Winter – The Time of Roots Growing beneath the Soil

December 7, 2011 Caroleeena hoopdanceHoopingPoiUncategorized

When we look at trees in winter, we think of them as dormant. But they are not dormant. Even if, to the naked eye, they do not appear to be growing, they are growing. After bursting forth with new growth in springtime, trees bud and blossom, burgeon and bloom, branch out and burst forth all over with new growth, growth we can see, growth we can measure. Trees continue to grow throughout spring showers, through the long hot summer, through the warm but cooling autumn, working hard, growing, growing, growing, right before our eyes. Then winter comes.

In winter, it is easy to think the tree is dormant, that it is not growing, but this is hardly the case. In the ground, the roots are active and growing. Roots are capable of growth any time of year. All they need are conditions conducive to growth. Roots grow in winter.

So it is with us hoopers.

In Spring we burst out of doors, hooping, dancing, playing beneath the sun and the moon, basking in the warmth on our skin, the breeze in our hair. We burst out with new growth and new moves and new ways of being — growth we can see and measure. As spring springs into summer and summer melts into fall, we grow and mature, getting better at what we do, maturing in our skills, then winter comes and the distractions of summer subside and we find ourselves spending more time in solitude, in quiet. We often hoop less. We often lament that we are not growing. But, like the tree whose roots grow beneath the soil, so too do our roots grow.

Now, with trees, the only thing holding back root growth in winter is soil temperature. The roots are capable of growth at any time of the year, they just prefer warm soil, yet even in severe cold, they continue to grow. If we augment their soil with soil amendments and mulch to increase the soil temperature, roots experience much greater growth. The same can be said of our roots. When we give them what they need, they grow exponentially faster and stronger!

I love learning in Winter! I have come to recognize and feed this time of roots growing beneath the surface. Every spring I emerge with all these new moves in my movement repertoire, even when I don’t get much time to practice. And when I do get to practice, that growth is exponential. Perhaps it’s because things are quieter in Winter so my focus is more focused. Perhaps it’s because in the joy of hot weather I just dance and dance, exploring and basking in what I already know and only occasionally trying something new. Perhaps it’s because, in the quiet winter months, I spend more time studying and contemplating. I watch more videos, I am more likely to record myself and study my own videos, I spend time thinking about what I’d like to learn. I have come to embrace that Winter is a great time to nurture growth in any direction I want to grow.

I used to get disheartened about winter, sad that I couldn’t get outside and play. These days, instead of being disheartened, I encourage hoopers to take heart. Feed your roots. Is there a move you’d like to learn? Study it over winter. Even if you can’t practice it, watch videos of it, visualize yourself doing it, read posts by other hoopers about it. Adding knowledge to the mind is often the first step of adding it to the body.

Refuse to limit yourself to hoop moves also. Hoopdance is more than just tricks. It is dance. Use the winter months to learn a new dance move. This winter I want to learn a bit of pop-locking, hat manipulation and I want to get better at moonwalking, so I’m watching videos and asking questions and moonwalking in socks across my hardwood floors. You can bet those things are going to show up in my dance next year.

Stretch! Winter is a great time to invest in a daily stretching practice. I get to be a bit of a homebody in winter so I work with yoga videos in the privacy of my own home. Commit to five minutes of stretching each day, preferably at the start of the day. By Springtime you will be more supple, more flexible and your investment will be obvious as soon as you pick up your hoop.

Visualize. Imagery is the most fundamental language we have. Everything we do, the mind processes through images. When we think of our childhood, we rarely think of words. We think of images, pictures, sounds and sensations. That’s the way our brains are wired. If we want to learn a thing, we have only to consider the images, pictures, sounds and sensations of that thing to be on our way to adding it to our bag of tricks. There is a reason athletes visualize. A golfer forms a mental map of the fairway, imagining precisely where she will place the ball on each shot; a high jumper visualizes every split second of his approach to and leap over the bar; a baseball pitcher runs a mental film of the ball from windup, through the moment it leaves his hand until it lands in the catcher’s glove. We can do that too! Every action begins with a thought. And the more fully realized that thought, that image, that sensation, the more we integrate it into our body/mind. If there is something you want to do or learn, see it. See it in your mind’s eye. Practice it. Feel it in your body. Hear the sounds of it. Feel the emotions of doing it, of getting it right. Because come springtime, you will likely experience just that.

Relax! Winter is also a time of rest. It is a time for turning inward and enjoying quiet. During this time, we build the strength that will take us through the next three growth cycles. And those growth cycles are exhausting! Give yourself permission to rest. Understand that it, too, helps your growth enormously.

Roots serve many purposes for a tree. They gather nutrients and supplies so the tree can grow. They provide support for the tree to stand tall, to be strong. Our roots gather the nutrients and supplies we need to grow. They help us stand tall and be strong. This winter, change your thinking about dormancy. Gently place your attention on the roots that help you grow, that help you stand tall, that help you be strong. Nourish them and create the conditions for a flourishing, blossoming Springtime.

Happy Winter Growth my friends.

With love,
Caroleeena

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3 Responses to “Winter – The Time of Roots Growing beneath the Soil”

  • Dianthia says:

    Great job, Caroleeena. I am an associate pastor. I am doing the 2nd part of a 3-part series on the “Winter Seasons of our Lives: What is God Doing? How are we responding” (See Facebook homepage). As always, I like researching my topic. I place in Google: “Roots in the Winter” and landed on your great article by chance. Once again …Great job.

  • Amanda Walden says:

    I have to second your visualization recommendation. Visualization over last winter helped me nail the vortex hoop move in the spring! 😉

  • Negativecapability says:

    I love your blog! <3 Allison


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