I've lived a good portion of my life now in a place where winter is part of the cycle. As a child in Florida temperatures in the low 60s and 50s was winter. Many of the trees didn't even lose their greenery. When we moved I experienced snow as part of my reality for the first time. The length of the days also varied so much more. I found myself cold for a good portion of the year. This was due to do the fact that I really didn't have winter clothes. I had no clue how to dress for it and really didn't have the proper attire until the last few years. Some people think me fanatical about all the layers I wear and the lengths I go to so that I am warm but my body does not tolerate cold well, and being cooped up inside tends to lend itself to depression in my case.
So we approach the winter solstice now, the long night of the year. We are in the heart of winter's country. I will of course drum at the height of the dark to welcome back the light. I also have the advantage of being involved with a shamanic weather circle where we seek to receive teachings from weather and better build relationships with it. This time we went to speak to the spirit of winter.
The spirit of winter looked very much to me like the picture above except a bit more transparent. I asked what would serve me best to release at the solstice; it told me I should release the idea that I am special. (I should point out that shamanism pulls no punches when it comes to your ego). That stung a little bit. Winter went on to say that I cradle my personal hurts and wounds and think that those things make me special, but they really don't. Many people share similar hurts, and I am not that different. Still the cold logic remained to the observation. In our culture we like to think of ourselves as great individuals. There is also a widespread belief that to be happy and successful (and perhaps loved) we need to be special and stand out. This apparently is false according to winter.
I've often felt that there are many people more skilled than I am. I've felt like there are many who are more naturally psychically gifted than I am too. So the whole "I'm not special" thing really stings. The thing is though maybe someone is more gifted, talented, or "special" than I am, but I am the one showing up to do the work. In some of the Discworld books by the late author Terry Pratchett there is a character called Casanunda. He's a dwarf whose business card says "World's second greatest lover...we try harder....stepladders for sale." He is quite persistent and pops up comically several times to save the day and even get the girl (well I use the term girl loosely she was more a geriatric witch with a rather lascivious outlook). As funny as it is though I think I can relate to Casanunda. I've never thought of myself as the best at anything and so I've often defined myself by what I lack. This will not serve me going forward. I need to define myself by what I love.
So why am I rambling on about my own insecurities? Well my fellow winter travelers, I am quite sure you have a few insecurities of your own. You may think that nobody knows the troubles you've seen and nobody knows your sorrows. Well sorry to break it to you, but your pain is probably not all that unique. However you are a unique being. What you love and what lights you up and what you do with that is all you. You don't have to be the best or "special" to matter. That's what winter was telling me and now I'm telling you. You are a facet of creation, a twinkling light in a vast cosmos of awe and wonder. You are one of many and you still matter. So this season let go of your martyrdom monogrammed towels. Step away from your sorrows and their insistence that they give you your identity. We are more than our wounds and our words. We are the breath of life being human in this time and place. Here in Winter's country let us bring warmth into its heart.
Peace and Blessings,