Longer days and Spring is in sight

When I started this journey, My Winter Season, back in October I was in a different frame of mind. I had a business that was approaching its 1 year anniversary and I was preparing to direct my first pantomime.

Fast forward to March and the panto is done and dusted, with a good review, and my business is growing day by day as I put in place all the goals I set out at the start of the year. I also got engaged, made new friends and discovered new places to explore. It’s been a fun 5 months and I find it is important to reflect every now and again, just to recognise the progress you’re making.

I’m enjoying this change of seasons, the lighter days, warmer temperatures and seeing flowers open up to Spring. The blossom beaming out on a sunny day and the blue skies that put you in a good mood.

Blossom in Spring

There is a definite change in the air, you can feel it. More of a buzz in the air as the ground awakens from its deep sleep. The birds are louder, you start to spot bees and butterflies making the most of the pollen on the early flowers and the trees are stretching out branches ready to welcome leaves again in the Spring.

With this change in pace, there is often a momentum inside us that makes us speed up again. We feel we should be out doing things again. The quietness of Winter is overtaken by a hive of activity as we approach Spring. Lawnmowers come out, people get out on their bikes at weekends and woodlands and footpaths are crowded by people. It’s as if we’ve had our own kind of hibernation, in a different way, and now we need to get out.

My commitment to myself for Spring is to enjoy it. To continue to stop and stare, to slow down and notice things and to allow myself to soak in the new colours, sounds and smells in nature.

And if you ever find yourself being carried along in the hubbub of activity, I always find my peace by standing under a tree and looking up. The branches breaking up the skies, a gentle sway in the wind, trunks that tell their own stories and that sense of being rooted, strong and secure, into this Earth.

Look up at the birch tree

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We’re only human

Sometimes I think we forget that beneath our shiny exterior we are all beautifully broken, fallible creatures. And that’s ok.

We make mistakes, we have regrets because we don’t always do what we should. We experience, we try new things and we work out what suits us and what doesn’t. We rebel, we ignore, we go off and explore and we feed the raw, pure animal side of us. Then we return to our human selves and we’re told that what we’ve done is wrong. For whatever reason, society says that is just not done.

What is a life without experiences? Whether they are wrong or right is down to opinion and we get to decide that for ourselves. Something which looks bad to one person is exciting to another, just as night time can be scary to one person but beautiful to another. And like nature itself, we must find our own way to grow, decide when we are ready to bloom.

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Have you noticed that a bunch of daffodils don’t all flower at the same time? Be a daffodil and decide when you want to open up and be seen and when you’d rather remain closed. No one judges a daffodil and says they’re not all flowering, how rebellious, so why do we judge other people so harshly.

We are all human. We all have different experience and sometimes we cross paths with others who lead us on different paths to what we would usually choose. Sometimes we spring back, and sometimes it leads us on a whole new journey. Allow yourself to go on different journeys.

Although this post isn’t specifically about nature, it dawned on me that this awakening of Spring flowers is often a question of seeing which one blooms first and allowing them to flower in their own way and on their terms. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we let people do the same?

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Returning to the lighter days

Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months and you realise you haven’t blogged for ages!

I’m back. I feel like a lot has changed since I last wrote. It’s been busy. Life, commitments, the world demanding more of me and I’ve been trying to go with it.

The days are beginning to stretch out for longer now and we see daylight when we leave work which makes all the difference. On a clear, crisp day with the sun shining, you could almost mistake it for Spring.

The birds are singing loudly and the bulbs are starting to come up from their winter hibernation. Signs of life creeping out.

And I feel like I’ve been in my own hibernation these last few weeks. I’ve been directing a panto, reflecting on friendships, growing my business and always on the go.

At the weekend, I took time out to go for a walk in my favourite woodland. To see the snowdrops, breathe in oxygen, stop and listen to the birds, see the crocus flowers and just be. It was so refreshing.

Sometimes all we need is to step outside and look up. Yet I find it’s been easy to just keep working indoors, to be glued to a screen and make excuses.

It was my birthday recently and I’m using it as a turning point to commit to the outdoors, even if it’s just stepping into the garden for 5 minutes.

Nature is powerful and can release our worries or stresses. The more we spend time in it, the better we feel. I know that. So I want to be in it more. I don’t have to get in a car to be in nature, I don’t have to walk far, but by saying I want to see nature more, I am making a pledge to myself to be kinder to myself, to honour my need for outdoor space, openness and greenery.

Here’s to February being the start of more walks, more woods, more fields, more fresh air and more me time.

Nature is the best therapy out there!

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When everything starts to come together

Whilst grey days and cold snaps have reminded us that we are still in winter, there is a definite undertone of joy at this time of year. It’s a time of new intentions, fresh starts and inspired decisions.

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In my own life, I started the new year with an engagement by proposing to my partner on our New Year’s Day walk. It felt like such good timing and suddenly all that had come beforehand made complete sense. It had all led me to this place at just the right time. The Universe yet again reminding me that everything happens for a reason!

This year is all about building for me. Building on the progress I made last year with my business to grow it further. Building a happy home and relationship. Building new friendships and strengthening the ones I already have. Honouring my own interests by committing to hobbies that bring me joy and also building in downtime.

I used to love being out every night of the week, but now I need at least one evening with no plans, just to be quiet and catch up on wherever I’m at. I’ve found this winter that I’ve already started doing more of this. I’ve caught myself pausing to watch the sunset out of the window, losing myself in a colouring book and going out for long walks on my own.

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We’re always building on something, really, it’s just nice to consciously recognise what you’re doing and where you want to go with it. And when you don’t know exactly where to go with it, put it out to the Universe and you’re sure to get something back.

 

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Time to get perspective

This downtime between Christmas and New Year throws me off course. Not everyone is off work and yet not everyone is at work. Do we relax? Do we get back into a routine? Who knows!

I do know that this time of year is perfect for taking a step back and getting perspective. Nature shows us how to do this in the raindrops on branches and the reflections of trees in still lakes. All we have to do is look closely.

Raindrop on a tree branch

Raindrops offer a different perspective when you look more closely.

Now is a time to look back on our year and set intentions for 2019. I know for me the new year will be about getting focused on driving growth for my new business and carving out more time to spend time with people I care about.

I am channelling more energy into people who lift me up and make me feel good and putting less into relationships and people that bring me down. I am conserving my energy for what feels right and not caring as much about what people may say.

I think these quotes are a wonderful way of summarising what I am working towards. Based on the Law of Attraction, they recognise that are minds are far more powerful than we think:

“All that we are is a result of what we have thought.”

~Buddha

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way, you are right.”

~ Henry Ford

“Everything is energy. You are an energy magnet, so you electrically energise everything to you and electrically energise yourself to everything you want”

~ Rhonda Byrne

Beautiful words to set the right tone for the coming year. I’m taking time now to reflect, get perspective and take walks in nature to breathe in fresh air and energy and breathe out negativity and blockers.

Reflection of tree on lake

Reflections in nature

Wishing you all best wishes for 2019!

 

 

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Giving back and giving in

Winter can be magical, cold, beautiful, dark, peaceful, depressing and many more things but one thing it does teach us about is the importance of surrender.

The harshness of winter is the perfect backdrop for hibernation and rest but many of us refuse to give in. That overlap of night into day is a deliberate effort from nature to teach us to switch off our own lights and go inside, whatever that means to you. Reflect, get cosy, plan, cook or just be.

Twilight tree

I am not good at surrendering to rest, I will always find something else to do. Usually it’s something trivial or something that isn’t a priority and yet, at that moment, it seems vitally important.

Recently I have found that some days I am overcome by a feeling of complete exhaustion, a sign from my body to rest, stop, put on the brakes. And I have to, because I physically and mentally don’t have the energy. When I do take this time to switch off, I know I reap rewards. My brain has time to process what is going on, my body rests and a feeling of control and peacefulness washes over me. Why then is it so hard to do?

I believe that one of the ways to achieve a similar feeling to giving in is to give back. I already do some volunteering in my community and I love to be around like-minded people, all working towards the same project or goal. It’s a time for me to switch off from my own tasks or worries and focus my mind on something else. My voluntary roles are involved in the outdoors, so it’s even easier to let go of what’s in my head. I can breathe and be distracted by whatever project we’re working on at the nature reserve or in the woodland.

Colourful berries on a bush

So my theory for a peaceful winter is to give in by giving back. Take time for yourself by doing something that matters to you. A local project, a cause you feel passionate about, or just helping a friend. It is in this way that I know I can manage my need to always be on the go when the world outside is saying it’s time to rest.

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The illusion (or delusion) of wintery weather

Misty mornings. When the view outside is distorted and suddenly the everyday landscape becomes unfamiliar and strange.

It’s funny how the mist can distort our sense of perspective, much like how the weather can have an affect on our mood. A rainy day can make you feel sad or lonely, just like the mist can make you feel lost.

I find that this time of year, when the landscape looks a lot more brown than green, we are more susceptible to looking at things through a slightly greyed – out lens. We no longer have the rose-tinted glasses of the new year, or the amber tints of summer sunlight, and it all seems a bit darker, a bit less enchanting.

But where there is life there is light. This photo I took didn’t turn out as expected, I wanted the berries in focus. But it perfectly demonstrates how our focus can be altered to see only the mass of brown rather than the colourful stems and the berries. Much like our tendencies towards negativity over positivity, we are always better at focusing on things that are bad rather than the good.

And that doesn’t help when it comes to winter. We have to train our brains to see the best bits. I did this by looking at beautiful details in nature everyday. It turned into my Instagram profile @365_dayswild so I could record my observations and share them. Whilst I don’t always share images everyday, I always see beautiful details each day. It could be something as beautiful as a rainbow, or something understated like morning dew settled on the grass. Whatever it is, I take time to notice it. And I find that the more time I spend noticing nature, the more peaceful I become.

So this illusion that winter weather is all grey and dull doesn’t stand. We are delusional. There is beauty everywhere. All around us a world full of beautiful details, we just need to choose to stop and notice it.

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