We either think January is a time of dead, cold winter OR the exciting time of fresh beginnings. But using my gardening metaphor, winter is actually the time for pruning, recuperation, protection, and preparation. Your flowers are dormant but not dead; most of the work going on underneath the soil. You must prune back in order for full spring rejuvenation.
I was thinking about this misreading of Winter today when skimming the original Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale, The Snow Queen. (I wanted to reread The Long Winter because the weather turned stormy and cold…but it is checked out from the library!)
(Classic illustrations by Arthur Rackham).
The fairy tale is much more popular now because of the Disney film Frozen, though it was pretty loosely based on the fairy tale (see this blog’s comparison). I actually first encountered the story when it was recreated in the arc for the final season of Sailor Moon! Even better was Catherine Breillat’s dreamy, terrifying incorporation of the tale in her surrealistic film Sleeping Beauty (La Belle Endormie)– a film so amazing it really deserves a separate post some day.
Roses are a sign of the friendship between the little girl Gerda and her neighbor Kay. When Kay’s heart is frozen by the beautiful Snow Queen, he tears up the roses in their window sills. Then he is spirited away and Gerda goes on a long journey to find him. At last she saves him and they return to warmth and roses – a happy ending that can only come after her frozen journey. Winter is not necessarily a time of dormancy and death but for active searching, finding refuge, healing.
There are 11 more weeks until Spring Equinox (Spring begins March 20). I’d like to make a Winter 2016 set of mini goals until then. I tend to do best when I have multiple small projects that can link to the larger 2016 resolution to Be Okay (more or less).
Winter Goals in the Year of Roses? Be Gerda
1. If Gerda met Hermione…
I feel like I am on my own search but instead of traveling to strange lands, I am mostly consulting books like a good student. Here is a true and pathetic scenario from 2015: I try to read some autism book at the local McDonalds and am frozen and my coffee gets cold and I can’t go two pages without crying and spend the rest of the morning feeling like shit and the whole day is a bust. It is okay to cry about it (Gerda saves Kay with her hot tears after all) but holy crap, please move forward on the journey.
So, by Spring, I want to get through these 4 books to start with: The Out of Sync Child, The Out of Sync Child has Fun, An Early Start for Your Child with Autism, Floortime. And I want to incorporate them into some kind of system of record keeping for the family.
2. Prepare your body for the journey
What always stood out in my memory was Gerda, freezing along her journey and always dressed inappropriately.
There stood poor Gerda, without shoes, without gloves, in the midst of cold, dreary, ice-bound Finland.
I like thinking that I’m preparing for a journey across the world, on foot (or reindeer) because running for the endorphins is a pretty dull explanation. In the morning, I repeat my new mantra (“The Magic is in Me”) with the daily weigh in and by noon, I head to the gym to run away any negative stress from the morning. At night, I’m supposed to sleep early with hot tea and self care. This usually means hot tea, Korean fancy skin care, and a book: Gretchin Rubin (again, why not?) and Marie Kondo have arrived. If I finish those, I will move onto Brene Brown’s Rising Strong since it is already queued up on kindle for me. For fun reading, I’m supposed to pick up the first Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea book soon.
This half isn’t so much a finished project, like books crossed off a list, but the development of basic lifestyle habits: sleeping, meditating, exercising, etc.