I understand why the shoes come off inside now. An armour is just the beginning of what you need to survive the ongoing oppression of a bad winter in Copenhagen. The rain is enough to drive you indoors and the gloom of day turning over to night in the blink of an eye leaves little desire to ever return outside again. The inside must be a refuge from the world – and I mean this both literally in keeping a space clean and also keeping the mind in good shape. Without this balance it is so easy to spiral away into the infinite gloom that becomes all too fast a reality.
Never before had I understood how fortunate we are in Australia to have constant sun. We complain when it disappears for a few days or even an hour… but I suppose all of this depends on what you are used to. I am quickly learning tricks for getting through the winter, how to recognise when you are just going to have a bad day, how to be ok with this and still maintain a functioning life to move through any less than upbeat moments. Not everyday feels like warmth and happiness in the winter months – and this is ok. Each day can still be lived to its fullest and offer a deeper understanding into the root causes of thought ongoing patterns within our psyche. When one is left to their own company in this way, without the distractions of the world buzzing around outside and impatiently awaiting our return, it can either be a real slide into a depression onset by winter darkness, or it can offer the grounds for a tangible and sustainable metamorphosis to the way we are living.
I really believe that one of the hardest things in life in making and allowing change. The irony of ‘sustainable’ or ‘permanent’ change is that, well – change is change! We are always changing and to put this constant pressure on ourselves to become something or someone – to live a certain way and somehow keep it up… all this does is put an onslaught of pressure onto ourself, which is really something we don’t need. Yes, some pressure is good because it creates the impetus to see a situation in new light and begin the constant process toward forming new habits and thought patterns, but I must stress here that it is so important to find a balance between wanting to change and allowing the self to grow and blossom organically in doing so. It is no use pushing down our own self worth by way of making something different.
In times, such as winter, when we are forced to be in our own company in a different way to what we are used to during the rest of the year – this internal progress and way of thinking really comes to the surface. We can try to push it down and away… into some recess of the mind that may rest uncovered, or we can deal with things in a respectful and gracious way as they arise – in relevancy and reality.
I must say, it was a steep learning curb adjusting to the rhythm of winter in Denmark. It was difficult and different to anything I have so far known andI didn’t have the tools built up throughout a lifetime of experience and shared experience to deal with this new mode of living. It was character building and something that I really grew out of with new tools and ways of thinking. I learnt to sit with ideas thoughts that I would otherwise ignore or look over… I became aware of thought patterns and habits that were by no means improving my happiness and started a process to change them (which I must stress is a process, not an overnight fix). It’s amazing what we can achieve and the places we can come out of when we put our mind to it and something that I am really inspired by for living and enjoying this balance between extroversion and introversion. Each can offer us so much and each is of equal importance to the human experience.
These introversions and long winters by no means need to have negative connotations. I find they just bring things to the surface that many people (myself included here) would so often choose to ignore or look over in our daily living. They’re too much to deal with or we don’t have time to sit an observe our inner happiness and state of overall wellbeing. It’s so important to form a good network of people, places and experiences and balance all of this with our own ability to stand tall as an individual and face the good, bad and indifferent times as they are – not as we would like them to be.
There are of course beautiful times to be had and things to discover during these months. Having a regular rhythm through which we shape our days and interact with the world is so important in making these have a lasting impact on the rest of our lives. On the few occasions the sun peeks out from behind its gloomy cloud cover, it is so worth baring the cold and being outside for these brief moments of light to truly shine.
The Scandinavian stance of standing out in the sun, eyes closed and facing the light is really a huge help and can’t be recommended enough. This moment of peace and quiet in the light is not only a way of absorbing what little vitamin D hangs in the air, it is also a way of remembering the touch of light when darkness sinks back in again… and when it’s gone there are of course ways to make our own light and share beautiful times with the people we care about.
There is always light waiting at the end of the dark season, and always some lessons we can carry with us when transitioning from the dark to the light in our experiences and contrasts in what makes this life of ours so beautiful…
Thoughts that arise during the final weeks of winter 2018
Final picture sourced from Expedia