top of page

Wintertime: Liberation from an Active Mind


Mid-winter and the beginning of a new year carries me to the deep listening place. I am not compelled to make a resolution and discover new meaning for life right now. Culturally, this is what we do. “It’s too early,” my body complains. 


I do find the timing for making such promises premature. Perhaps that’s why only nine percent of the population keeps the resolution they are so determined to follow at the beginning of January. Research shows that 43 percent give up by the end of January and that 23% of people quit their resolution by the end of the first week. The rest must be like me. 


Where in the world did making a New Year’s resolution come from? With a little research I found out that the first known celebration of the New Year and the act of making a resolution came from the ancient Babylonians about 4000 years ago. But more interesting is the fact that their New Year began in mid-March (around Spring equinox), not in January.  That’s what I’m talking about!


Most of us grew up with the Gregorian solar calendar, adopted by the Catholic Church in the 16th century in order to properly calculate Easter. By the 20th century, Western culture uses it mainly for civil purposes. It’s taken half of my life to realize that every season, four solar and four lunar season, occurring every six weeks, eight times a year, has a particular energy which will guide our spiritual, emotional, mental and physical energies if we pay attention. Winter is the season of stillness and deep listening; it is not the time for making resolutions or promises to oneself. Darkness is a quiet holy time of the Mother and the still, silent time of awaiting for the Son/Sun to be born. This time of year provokes trust and courage in ourselves, not fear that would be the motivator for a New Year’s resolution. To adjust to the rhythm of the sun, moon and earth would mean that our personal calendar is in sync with these cycles.


I will wait for the first shoots of spring to appear. That’s the shaking awake time. It happens around the first of February, when the prairie dogs and the ground hogs creep out of their burrows singing the song of spring.

I want to dream into the long dark nights that call death its suitor and joyfully embrace the lengthening light calling birth its miracle. This natural process beckons deep listening that happens best in the sleepy recesses of the darkness. The death of the old, gestation in the dark, and birth of something new realized out of silence and stillness. This takes patience.


Nature has its way of pruning one for new growth. I’m certain this is how we grow into being an elder. 


Now, the question begs to open the sacred doorway to a new year and to a new life: How do I honor the gifts I keep and use them for the good of our people in this new year? The question will birth the Sun out of Winter Solstice and as he warms the earth the little seeds and bulbs underground draw upward toward the air. With patience, I will wait for the first shoots of spring to appear. That’s the shaking awake time. It happens around the first of February, when the prairie dogs and the ground hogs creep out of their burrows singing the song of spring. It will be the time that I walk through that sacred doorway into the answer to my question. May I know how to honor the answer, and know how to sort and prune so as to give the gifts just right: this is my prayer. 


Yes, in the spring I will make the resolution, just before the bears come out of hibernation.


For now this is the time to quietly restore. Rest the mind. Be a little animal, a bear, asleep and dreaming in the cozy warm den. This feels sane. I like it. No pressure to start an exercise routine, a weight loss program, a skin care regiment, one of many possible ambitious activities that need my attention. This is liberation! Awe and wonder live in me a while longer as the snowy blanket covering the earth. 


From my Hearth to Your Hearth with Love, 


Deanna Jenné

3 comments
bottom of page