After coming out of the whirlwind that was the final months of 2013, here we are days before the holiday season and fast approaching the celebrations of the winter solstice. I've had the pleasure of speaking to many about the countless transitions that have surfaced over the year, about things breaking down as fast as they began, about fast-paced change and the awareness of what needs letting go, and about the things that are no longer working for us evolving. 2013 has been humbling to say the least. Just when I think I've got it, it's gone.
Last week, Uplift was honoured to host our final community meditation of the year celebrating the winter solstice under the full moon. We had a full house with Jeremy Sills leading a crystal bowl meditation by candlelight. It was truly a special evening. With the healing sounds of crystal bowls and voice, we invited the old to depart and welcomed the new into our lives with the power, clarity, and grace to move forward on our paths. We honoured the divine light in each other and prepared to welcome the return of the light in the coming days. One thing that has become very clear this year is the strength of our community and the support we all have along our spiritual path for personal growth and development. I will write more about the importance of community in the New Year. Uplift has some great developments and projects that I'm excited to share with you.
Managing The Stress Of The Season
December and the holiday season is stressful for many. There's no escaping the energetic frenzy. As soon as you walk out the door, it hits you. The busyness and pace with which we're living our lives compounds the issue. We tend to be running on empty at this time of the year.
The stress of the season and the energetic shifts happening on the planet create an intense atmosphere. We are being called toslow down, breathe, "get grounded", and get to the heart of who we are and our purpose on Earth. The layers of our being continue to shed. Let them. After all, it was the year of the snake!
As we find ourselves in the busyness of this holiday season, I encourage you to do one thing out of all the priorities on your to-do list. I invite you to rest and connect with your heart in these dark days. Rest. Be quiet. Be still, even if it is for just a few moments. It's what Nature is telling us to do.
I was inspired by this talk by Kelly McGonigal, PhD. She is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University and a leading expert in the new field of "science-help". She has much to say about managing stress over the holidays and shares some centering words around compassion for those experiencing the season in a different way. Whether they are a loved one or stranger, the important thing to remember is to have compassion.
The December chapter of Angeles' Living in Gratitude is called 'The Mystic Heart' and it reads, "December is the month of holy days and holy nights, a time to express the spirit of love and generosity. It's coming back to this remembering of what is good, true, and beautiful within the human spirit that infuses this month with meaning. It's a time of spiritual renewal and reflection in many world traditions...it is no coincidence that the root words of whole, health, heal, and holy is hale. When we heal, we become whole - we are Holy."
During the holidays and the days leading up to them, it's so important to open up to the healing forces and natural states of grace that allow us to be whole and healthy.
"We don't become holy by acquiring merit badges and brownie points. It has nothing to do with virtue or job descriptions or morality. It is nothing we can do in this do-it-yourself, 7-step approach world. It is a gift, a sheer gift, waiting to be recognized and received."
~ Madeleine L'Engle
Instead of getting caught up in the frenetic pace of the season, resolve to take a different approach. During the darkest days, take periods of rest for renewal. Practicing gratitude, working with the breath, and caring for oneself through mindful conscious rest are all ingredients that invite the soul to speak. Listen for the gems of truth in these moments.
Find it in your heart to come of out of your shell to do what you are meant to do, be who you are meant to be, speak your truth. When you find your authentic place and bring your gifts and innate talents forward, the world becomes a much better place to live.
A Gift For You
One of my most cherished renewal practices is Yoga Nidra, otherwise known as yogic sleep. Yoga Nidra is so powerful that one hour of practice is equal to 3-4 hours of rested sleep. The holiday season is a perfect time to start a new practice of getting grounded and reconnecting with your higher self.
My gift to you: the Uplift 21-minute Yoga Nidra practice.
May you move with power, clarity, and grace. May you invite the inspiration of your creative imagination, align your Will with the Divine Will, and manifest your deepest desires. May you have a peaceful, calm, and restful holiday.
Much love and light,
PS - if you are looking for a hit of inspiration over the holidays, listen to a dear friend's podcast called Unplug.