Every couple of weeks I teach meditation to the staff of a local small business outside at a local park. We had taken an unintentionally long break (due to holiday vacations and unusually heavy and consistent rain), but the weather was *finally* cooperating and we were getting back out there after 5 weeks away!

Even though it had stopped raining about 48 hours before, I decided to arrive a little early and make sure the park wasn’t still flooded or anything (and it wasn’t… yay!), so I had time to take a little walk beforehand. I made sure not to be too ambitious about it… I was still recovering from the fatigue of a busy weekend (and thanks to covid, that takes a lot longer than it used to), and I wasn’t really wearing appropriate footwear, again (one of the things I love about southern California winters is wearing slipper boots as actual shoes). So, I made a point of being deliberate and slow with my steps, paying attention to what it felt like to be moving my body again and making sure I didn’t overdo it.

And as I slowly made my way out into the sunshine, I felt the fresh air on my face and realized it was like I was emerging from a cocoon.

Until that moment, I hadn’t realized I was even in a cocoon, let alone a cocoon that had started to feel stifling. I’d spent the last several months feeling forced into public outings, much like the winters of recent years. Every year I lament how, though I truly love family holiday celebrations and supporting my children’s performances, I haven’t figured out how to balance the increased demands on our time with my ancestral call to hibernate in winter. Then this January was full of wet winter storms, reinforcing that strong desire to limit outings and jump back into my cocoon every chance I could… for over two weeks I spent every spare moment resting up and restoring my energy reserves with soups and tea and blankets and herbs and warm socks and sweatshirts (and crochet and audiobooks and true crime shows, too, of course). Sure, I continued to shuttle my children to and from all the things… which contributed to that perception that I wasn’t really cocooning at all.

Thus my surprise when I meandered out into the sunshine at the park and realized it was, in fact, an act of emergence. 

I hadn’t realized how, on some level, the unending cold & rainy weather was starting to make my self-imposed cocoon feel rather suffocating, rather like Elsa in her safe-yet-isolating ice castle. And once again, it was the wisdom of nature connection that reminded me of the healing energy of blue skies, a cool breeze, sunshine, and birdsong. While the cocoon of home was necessary for my restoration, there is also medicine in reconnecting to the web of life outside myself. 

So even though I am still recovering from the fatigue of the holidays, I am now conscious of the healing that comes from making space to be out in the world–to be mindful of what it feels like to (periodically) emerge from my cocoon. Just like with all things, it seems to come down to balance… making sure to give myself enough time to rest but to also make time for connection and joy, to make time for emergence.