January and Winter Snow
Susan Ozimkiewicz, LCPC - Boise ID

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” — Rumi

January became the first month of the year about 700BC after the Roman King Pompilius added it to the calendar along with February. Janus is the ancient Roman god of beginnings and endings plus he is the god of gateways, gates, door and doorways. He had two faces one looking back and the other forward.

Winter is the season when the world slows down.  As snow falls and covers the earth in some areas as an insulating blanket one knows it is winter time. People pull back their energy and hibernate too. They might reflect on what was accomplished in the last year and formulate new ideas as seeds to plant for the coming year. Life seems to stand still. The vibrant energies of nature such as growth, vitality, expansion, and progress seem to stop dead in their tracks. The instincts and senses appear to withdraw from worldly distractions and stimulating diversions.

For some it can be the winter of their discontent. Originally the first line of William Shakespeare’s Richard lll was “The winter of our discontent.” The interruption of the life force produces stark dark stillness perhaps like a dark quiet night. Wintertime sometimes can contain contraction, restriction, and decay. The beginning of the coming year might be characterized by a bone chilling coldness, a misery to be endured, and barrenness due to death of a way of living.

 “Write the vision and make it plain…”  — Habakkuk 2:2

During the wintry time of year with the slow passing of time some people will write resolutions or think about the making or creating a set of goals to achieve and implement in the coming year.

Reflecting on your personal thoughts about the mistakes and mishaps of last year is a good place to start when there is a desire for the new. What do you want to see change? Where could you have done better? No need to be down on yourself. Just take a look at the areas that are considered your weak points and see what your new thoughts suggest that you can do about them in this coming year.

Attend to your thoughts as if they are birds that fly in and out of your head. A bird can be a symbol of a thought or an idea. A bird can change direction quickly without regret.

This poem by Mary Oliver describes this dormant stage in life that awaits the ability to unfold something else anew.

by Mary Oliver

In winter
all the singing is in
the tops of the trees
where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
shoves and pushes
among the branches.
Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
but he’s restless—
he has an idea,
and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings as long as he stays awake. But his big, round music, after all, is too breathy to last.

So, it’s over.
In the pine-crown
he makes his nest,
he’s done all he can.

I don’t know the name of this bird,         I only imagine his glittering beak
tucked in a white wing
while the clouds—

which he has summoned
from the north—
which he has taught
to be mild, and silent—

thicken, and begin to fall
into the world below
like stars, or the feathers
of some unimaginable bird

that loves us, that is asleep now, and silent— that has turned itself into snow.