie. The winters we face physically and the ones we face inwardly are both real, and don't stop existing just because we try to ignore them. Thanks for the reminder that dealing with them straightforwardly is the most healthy way to get through them. Who knows, we might find great pleasure results.

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    1. Thanks, Tim, for that. I've received a lot of wisdom from Palmer's book and I know he is right, even on days (like today -- high winds, whiteouts, wind chill, no school-buses running) when permanent hibernation seems appealing!

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  2. This is very encouraging to me today, Jeannie. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome, Judy -- and getting your comment is encouraging to me! Have a great day.

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  3. I love the quote too! I've often thought of the physical seasons as a metaphor for our lives. I'm thinking about winter as a season of REST this year. But I like the analogy of facing our fears head on!

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    1. I usually think of winter that way too; it seems more normal for the winter season to be depicted as that restful, hibernating time, the time when growth goes on under the snow that we don't see and can't control, etc. But Palmer's approach is different; I like it! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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