Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn.
The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to colour.
~John O'Donohue, "Mitens" from Bless The Space Between Us
The Winter Solstice is approaching next week and as our daylight in the Northern Hemisphere shortens, we are experiencing the darkest days of the year. The Winter season teaches us to slow down, sleep, dream, go inward, and restore ourselves. In contrast, we are in the midst of a highly active, social, busy and often stressful time of year for many. In several of my interactions with people over the past few weeks, they have expressed how challenging these short-dark days are, and energy is often low or heavy. As I've reflected on the meaning of the Solstice and the seasonal transition, some of the things I personally wonder about are:
Does part of the struggle around this time of year have anything to do with our disconnection to Nature’s rhythm and cycles that are inherent in all living things?
Do our personal/societal pressures and expectations make if more difficult for us to accept the call this season offers, to take some much needed time and space for tuning inward, grounding, and connecting with what truly nourishes us?
As Nature rests and hibernates in the winter to prepare for another growth season, how can we give ourselves permission to embody this cycle within our own lives?
What would that look like for you?
A few seasonal tips for connecting within:
- BE in nature. Different landscapes have a way of inviting us to explore and remember our own inner landscape, rhythm and cycles.
- Engage in a restorative movement practice that involves connection to the breath, and meditation, such as tai chi, qi gong and yoga.
- Create space in your home as well as mental space for a quiet tuning in to body, mind, heart and spirit. If, or when, this is challenging, simply follow the rhythm of your breath.
- Enjoy a cup of herbal tea and journal about some ways you feel called to honor your natural rhythm, cycles and needs for self care this season. Allow your intuition to guide you.
If we truly wish to have more inner balance and energy flow, I believe it’s so important that we find what our natural rhythm of rest and activity is, and mindfully allow adequate time for both. Our personal rhythm is cyclical too, and it will shift throughout the year when we listen to what we need to feel healthy and whole.
I'd love to hear how any of this resonates with you, and how you are giving yourself permission to embody the teachings of this season.
May your winter season nourish, restore, and prepare you for the next season of growth and renewal!
Blessings and Light,