Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times


Katherine May describes wintering as “a season in the cold. It is a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider.” Wintering is a period of transition where you take a step back or step out. Examples include bereavement, childbirth, job loss, failure in relationships, and illness. “However it arrives,” May writes, “wintering is usually involuntary, lonely and deeply painful.”


This book comes at a perfect time and offers a hopeful perspective on embracing difficult times. Misfortune comes for us all and if we can embrace the possibilities for growth that exist between what was and what’s to come, we can begin to accept the unpredictability and uncertainties of life and hold greater reverence for brighter days. “We must stop believing that these times in our lives are somehow silly, a failure of nerve, a lack of willpower,” May writes. “They are real, and they are asking something of us. We must learn to invite the winter in. We may never choose to winter, but we can choose how.”