For those of us in the mountains, the first snow each year is something that can bring out the inner child in even the most frigid of hearts. It is a nostalgic moment that sparks delight, kindles tranquility and ignites the fire of the holiday season. This is a powerful time to clear the busyness in our heads and be extra intentional about where we are going during the holidays and after the snow melts.
Snow can be a symbol of a new season, of clearing our circumstances and attitudes, and of starting fresh as we ease into the new year. As it drops towards the earth in slow motion, this wistful indication of winter blankets our everyday lives, and provides a perfect opportunity to stop and be mindful this season.
This month, we can take a few minutes to do nothing but experience the snow as we once did as children; before we had bills or messy calendars or Christmas dinner parties. By watching it swirl down from a window in our warm homes, or going outside to hear just how quiet it is when lit by moonlight, we can appreciate a moment for what it is and intentionally focus on doing this in other areas of our lives.
This stillness can set up a perfect opportunity to set an intention for the season ahead, whatever that looks like for you. This intention can help to re-energize our efforts through the holidays and the beginning of the new year, which often is a hard time for those of us Washingtonians that may suffer from seasonal affective disorder. According to Seattle psychiatrist David Avery, as many as 10 percent of Washingtonians suffer severely from SAD, due to the lack of sunlight in our fall and winter months.
To help keep us encouraged, we might note our intention or a few key words that represent it to serve as a reminder in the new year. Setting intention is different from setting a resolution, so try to go into the holidays with an open mind instead of strict guidelines. A resolution is a decision to do or not to do something, but an intention creates purpose and gives us direction.
The first snowfall can allow us to be vulnerable while setting an intention that is meaningful. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the holidays and confuse what we want for ourselves with what others want for us, or even what we think others want for us. I anticipate that if we will allow it, the snow can help to spur readiness to reflect and be mindful about our direction. Here are some questions to ask yourself that might help you slow down and be mindful this season…
- What is standing between you and your biggest goal?
- What do you get distracted by that keeps you from connecting with others?
- What can you pay more attention to, what relationships can you invest in?
- Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? What?
- What meaningful things did you learn about yourself this year?