The Winter Solstice is happening on December 22nd. The annual marking of the longest night and shortest day of the year for the northern hemisphere. The southern hemisphere will also experience a solstice but for that part of the world, it is their summer celebration. The word solstice comes from the Latin word “solstitium” which means sun stands still. This is symbolic of the sun appearing directly above the Tropic of Cancer at the time of solstice when it seems to pause before changing from a southern direction to a northern direction. This cosmic shift in the earth’s planetary positioning to the sun leads us out of darkness and into more light for the days ahead. Ironically, this is also the official beginning of the winter season which is known for its colder, dark days despite receiving more of the sun’s light. This event is celebrated in many cultures as the death of darkness and rebirth of the sun. Coincidentally, it falls around the same time of year when most of the world celebrates the birth of a son with the Christmas season. It is a sacred time to trust the higher powers that be and even though you may not be able to see where you are going, there is light available to guide you. It is an ideal time to practice meditation and to look inward.
The winter solstice of 2012 set our existence into a cycle of awakening and ended life forever as we knew it. Many people have felt this shift and have made big changes in their lives, while many others are on the precipice of huge transformation. It is a dynamic and magical time to be alive. It is fertile ground for finding out who you truly are and releasing what minimizes your ability to expand. Each one of us is worthy of knowing our purpose and living it fully. The journey into finding this out begins with decelerating from the busyness of life and into the presence of now.
Our modern day holiday season is blanketed with marketing messages of consumerism and endless opportunities of entertainment which have us out and about more than what is ideal for the energetic equation of the earth this time of year. Therefore, it is easy to fall into the fast moving energy and out of balance. The key is to stay present and sure footed through it all. Use these simple mindfulness practices to stay grounded and out of the pitfalls of imbalance so that you may retain the clarity to experience the truth of this time of year.
Meditation is the best way to take a look inside and shine a light on your blind spots so that you may release what is no longer serving you. Start simple. Find a quiet place, sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair and set a meditation timer. Feel your breath move in and out. Pair with a mantra, as easy as “I am breathing in, I am breathing out”. For those that want more guidance, check out meditation programs like Head Space.
Be Aware of Your Breath
Consider this a mini meditation. At any time you can stop what you are doing and take a conscious breath. Even just one conscious cycle of flow will create more space in your life.
Slow Down the Chow Down
Never show up to a holiday party hungry. This will help minimize your chances of making poor food choices. While you are enjoying delicious holiday fare make sure to take one bite at a time, put your fork down between bites and drink water with your meal.
Hectic energy moves up in a spiraling motion, it can be hot, fast and overwhelming. Notice those signs and feel your feet in your shoes to ground yourself back into steadiness.
Take a yoga class, go for a walk or grab a doorway to stretch your heart open. Making more space in your body or literally making space between you and another person will allow for more ease in body, mind & spirit.
No Thank You
Remember this is a time of year to turn inward. It is perfectly acceptable to politely decline an invitation without giving a big story or telling a lie. Do this with self permission and without guilt. Most importantly, do it and then move on.
Wherever your travels take you over the next few weeks take these practices with you and notice how they make you feel. These are the beginnings of living a mindful life.