Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Winter Harmony- Welcome Leanne Chapman

The Winter Harmony blog series is our gift to our beautiful community to help inspire and support you to live in harmony with winter. Join us and some amazing guest bloggers M-F during the month of January.
Click here to see all the Winter Harmony posts in one place.

Get your own
Winter Harmony Mandala to bring a little peace and joy to your winter season this year and see what message it has for you.

“Winter then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country, alerting the stars to sparkle violently and shower their silver light into the arms of bare upreaching trees. It was a mad and beautiful thing that scoured raw the souls of animals and man, driving them before it until they loved to run."
Winter's Tale
Mark Helprin   
Artist: Angel D'Amico – Bauer
Our seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere - we recently emerged from winter and have just moved into summer. January is one of our hottest months, and the winters where I live in the north of Australia are not really cold by most standards. In the depths of winter, daytime temperatures are usually in the low 20's on the Celcius scale and the nights are often still in the double figures. But daylight is shorter, our houses aren't built for cold at all, and our blood is thinner because we've acclimatised to the warmth, so we still complain about winter as much as anybody!
Our winter runs from June to August, and this June I decided to go into a kind of hibernation. I was working mostly from home so I didn't go out much or see many people. I had set the first day of spring (September 1) as the launch date for my new business, so I viewed winter as a time of reflection and going within to create and be inspired, waiting for the spring to give substance to my plans and release my creations out to the world.
Many animals hibernate during winter, emerging in the spring refreshed and renewed. Trees shed their leaves in autumn and stand bare throughout winter, waiting until the spring to burst forth again with colour and energy. Humans on the other hand tend to continue at the same frenetic pace all year round. Earth's cycles suggest this isn't what nature intended. We need time each year to slow down, to take stock, to enter the cave.
 In May this year I did enter a cave, literally – it was on an island in the South Pacific and it involved an all day trek through the jungle, at one stage making our way through a rocky cave in the darkness with cold water up to our waists. It was terrifying at times but we all emerged, scoured but proud. Entering the cave symbolically can also be terrifying – we come face to face with ourselves. But as Joseph Campbell once said, 'It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life'. Winter is the ideal time to do this.
We are not meant to perform at our highest level all year round. There are seasons to plant our seeds, to  tend and water them, to harvest them, and then there is a season for rest and planning before  the next cycle begins. This typically takes place in winter, which scours the trees clean and is not conducive to the growth of fragile seedlings.
Can you allow yourself to slow your pace this winter? Even if you have the full-time demands of family and work, is there a time each week where you can allow yourself to be still, even for a short period? When the weather is doing its worst outside, is there a place to cocoon yourself so that you can rest, reflect and renew? You might not like what you see inside the cocoon initially, it might be dark and unfamiliar, but eventually your eyes will adjust and you'll find your way.
As another busy year ends and January arrives again, trust and allow yourself to find the quiet spaces within to replenish your energy and consolidate all you have learned during your last trip around the sun. You will be realigning yourself with the natural cycles of the earth, preparing to emerge into the sunlight purified and reborn, ready to run again.
Leanne is a qualified psychologist and art therapist. She worked in the clinical field for 15 years before deciding to combine creative expression with personal growth. She now offers individual sessions, group work, and online classes at



  1. Leanne,

    Your words create such powerful imagery for me. Not only am I left with some wonderful nuggets to think about...but now I know more about Australian Winters! Educational and full of wisdom,Love it :)

  2. Thanks Jill, it's so hot here at the moment I can't imagine winter at all right now!

  3. Thank you for your wise words and the reminder that all "seasons" are happening at the same time in some area of our beautiful planet Earth! It brings a deeper insight of the idea that "it's all happening right now"!
    YOU ROCK! With love & gratitude,

  4. Thanks Cindy, hope you're keeping cool or warm depending on where you are :)