The Invisible Tasks of Winter...Introspection

Gardening metaphor:  Presume we are the garden, the gardener and the plant in the garden.  Each season requires a different task of the gardener.  Spring is about planning, preparation and gathering resources.  Summer is about establishing a routine, working in the garden every day; essentially being a servant to the garden.  In the fall, we harvest the fruit of our labor but it requires us to go out every day, decide which fruit is ripe and then what to do with it.   Winter is the time of evaluation, renewal and rebirth.  Symbolically it is the season and process of death and rebirth.

WHAT?  What are the tasks of death and rebirth?  Often in the winter and in crisis, a person often feels lonely, depressed, confused, anxious and overwhelmed…not knowing what to do nor who they are.  The re-orientation or re-framing these feelings as part of the natural process of change can help a person move toward a hopeful and meaningful growth.  Re-framing these feelings and experience as a natural part of winter, invites the individual to participate in the seemingly invisible processes of change and growth.  In winter, the private or unseen task involves introspection. 

The first task involves self-reflective evaluation and figuring out lessons learned.  What went well in our garden; what did not go well and what might we do differently next season?  If we do not do this evaluation, we are doomed to planting the same darn garden.  A definition of insanity; is to continue to do the same thing but expect different results.

The second task is forgiving and letting go.  This surrendering allows us to further drop down or dive deep inside our self.  The essential question is:  Who am I?  Eventually we drop into our self and discover…Oh here I am! 

“Ok, I am here…now what?”  Now that we have found our Self, then what?  Well we continue to stumble around in the dark (remember its winter, dark and cold).  Therefore, we stumble around for awhile…feeling around for anything warm or looking for a spark.  Eventually we discover something…a little spark…and we start to wonder about it, to dream about it, to imagine it.  Then it begins to consume our consciousness and we realize that it’s a seed that has germinated in the dark.  It has set roots in our consciousness.  The soil has been warmed by our imagination.  The seed has sent up a shoot that is now breaking through the surface of the soil and reaching for sunlight. 

The seed that has germinated and is now reaching for the sun.  It is our passion/dream/love.  Now the time to decide to commit to following our passion, then announce this is what we are planting in our garden for the next season.  And, as a good gardener, we must now protect our small seedling and start to make plans, gather resources and get the garden readied for the spring planting.

The searching for and discovering our soul; results in a new sense of self and existential meaning.  The winter season is the natural time to withdraw, hibernate and introspect.  It is a time for the introspective process of evaluation, touching our soul, discovering and imagining something new.   Winter becomes a long awaited and anticipated time to rest and spend some time by our self.  In a sense it becomes a time to revisit our roots and knowing that it is an important part of renewal and therefore growth.   

The gardening metaphor simply is the framework and process of Imagining, Preparing, Doing, Harvesting and then Introspecting.   Discovering our passions/love/dreams hopefully inspires and motivates us to make space for and to plant a garden.  Then, the process of bring them into existence and fruition occurs by preparation, work and harvesting.  This is the metaphor of “Gardens of the Soul.” 

Recognizing that the process of gardening and growing is a fractal and perennial pattern; it encourages us to recognize and use the metaphor to help make sense and guide us in applying it to different situations.

Thank you for visiting!  In addition, please make comments; ask questions or any feedback/critiques.

Peace, Love and Light!

Tim Justice