- the people who have have caused you stress or pain--- how, you ask? Consider the opposite quality of what they brought you and notice how your understanding of that positive quality has expanded based on what they gave you instead. Breathe and give this a chance-- there's a level of wisdom there that you may not have understood without that experience;
- consider looking back at your calendar to recall the events and experiences you'd had this year and the people/discoveries/growth you encountered there; and
- look around your space and notice the gifts or other memories that come up from the things you see around you.
However you decide to spend this day, give yourself some moments of reflection and find a way to be grateful for this day; for the season; for this year; for your life experiences.
With love, sat nam!
Every year as the Winter Solstice approaches, I begin to reflect on what that means to me. It's the shortest day of the year, meaning the least amount of daylight, and it introduces the first day of winter-- at least on the calendar. Inevitably, I am reminded of the cycle of life and this stage where I see nature dying. I think about life....and death.
It is at this time of year when we enter the darkness of the coming winter solstice, our energy can feel depleted or sad. Thoughts of death leave us feeling solemn. Or fearful. Or depressed. Or reverent.
As Rumi says-- "Don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet. But the roots are down there riotous". So while we see the cycle of life "out there" at its death stage, we can consider what's happening under the Earth.....and inside our own bodies-- it's riotous! It's regenerating, preparing for new life, feeling ALIVE!
There's a mantra that we use all the time in kundalini yoga: SAT NAM. This means truth is our name, or truth is who we are at our core. An expanded version of this mantra is SA TA NA MA, which also refers to the cycle of life: infinity-life-death-rebirth. In these mantras are the wisdom and vibrations of TRUTH. A truth that illuminates the darkness and helps us to see more clearly.
The wisdom that as events wind down, situations run their course, parts of us are lost or undergo change, and/or we feel the stress of challenging emotions, on the other side there's light and understanding and growth. We become something different; we are not the same. With conscious awareness and the wisdom to allow our emotions, to feel them, to reconcile with them......we receive their gifts. The love and reverence on the other side of Grief, for instance.
That truth helps us to be grateful for what's happening on the inside, despite what we see on the outside. I like to imagine the health and aliveness of my inner garden-- the elements of my microbiome riotous! Like an expert gardener, I use my practice in breath, mantra, movement and rest, as well as healthy foods, clean water, nature/air, and connection to nourish and cleanse and support my living. I find PEACE in the wisdom of the inner party celebrating and replenishing life, knowing I'll benefit from every part of the cycle.
I surrender to the ecstasy. To the quiet riot. To the wisdom of winter in the cycle of life.
How do you embrace (or not) this time in the cycle of life? How does the longer darkness impact you? What is your winter solstice ritual?
I would love to hear from you!
I am the Essential Soul Mama. I am a mama, a soulful-spiritual teacher, an intentional storyteller, and a lover of stories of all kinds, in all forms. I write about emotions, parenting, natural health options, mind-body-soul connections, and anything that elevates our lives.