Taking time to rest and recharge is vital. It’s something we’ve been more intentional about this year as we prepare our studio and our families for another year of growth and evolution. When I was younger, I felt like there was no time to rest. But now I understand better, that growth follows rest, rest follows growth. Just as the plants have a dormant period in the Winter, we too require periods of time to recharge and rejuvenate. To slow down, to be. Constant growth provides no place or time for reflection, and careless growth, or growth for growth’s sake, will leave us feeling empty.
After all of the anticipation and excitement and build up towards the holidays we find ourselves pulling into January with a sense of placelessness. The days prior have had little structure (but LOTS of dishes) with breakfast turning into lunch turning into dinner as someone is always coming into the kitchen hungry just as someone else is leaving it having filled their tummy. This period of excess and celebration feels right. It feels almost necessary after a full year—a way to say goodbye to one year and prepare us for the process of welcoming another. When that new year begins all of that lack of schedule and orientation has us craving a sense of what day it is, craving structure, order, and place again... and quiet time, especially quiet time outdoors.
If the weather permits, our family takes a woods walk on new year’s day. Our bodies are craving that connection to the outside world, and we feel like spending that time outside helps us come back to reconnect with that interior landscape more fully and with a deeper sense of appreciation. During this season, the walks tend to be shorter or brisker, but with the trees nearly bare, those shorter walks feel just as powerful as we can see farther into the forests. The light is softer, easier to ingest and enjoy. With each step, the ground crinkles with its welcoming carpet of dried leaves, Autumn’s gifts. It’s grounding. It’s still. Still enough to hear the faintest sounds. In this place, we find renewal and restoration. In the cold, damp air, we feel alive and nourished by the simple, yet profound reality of simply being alive on this beautiful little patch of Earth, with all that we could ever need.
When we come back inside our bodies ask for nourishment in a different way. There is still a need for comfort, but it is a gentle ask of comfort from a healing place not the one of excess from a month ago. We always crave soup the most at this time of year. Chowders, stews, chilis. The warmth, the smells, the knowledge that it will be even better tomorrow for lunch or that we can double the recipe and share with a friend or a neighbor. Next to baking recipes, soup recipes are our favorite to share. This month we’ve made French Onion, Chicken Chowder, Creamy Tortellini, and a Curry Carrot Soup. What these soups have in common is that they all help us feel cared for.
It is in caring for ourselves in these sustainable and life giving ways (woods walks, soup, quiet time) that allow us to be truly present and awake to our ideas, dreams, and hopes for the seasons ahead. How can we prepare if there is no clarity? And how can we find clarity if there is no rest? Something, I like to think about and ask myself, is this — “Does this support the life I’m trying to create?” This simple question helps me view elements of life from different perspectives. When I’m in the weeds, it pulls me toward a higher birds eye view. When I’m overwhelmed and stuck about what to do next, it can help shed light on the best next step to take.
So while it may look like dormancy on the surface, all flower growers and gardeners know that the happenings during these crucial Winter months are what prepare the soil, the foundation, for the beautiful, bountiful blooms and harvest to come in their due time.
Take time to care & prepare your soul.
Megan, Gaëlle, & Katherine