cozy-dog-szDoes anyone else out there feel like hibernating? Perhaps we can read a good book while snuggled under a fuzzy blanket with a hot cup of tea in hand and a crackling fire in the background.

There is a natural rhythm to the Earth and almost all living creatures, both plant and animal, pay attention and adjust accordingly. Humans, however, seem determined to slog through, all year long, as if nothing ever changes.  Today (December 14th) the sun rose at 7:20 a.m. and will set at 4:51 p.m…. somewhere, out there beyond the rain clouds. Six months ago (June 14th) the sun rose at 5:47 a.m. and set at 8:35 p.m., most likely in a blaze of glory. But no matter when the sun rises or sets, I keep pretty much the same routine. And that makes me tired. I find myself lacking the energy needed to maintain productivity – you know what I mean. Just ask all of the people hanging out in the WORK lounge as of late.

At Coffee Social this week, people shared their thoughts on the seasons. Some loved the cold more than the heat (crazy!), and some laughed at our version of “winter” (it’s 57 degrees right now and we’re “freezing” – I swear!). Personally, I prefer the promises of spring and the energy of summer, when the world is alive and vibrant and expanding. But then fall comes all too soon, as a mark of closure. The end of the cycle. A slow spiral into darkness from which we are reborn on December 22nd, when the light begins to return once again. Winter, despite its inclement weather, is at least a harbinger of longer days and renewed life.

Last fall, coWORKer Nick taught a Lunchtime Lesson on how his study of the ancient Inuit Medicine Wheel related to modern business practices. The role of Fire in the wheel – the burning away of the extraneous bits in order to reveal the meaningful nugget at the center of it all – is an image that has stuck with me. Our culture here in the US not only slogs on through fall and winter, but we tend to have a hard time letting go – of anything. To make room for new projects, new joys, new accomplishments, it seems necessary to stop hanging on to the past and clear away the detritus left behind from the inevitable accumulation of life’s experiences. Fall feels like the appropriate time to tackle this challenge. (As I wrote that last sentence, coWORKer Laura walked up front and declared, “I’m clearing the palate of my brain.” How apropos!)

So how do I make like a tree and embrace the changing seasons with beauty and grace? How do I celebrate last year’s growth by gladly releasing it back to the earth? And how do I have faith that spring will come once again, offering a fresh start? Reminding myself that I’m actually a human animal living on a planet for a finite amount of time usually helps. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our myriad thoughts and forget this simple, yet important, truth. As we approach the end of fall and the beginning of winter, may we slow down enough to appreciate last year’s growth, let go of what no longer serves us, and embrace the light ahead. I’d like to close this year like my first yoga teachers used to close our class, “Nowhere to go, nothing to do; just be.”

I wanted to end there, but it didn’t sit right with me. In any other year, I could have stopped on that peaceful note, but these are tumultuous times…so, to hear what’s really on my mind read on…

Written and photographed by Natasha Juliana. Edited by Linda Jay.