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Tending the Winter Garden of Our Souls: Individually and Communally

Tending the Winter Garden of Our Souls: Individually and Communally

By the Rev. Craig Smith

One question a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner might pose is: In what season is your soul, your life? There is a correspondence between the seasonal cycles and what our life needs to balance and flourish. What needs tending?

Spiritual wisdom of all traditions seeks to integrate needs of body, soul, heart, and mind. Traditional Chinese medicine invites our attention to the correspondence between what happens in nature and our souls’ needs.

For example, in winter, listening might become a focus, as sound is much more distinct in the relative stillness of nature. Our need for more rest might be fed as an echo of hibernating animals. We can give more attention to dreams and pay attention to our imaginations and hopes. And, in harmony with the natural threats of deprivation and cold, pay some attention and notice what is making us anxious. Tending to the winter of our souls means, in part, to nurture these things.

Why this topic? As this relates to you and Rock Point, I invite you to give some winter time to our shared land. Listen for what is calling to you. Invite Rock Point into your dreaming and imagining. Notice this happening in others, too. Imagine that the idea and images planted in you, or that you notice in others and are germinating within you and them, as in a garden, will begin to sprout in the spring. Nurture these images of hope, but allow them to grow and develop within you quietly and naturally, just as plants grow.

At the end of winter, we will have some gatherings to invite sharing of what has been stirring in us and listening for what has been stirring in the many of us who are engaged with this land. And to ask how together we will tend the new emerging growth.

Here are a few samplings already stirring. Mull them over and place them in your dreams, as you may be led to do.

  • Plant a pollinator meadow in the solar orchard—a grant is in the works
  • Rebuild trails and train trail stewards—another grant in the works
  • Repair the watershed and landscape around the BBCC—early stage idea
  • Gather art created in connection with Rock Point—a stirring

Until the spring, sweet dreams and happy hibernation!

Photo credit: Candace Smith

About Rock Point

Since 1855, Rock Point has served as a unique center of the Episcopal Church in Vermont, welcoming friends and neighbors attracted to its natural beauty and its peaceful, quiet, and social embrace. Each year, nearly 10,000 people come to Rock Point, finding a place to walk, seek solitude, learn, play, sing, pray, think, share, and be. Learn more about this diocesan treasure at

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