Though the sun is shining here in Paris, it has been very chilly here for the last two weeks. It makes for great sleeping weather (in a world where there is not air conditioning, but conditioning ourselves to the natural state of air), but...

Sweater-weather in July? In August? Unheard-of!

What the hell? IS WINTER COMING?

The title of course refers to the viral outbreak of the Game of Thrones, which has finally battered my defenses and taken my city. My Lord...

But the title's wink, wink to a TV show does not diminish it's wink, wink to what is actually happening...

Winter IS coming.

If course, winter is always coming, one could argue: again and again every year it is one of the four siblings that come to play with us for a bit and then wander off to play with others, elsewhere. Wander off to better company, maybe... or simply to company that is fresh and ready, ripe with anticipation for it, after a long, hot... oh, wait a minute! lol But even if the summer is not too hot (thank goodness!), we can be happy for the coming of winter.

The crazy weather patterns which embrace us all these days seem to reflect what can be witnessed happening withIN us, if we slow down enough to discern the snowflakes on the wall.

But then, who slows down?

I laugh, seeing the habit of HURRY clearly in myself, just having finished twelve straight (and wonderful, luscious) days of teaching... only to pack this afternoon with sessions and an organizational meeting for teaching in the Antilles in January (Mama didn't raise no fools - January is NOT an accident! lol)

And all this activity on a SUNday, no less!

So when I say "winter", I am not referring simply to that season. Winter, the "cold" season, is always coming, except when it's already here... and not just to Winterfell.

In our own lands and dominions, winter comes, too (though maybe in the heat of a New York - "It's not the heat, it's the humidity" - summer, it is hard to imagine.) So I will be more clear...

What I name "WINTER" is a period of time when the land is meant to lie fallow, ripening the terrain for fruitful times that will follow.

What I name "Winter" is a resting time, aye, but also a testing time, a proving time. In the silence we learn who we are and what our soul looks like, what our Heart bids us be, or do.

What I name "Winter" can warm us with enthusiasm and eagerness, connecting us to our truth and our path.

What I name "Winter" thus can be either welcomed and provide happy respite from life's rush and ruin.. OR it can be torturous.

To a mind trained (and whose isn't, in the Western world?) to value being ACTIVE over being passive, winter can drag us deep into discontent. And a muck and a mire, if we struggle against it, it can be very unpleasant in its passing.

But this can happen at any time of the year! What I name "Winter" is not just for winter, after all. (And - as much as we may wish it were so - it is not just for Winterfell.)

Winter can jam up our summers, too... when the sun is high in the sky, maybe you (like me?) have a bit of a tough time slowing down. Vacation time is quickly filled with journeys and activities, as if our lives in their entirety must be jammed and packed into a one- or two-week period. Periods that can be FUN, but requiring of a lot of energy!

It is perhaps the better idea to enJOY the rest of the year so we don't have to pack juicy LIFE into a short parentheses called "vacations." It's not even fair to our vacations - who can live up to those expectations?

No, there must be another way.

Maybe summer can be for winter, too?!! :-)

In this period of great change (have you noticed?), sometimes the wintry winds reach our gates and thunder down upon us. Relaxing and enjoying such a "concert" is the ideal, but for many, at times it can feel even as if the gods (!) have it in for us, as if the Universe is against us.

NOT TRUE! Winter - and the Universe are our true friend. Even if it doesn't always feel that way.

I am all too aware that in the doldrums of wishing that things were otherwise, a hand can grab us by the ankle (or maybe it's teeth - Churchill called depression "the big black dog") and drag us downward, most often when we feel powerless in the face of what IS.

When we feel that Life isn't playing nicely with us, often our natural instinct is to FIGHT it!! I learned that tactic young as a young girl back in the Bronx... it doesn't work.

Now I am not saying that we should never fight, mind you! Just that we should pick our fights... fights we can win, maybe.

For example, I am certainly NOT saying we shouldn't fight against injustice! Rather, that would be one of the areas where Winter can help us: when we slow down, we can get real clear about injustice. In a time of calm, the injustice outside of the periphery of our lives can become very clear, and we may feel called to action.

But what is sometimes obfuscated, so that we see only dim traces, outlines in the darkness, is what is out of alignment (un-"just") withIN us. And the Winter can help with that, too. In the stillness, I can begin to enJOY the richness of the Presence that is within, and all around. Winter can help us to enJOY just BEing, no matter what is going on around us. Without having to FILL the void (that spaciousness!) with activity.

Which helps me today: in the midst of activity, I yearn to be still ... and so I still myself. Easy-peasy.

The natural flow of life IS easy: all is included when nothing is fought against. It includes winters and summers, spring and autumn, all. (If we live for only summer, 3/4 of our lives are lost. When I rail about what is going on, I am losing the moments of my life RIGHT NOW: the only moments available to me for joy.)

Harshly, Winter is often used as a metaphor for the joyless; it is certainly the case in "GOT" (at least as far as I can tell - I ma only up to season 3 lol.)

And yet all evidence indicates there is no necessary Truth in that: there are those who frolic in the cold, who relish snows and the long nights, folks who delight in a good book by the fire (or the lamp.) People who enrich Life with quiet and calm.

That calm allows all seasons, welcomes all of Life's playing, and renders JOY in all seasons possible: joy in silence and quiet, joy in activity, joy even in sorrow. Joy is a state of connectedness to the sacred in Life, and so yes we can be sweetly accompanied even in mourning by One who helps us see beyond the veil.

Overall, the more I reject what is actually happening, I reject my path and my life; I take myself out of the Game.

For one thing is certain: Life and Winter have been at this Game much longer than we have. So, either in blind fury we can fruitlessly flail at the vagaries of Life or...

... we can recognizing that there is a Wisdom behind all things, and then stand and play. We can become "game" for the Game!

Consciously or unconsciously, we either sideline ourselves, waiting for summer to come 'round again, or we allow whatever comes to teach us, and teach us well. Perhaps just recognizing that there is a Game afoot is the first step.

It IS a Game!

Life is not meant to be a burden, but to be played. Once that becomes clear, lightness and fun (even in the face of a wintry night in mid-summer) we can breathe more easily and allow the lightness to carry us forward...

On a white wolf, not a dog, from Paris....