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Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

Cover: 'Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times '

Staff Review: "Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times " by Katherine May


I was drawn to this book by the very title, the promise that it would give the readers ways in which we can care for our wellbeing when life is truly difficult, and how to build ourselves back up. Is there really a more fitting book to read after 2020?

This book takes readers through the author's own personal journey with difficult times, where she learned to accept and surrender to life's challenges. What exactly is wintering? As the author states, "It is the active acceptance of sadness...It is the courage to stare down the worst parts of our experience and to commit to healing them the best we can. Wintering is a moment of intuition, our true needs felt keenly as a knife." She stressed how important it is to listen to the wisdom of the wintering seasons we go through, to rest, and remember that it won't last forever. As she says, "That's what you learn in winter: there is a past, a present, and a future. There is a time after the aftermath." I found this to be a comforting reminder.

She also spoke of grief, which she described as "...a yearning for that one last moment of contact that would settle everything." I couldn't agree more with her description, and really connected with her descriptions throughout this book. She also spoke about the power of sleep that had me looking at my own issues with insomnia in a whole new light. I loved her quote that says, "Sleep is not a dead space, but a doorway to a different kind of consciousness - one that is reflective and restorative, full of tangential thought and unexpected insights." Again, it's about accepting the difficult moments, or, as she says, "The work of the cold season is to learn to welcome them.".

I gave this four stars because there were some moments that were a bit hard to follow. Her storytelling jumped around quite a bit in moments in time and also between stories from her life, research, and the experiences of others. But, sprinkled throughout were gems of wisdom that had me writing down quotes so I could remember them later, like the ones mentioned above. Overall, it was a very timely read!

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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