Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
~ Pietro Aretino
One of the things I'm wanting to committ to weekly this winter is writing handwritten letters (desiring to revive the lost art) and sending some of my photo cards to people who I want to thank, those who may need a bright lift to their day, a special way to keep in touch with those I care about. So excited to use my beautiful new fountain pens. (I think I'm becoming a pen snob!)
Winter, especially January has typically been the most difficult time of year for me: the letdown after the excitement of the holiday season with nothing really to look forward to, the dark short days and bitter cold, the dreaded "inversion" and poor air quality settling in our valley that never seems to end-- all these aspects of the season seem to negatively effect me.
For the last few years, my attitude about winter has been changing. I'm slowly learning to embrace and look for the joys that come with this time of year. This year, I'm actually looking forward to this time of hibernation and creativity. A special season of the year where I can slow down and follow the natural world's lead. Allowing myself to physically and emotionally rest, renew, and draw inward. Deeply intrigued with the Danish concept of "Hygge"-- an intentional way of life meant to celebrate winter's coziness, connection, and contentment. A state of mind that I desire, too, but need to deliberately create.
I took some time last week to visualize and write down some of the ways I want to embrace this season.
A big part of my winter will be given to creating. This slower time of year is a perfect time for all kinds of projects and creative pursuits. I was happy to have recently found the delightful Welshman Michael Nobbs and his wonderful website Sustainable Creativity. So many simple ideas to live a creative life (the man knits and crochets!), as well as enjoying listening to some of his very gentle and encouraging One Thing Today podcasts (his deep British accent so lovely to listen to.) He encourages creative folks to brainstorm a big list of all the possible projects that sound interesting-- putting priority on 4 or 5 that spark joy, or "put a tingle to your tummy". Then, every day giving focused attention on one of these creative pursuits. Organizing my horrid hall closet this week counts as creativity in my book!
His favorite tool in the creative process is a simple kitchen timer. Setting a time for 20 minutes (it could be more or less given the day and energy of a person) gives a "creative container of time" to one's day... small, but consistent daily prioritized effort and devotion to creativity really does add up to a great body of work to be proud of. I know this is true in my own creative life.
My art is a joy and a priority to me this winter. Through enrollment in my online art courses of Sketchook Skool and Unearth Gather Create (as well as being part of some terrific Facebook communities where we share our work and encourage each other) I have committed to keeping a daily illustrated journal of my world and every day life. I am learning to not only draw and paint, but growing in my ability to see the world around me. My understanding about myself and self-confidence is deepening and these are gifts, too.
So there you have it. My winter wellness plan. Here's to surrendering to slow, to rest, to creativity, to cozy. As I settle in and embrace this winter, I send my best wishes and sincere desires for a beautiful and peaceful season to you, as well.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Hi, I'm Emily!
I welcome and thank you for visiting. Through this blog, I invite you, friends or strangers, to come and abide with me as I open my heart and home to you in understanding, honesty, discovery, and reflection. It is my hope that you will join me in my quest for a simple, joyful, meaningful life.