Daylight savings brings dread for some: the world outside grows darker more quickly and after the typical American workday, there’s barely any semblance of sun once leaving the office. Even with the pandemic seeing more change to work-from-homers, the chances to stretch one’s legs and take small breaks will be met with frigid or rainy weather. The cold is creeping in, along with many months of wearing layers.
For morning people, the time-change can be a welcome transition: the day starts a bit brighter, that first cup of coffee is met with sunrise and a bit more perkiness to the start of one’s day. For others who enjoy being homebodies, it can be a time to snuggle up.
Ah, the time to nest has arrived! We embrace cozy couch movies, warmer meals, soothing hot liquids leisurely sipped, cupped in cold hands, piping baths, sweaters, snacks…
The Danish concept of Hygge perhaps propels an aesthetic to curate the vibe. Candles, cute mugs, earthy bowls, books to dive into, Instagram-worthy lounge-wear; but as many aim to up their game with curated comfort, in theory Hygge should not require money. Unplugging, connecting to the Here & Now, your Home, your Body, your Self, reveals an aspect of Winter that could allow immense self-growth. With capitalism at a stronger focus more than ever before, those who enjoy “stuff” are in a consciously challenged state, especially at this time. Objects certainly can enrich our lives and the availability of material needs not be eschewed in trade for a monk life.
Like anything we want to approach with care, Intention is key.
It is also no wonder that after the American Holiday Trifecta (that known as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and any cultural observations around these), the after-effect of the New Year is to usher in minimalism. Clutter-clearing, scaling back, what “sparks joy” are the order of January, after 3 months of indulgence and likely consumerism. Humans easily fall prey to the want of feathering the nest in the start of colder fronts, then swing back to reassess their space. Instead of a balance, it is a yo-yo. Black Friday sales and gifts galore, the pitfalls of advertising, fear-based attachments, classism and clout are strongest when we crave coziness.
So a pause, as the clock changed over the eve, to ask ourselves why we buy what we do, what merchandise is taking up space, filling a void. What promise did an item give us? Did it fulfill the purpose with promised results we hoped it would achieve? Do we want to purchase a new ____ because it fits a fantasy? Will it be functional in reality? Do we already have one or many of this thing? Most importantly, can we still express Creativity through our clothing and various crafts without being tied to the influential high of day-to-day display? Can we feel freedom in our own ever changing interests or are we addicted to the lightning fast changes in trends and junk culture that never seem to stay in one space for more than a season?
The possibilities we have had to share our lives with loved ones and strangers alike across WiFi, esp in times of lock-down, has been a blessing in many ways, but there is no doubt that Social Media has negatively affected a large portion of the population’s self-esteem, simply through the often doctored tool of appearances. “Doom scrolling” became a common habit in 2020, further altering the ways in which our 24 hours slip away. How we shop is significant under the pressures to look Perfect, even as one’s own “brand”. Social media alone has boosted the beauty industries to insane profits and consequently there is a huge interest in “inner development” from outside sources on pirate sociology and psych, often non-accredited, accounts. One might say the external and internal needs of a capitalist culture are further being preyed upon anytime we pick up our phones. Even in the more imaginative expressions of alternates, communities can be tricked into relevancy that leads to a hollowness. Those who can afford both the money and time towards their aesthetic are honored over others who struggle to maintain schedule and safety in housing and health.
The emphasis on The Outside has taken over. But does this mean we stop loving Whimsy, Beauty, Art, Music, Fashion and all that which can bring some “sparked joy” to lives? No, yet considering what paths we are following is real. How do we heal insecurities and become our “authentic selves” (another marketing word thrown around in recent)? Where is the balance between Excess and Expression? As the Seasons change, we hopefully can change a little bit with them. Always evolving, we are in a perfect moment to conduct some Inner Work by assessing our time, energy, budget in the last couple of months where exhaustion of these resources is often inevitable. Before the end of the year, considering where we have been and where we will be, take a Tiny moment of Quiet and Calm today. Here’s to Balance and asking the Real Questions with gentleness and gratitude.
In Love and Light! – Sun