Culture, Inspiration Unearth Your Natural Rhythms We are amidst the darkest days of the year. Every morning, the sun takes longer to rise and… By Kim Fuller We are amidst the darkest days of the year. Every morning, the sun takes longer to rise and unwrap thick layers of skyline, barely able to complete its stretch across the horizon before bundling under a blanket of clouds and closing its heavy lids of light. It’s refreshing to watch the natural world prosper within each season. Even in the coldest and darkest months, there is an ease to nature’s movement that puts our holiday frenzy to shame. If we were to try to move with this same unrefined grace, we may be able to encompass the same dance – an effortless two-step of cadence and flow. Too often, our steps seem forced and crowded. We trip over ourselves, bustle past one another and stand in long lines to pay reverence to superficial deities. We sacrifice so much in the name of materialism – our time, money and sanity –and though we obtain things, we are often left without fulfillment. An overabundance of things can actually hinder what we really need to lighten these dusky days. Nature’s complex systems of survival and rejuvenation thrive on necessity, not amidst piles of excess. We can learn from these effortless rhythms of the natural world. Take a walk – away from chaos and crowds and toward a place where you can witness the wisdom and grace of the earth. Find some moments of solitude this season, and embrace the teachings that surround you. Continuity The sun paints the sky with reds, oranges and purples at the break of day, and soaks in streaming sunsets of watercolors at the close. Flowers grow and bulbs burst; leaves brighten then fall upon harvest; snow floats to rest, to glisten. Nature’s cycles can show you how life comes back around. The people you meet, the places you go, the things you learn – everything is a part of who you are and who you will become. New days and new seasons bring fresh possibilities, but are also reminders that as days pass, memories become instilled in your soul. Adaptability The brown and black fur of an Artic Hare fur turns to a stark white coat in the winter months, perfectly blending into the crisp sheet of snow that is its home. Grizzly Bears gain an average of 400 pounds before every winter season for survival through states of winter hibernation. Wild geese fly over 1,000 miles each year to reach temperate climates and stable food sources. Nature is no stranger to adaptation, yet so often we find ourselves resisting change and becoming frustrated with situational inconvenience. Instead, think of these times as gateways to transformation. Try to find the quiet beauty that comes from the snowy winter months. Enjoy a time of year when it’s ok for your world to slow down, to rest your body and create time for introspection. This is a perfect time to shift your awareness inward and ignite new levels of creativity. Physical activity should still be incorporated into your healthy lifestyle, but think of ways to embrace the snow in your movement. Snowshoeing, skiing and ice skating are all ways to get out in nature and move this season. Simplicity Nature’s gifts are never covered in paper or adorned with tags. You cannot gift-wrap the true smell of a Ponderosa Pine or the sight of a fresh dusting of snow on the Rockies. The soul of the wild is untouched. It is pristine, with an open heart to those that are willing to share their own. It demands presence – the simplest and purest gift we can give to ourselves and others. We live in a society surrounded by consumerism and consumption. These patterns are not sustainable for us or for the land we live on. We grow more and more distant from the natural world when we bury ourselves in patterns of materialism and indulgence. You can free yourself from the perpetual patterns of excess in your life by finding fulfillment from the wonders of human relationships and the natural world. Compassion Nature is a humbling force, and in its presence we realize that we are a part of something much greater than ourselves. Compassion in our lives comes out of mutual trust and respect –knowing that we need each other and that we all have something to contribute to this world. But the wild is as vulnerable as it is fierce. It exists with an outstretched and open spirit, fights for survival and is weathered through changing seasons and passing time. Think of yourself as a reflection of the natural world. If you can feel your soul resonate with the earth’s, you may discover newfound compassion that starts inward and radiates outward. Follow the cues that nature provides to set tone and pace for your life. If we allow ourselves the space to seek solace this season, we can make vacancies for the possibilities that exist in the next season of our lives. — Kim Fuller grew up in the Colorado mountains and has always found beauty and inspiration through nature and movement. Kim is a freelance journalist and a yoga teacher based in Vail. Her writing and photo work has focused on health, wellness, recreation, food and travel since 2007, and Kim began her yoga practice in Boulder, followed by her first teacher training with Real Evolution Yoga at Peace Retreat Costa Rica in November of 2012.