Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hibernation


In some spiritual traditions that evolved in a time when technology had not yet overcome nature to the extent it has today, winter is considered a time of hibernation, of rest.  Not literally sleeping for months, but allowing oneself a time of rest spiritually, emotionally, psychologically.  Although I understand the value in that, I don't like the concept personally.  I don't like stopping and resting.  I have it in my head that I must always be accomplishing something, moving forward, having some result to point to at the end of each day.  What this translates to, really, is that I believe I have to justify my existence by external results, I have to prove my worth as a human being each day anew.  Those words even look exhausting when I look at them, and on top of that, they don't mesh with my worldview.

Why would a person who believes that human beings have innate value simply because they are human beings demand of himself a constant stream of evidence that he is valuable?  I'm sure somewhere back in my childhood there was some lesson learned that led to that conclusion, but the point now is that I realize how ludicrous and unachievable that demand is.  Yet on the other side of that demand, I am still resistant to the idea of hibernation.  What if I get into rest mode and never get back into growth mode?  I don't want to be lazy.  I don't want to be worthless... a ha... so we're not really on the other side of that demand.  It can be a challenge to change what one thinks about oneself.

Which is why I am grateful for the move and the transition away from the built-in demands I had established in my previous routine.  For one thing, living just a few hours north of where I was, it feels more like winter.  For another thing, I was emotionally and psychologically worn out by the preparation for and execution of the move.  I find it easier to rest when I am actually tired.  So, this idea of hibernation is starting to make sense to me.  I don't need to prove anything or accomplish anything right now.  I'm not going to lose my place, and I'm not going to stop being creative and intelligent just because I take a little time off from my demands.  Although I don't really know this to be true, I have a suspicion that I will jump back into creating something meaningful when "winter" cycles into spring.


I'm still fulfilling a couple of accompanying contracts.  I'm still getting the new home in order.  I'm still interacting with people.  But for now, I am letting the winter coax me into some emotional and psychological down time, free of my typical demands.  The interesting thing is that resting from my demands about what I do external to myself opens space for a different kind of growth.  Creating evidence that is visible to me and other people about my value is a bit of a drain.  During a time of rest, there is still activity inside of my own psyche, connections being drawn, ideas being incubated... the kind of inner work that may actually lead to an easier manifestation of creativity and forward motion when the time is right.   

1 comment:

  1. Well said. I've come to appreciate the part "hibernation" plays in renewal and to be grateful for the opportunities I have to do it, rather than feel guilty about them.

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