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Siobhan Kelley DeWitt -
Many people think of winter as a dead season. The ground may be frozen solid, or muddy at best; the streets are wet, slushy or icy. People seem to be indoors for the duration. The holidays are over; it’s not quite yet Spring. We spend a lot of our winter days wishing for it to be gone!
You may know these familiar words from the original source, Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, or from the Pete Seeger song sung by the Byrds in the early ’60s: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven … .” And so we must find some way to embrace this, our winter, as it comes to a close.
This time of year often evokes memories, and may leave us wistful for what could have been. In this busy world when we often “don’t have time to think,” I believe this is what we are called to do.
Unpredictable weather and dipping temperatures can force us to slow down — even cancel some busy-ness that begs our attention the rest of the year. Embracing the quiet of winter can help us connect to our spiritual selves — with God, with our goals, with our priorities. It’s time to find that life balance we hear about so often.
Sometimes we are so busy “doing” that we forget to take the time to appreciate where we are, where we have been and what we are called to be doing. When we embrace time to meditate, pray and reflect, we find greater life satisfaction. We connect with our overall purposes in life — or find that we need adjustments. Whether we look at the word “vocation” in a spiritual sense or a professional sense, winter is a great time to assess, reconnect and rediscover yourself, and check to see if you are where you want to be in life.
When was the last time you took time to appreciate all the contributions you make within your family; your workplace; your community? Can you see the blessings that came from unexpected challenges and opportunities? What does the world have to offer since you last took a breath to “just be”?
If you find yourself getting lost in endless paths of inane articles on the internet, try typing a topic that you’d like to know more about into your library catalog or Amazon. See what comes up. Is it an article or film to whet your whistle, or the beginning of an adventure? Have it sent to your e-reader — you don’t even have to go outside!
Remember that interesting woman you met at the neighborhood open house? Invite her out for a cup of coffee and find out more about what makes her tick. Sure, asking your neighbor for her phone number is taking a risk — but if we don’t continue to travel new roads, we may find ourselves in a rut. New people, new experiences and new ideas make us better neighbors, better partners and better employees.
We have come to an understanding that our education never ends. These new people and experiences not only help us to know the world better, but to know ourselves better, too. Participate in an interfaith prayer gathering. Take a class online or in a classroom — see what is being taught about the field you are already in, or learn something “totally out there.”
Ask yourself: Am I where I want to be? What is in the way of being where I want to be — with God, family, career, society?
Life balance means growing in your potential to be the best of who you are called to be by God in all areas of your life. If you don’t take time to nurture your soul through prayer, meditation, reading various points of view and seeking quiet time, how will you know when you’
Taking care of one’s self also can have positive implications to one’s professional self. To learn about ways to grow healthily and professionally in your career, visit Carlow University’s College of Professional Studies.