how i’m surviving the bleak midwinter (& ready for a new year)

in keeping with my unintentional musical theme this week, a song popped into my head this morning as i sat on my sofa. have a listen to what i am listening to…

it is unbelievably gray outside as i type this. i think that it’s going to be a little like twilight all day. the past few days, the ground has been icy and hard and definitely wintery. the mist has frozen, the wind has been frigid, and it has felt like winter’s grip took hold for a few days, giving me a feeling of a cozy, crisp, frigid nordic december.

but, that feeling did not last for long. and as i sit here, listening to “in the bleak midwinter”, the temperature is rising outside. the ice is melting and the air is hovering just above the freezing mark. crazily, it will continue to climb and hold steady at about 40-50 F (7-10C) through christmas.

so, it will not be a white christmas for us up here in the nordic country (except way up near the arctic circle). and that makes it most definitely a bleak midwinter.

you see, when it doesn’t snow in sweden during this exact time of year, just a few days away from the longest night of the year (the winter solstice), then it is pure darkness that engulfs us. there is no bright, white soft stuff to brighten up the long nights. and so, this winter. right now. it is extremely, extremely dark. with less than 6 hours of daylight. this is the worst kind of december weather that we can have.

dark winter morning

you know, i am tired today. i’ve worked quite a bit this week, most of it really good (only some super grumpy encounters with a few grinch-y, scrooge-y customers at the photo boutique). all in all, though, it’s been good. but, this morning, before i head out to work again. i have settled and slowed just enough to let my feelings swirl around inside of me.

and what i feel today is a pinch of bleakness around me.  slow, melancholy, darkness in the air, in lives of others,  mimicking the weather outside.

i’ve noticed on Facebook that many people are posting a little summary of 2015 that Facebook is providing for its users. and, some of my friends have been remarking that they are more than happy to see 2015 go.

and, now as i sit here in the gray bleakness, with a few moments to myself, i have to agree.

now, don’t get me wrong. 2015 was not horrible, or the worst year of my life, or even bad, for me. but, oh my lord, it has been intense. it has been challenging. and it has not been exactly fun all of the time.

at the same time, there have been wonderful amazing moments of freedom and laughter. there have been good times filled with soul-touching memories and experiences.

but, i must say, more than anything, it has been empowering.

the empowerment has come at a price, though. learning to harness and accept and use the power that i have within me has not come easy. learning to live from that power, using it every day, has been even harder. but, in the end, i that been worth it… because i am not at all the same person that i was in the beginning of the year. and something told me, as i entered 2015 that it would be an intense year. a deep year. a challenging + tough year.

however, finding that empowerment within, has done something so amazing for me. it has taught me the way of living in the midst of calm, stability in the midst of any- and everything. i believe that it is something that is like the buddhists speak of when then speak of detachment. or as they speak of going with the flow in taoism.

for me, it is a sense of knowing and feeling and living balance, no matter what may happen. to feeling and letting go. of accepting and moving forward. of realizing that i am more than my thoughts and emotions. that, in truth, what i am (and you are too) is love and light and freedom. that i have the power within to choose how i will act, respond, believe, and live every second of my life.

now, i am no pro at living like this, as i have just begun i feel. but, i have definitely begun.

stars windows sweden darkness

yes, 2015, it is almost time for you to go. it is almost time to turn the page and begin a new chapter. and i am more than happy to do so.

in this bleak midwinter, which seems to so perfectly sum up my 2015, the calm in the midst of the gray, i hold fast to my feeling of empowerment. not every day is sunny. or warm. or bright. (literally + figuratively). but, it is what it is. and finding the power within to allow whatever comes, just come. to accept, breathe, equalize, and expand keeps me grounded + connected. it gives me strength. and empowers me even more.

so, here i am. still feeling gray and bleak, like the weather outside. about to head off to work. if i get stuck up in my head + think about a lot of things, then i feel even more bleak and gray. but, if i breathe in this moment and connect with my soul, noticing the good that is right here, right now, then i find an incredibly magical way to live in the present moment. and, while the bleakness is still around me, i know that it, too, shall pass. and i shall continue on. living this life that i have been given. because, it is all i have. and i want to squeeze as much amazingness out of every single second that i can.

i wish that for you too. i wish you empowerment and the joy of feeling alive and moments of peace, even in the bleak midwinter.

this may the darkest time of the year for us in the northern hemisphere, and a dark time across the globe for all of us in one way or another. but, in one week, light will begin returning. keep holding on, my friends, my fellow cave dwellers. hold on with all of your might. light is on its way soon.

and, in the meantime, the darkness still has much to teach us. there is much to prepare as we set our sights on beginning a whole new adventure with a whole new year.

advent blessings in the dark. xoxo


mark your calendars for the last week of december…. i will have a “find your word of the year” workshop series on the blog! you do not want to miss this opportunity to take charge of your life and set your intentions for 2016. it will be amazing. xx 

One thought on “how i’m surviving the bleak midwinter (& ready for a new year)

  1. Such an important lesson that gray, dreary, or stressful days can teach us – that we have to choice to feel the way we do and that we can choose to take action (even — maybe even particularly — in the form of “nonaction” such as meditation or slow living or breathing) to make our days what they are. That we have the strength and the ability to decide for ourselves.Finding/connecting with that strength within is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and to live from that place is truly a free, happy way to be. From what you write it sounds as if you’ve been connected to this for quite some time, but I’m so glad this feeling of deep connection and well-being is at the forefront right now for you during the holiday season and during time of struggle for those you love. I can sense your strength from thousands of miles away and I know that your presence (that you have given yourself) is being given to those around you. This is the most special, amazing, and highest honor you can give as a human, and so even just your finding peace and contentment in a gray day is so meaningful to read, Liz. Thank you. xoxo

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