Blog 107: Mid-Winter’s Gifts
Despite the cold, the snow, the bitter political climate, the pandemic, the fear, the social distance, the confusion, the mistrust, the financial uncertainty, and more, this and every mid-winter has many not-so obvious gifts to offer. As a mid-winter cheer-up, I will mention a few. During the cold, dark time of the year, people have more chances to be introspective, cultivate their creative imagination, and prepare for coming changes than at other times of the year.
Since I practice Acupuncture and teach Qi Gong (Chinese exercises for health) to patients, I appreciate many Chinese cultural perspectives. Taoist and probably also Buddhist meditation, when done regularly, for months or years, with a calm, focused mind, helps people understand who they are and also who they are not. Since the new moon is the calmest time of year, and since new moons in December, January, and February are especially calm, due to winter’s contemplative influence, people have the greatest chance of truly beginning to know who they are as well as understanding and moving toward living fully their place in the Universe. This embarking on self-understanding and living with integrity, is sometimes called the beginning of enlightenment.
Russia is known for its dark, long cold winters. Not only have they helped protect Russia from various invaders, such as Napoleon and Hitler, but they also have provided opportunities for writers, artists musicians, and others to cultivate their art more intensively than they would likely have done in a warmer climate. The Russian culture and winter has produced great male artists, such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, and Wassily Kandinsky in the past, and more recently, many great female artists, including Bella Akhmadulina, Aleksandra Pakhmutova and Natalia Goncharova.
Iceland is known for its cold climate and also for its remarkably successful governments, friendly people, simple lifestyles and prosperity. A combination of cold climate, the fact that Iceland is a fairly small Island, and the policy of the country to not accept many new people as citizens has resulted in a population that is kind, peaceful, trusting, trustworthy, prosperous, or at least comfortable, and happy. I am partial to the Icelandic people, and you would be also, if you ever visit the country. I used to tell a story to illustrate the goodness of these people: if you released your little toddler into a city or town, and taped $20 bills all over the child’s clothing, along with a necklace that gave your name and contact number, you would very soon receive the child unharmed, along with all the money. That is, if an Icelander found your child – I can’t vouch for the actions of tourists.
I could go on, but this will have to do for today. So please make the most of this time of year, and count your blessings, no matter what difficulties we may face. This blog’s offer. Feel free to contact me with any questions about anything in this blog, or any other previous blog. Have a blessed mid-winter.