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‘Wintering’ (Katherine May)

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

I have been hugely inspired by Katherine May’s book called ‘Wintering - The Power of Rest and Retreat in difficult Times’. I think I often experience a sense of wintering during February. Katherine’s definition of wintering is not exclusive to the season of Winter though. She writes; ‘Its a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into a role of an outsider.’ She describes a feeling of going to a dark place after an important life event in which she felt herself falling through, like dust slipping in between floorboards. She writes, ‘There are gaps in the mesh of the everyday world, and sometimes they open up and you fall through them to somewhere else..’

She explains in her book how suprisingly comfortable that place felt.


I heard someone on the radion talking about the book amd his experience with ‘wintering’ after a bereavement. He described not being able to speed up, be as efficient as before.


I wonder if we could all do with times of wintering. Especially when life hits us hard (and most of us have been hit hard lately by the pandemic). Slow down, retreat, allow ourselves to feel how we feel; sometimes with the help of people we can trust. Be mindful of ourselves and our needs. Rest and reflect. And be ok with it - without feeling guilty or ashamed. Why do we judge ourseves negatively if we show signs of our version of wintering and human vulnerability?


As February comes to a close, I am curious what the year ahead will bring and when I will find myself slipping into ‘wintering’ again. Maybe I can prepare a specific toolkit for when those days come…


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