December 21, 2009

Making Peace with Winter

Posted in Mindful Living tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:00 am by moondeva

Today marks the first day of winter, the longest night of the year. All over the world people celebrate this change of seasons with fires, candles, and lights to welcome the return of the sunlight and the promise of new life that it brings. 

I am always surprised by how many people never notice the start of a new season. “Oh, today is the first day of winter?” There are others who are acutely aware of, and dread, the season either for its holidays stresses or lack of daylight and tendency toward depression. How do we acclimate to, and honor the change of seasons in our everyday actions?

While we hustle and bustle to create and enjoy holiday celebrations with friends and family it is important that we recognize what Nature (that also means you!)  is up to. Daylight is at a minimum, plants and animals are slowing, storing up, or stopping for winter,and the weather cools. Nature is conserving energy now in order to provide for new growth in spring.

If you notice you are getting a little more tired, hungry, even a little antisocial, take time to honor your body’s desire to attune with the natural cycles. Go to bed early if you are feeling tired, take some time to sit quietly with your favorite warm beverage and a book, or enjoy a long soak in the tub.

If you can, say no to holiday activities that do not truly nourish you, and if you say yes, make sure you have made peace with your choices so you are not at odds with your conscience. Like, if you have to go to Aunt Sally’s even though you have never gotten along with her, get clear on why you’re going. “Have to” usually means at some level you feel it’s important, otherwise you really wouldn’t go. Name why it’s important to you. Is it the idea of Family? Putting Aside Differences? Seeing other family members who will be there? Participating in traditions? …

To help your body stay in harmony with the shorter days and longer nights, try to get as much exposure to daylight as you can, and try this fun experiment:

When the daylight wanes, instead of turning on the electric lights, light candles around the house, keep the TV and computer off, and let yourself naturally wind down with the early arrival of evening. This is a wonderful time to make a fire in the fireplace if you have one, read or take a bath by candlelight, or just sit and talk with family and friends. You might be surprised that you feel ready for bed a lot earlier than usual – go with it! If you can’t make it from sundown to bedtime without electric lights, try 1 or 2 hours of candlelight before your usual bedtime.

A traditional meditation technique is to sit quietly and comfortably gazing at the flame of a candle. The image of the flame represents clarity, purification, and Truth. You might envision a similar flame residing in your Heart that keeps you connected to your inherent Wisdom, and True Nature which is free of obstacles and impurities.

Whatever tradition that you celebrate, may your season and new year be meaningful and abundant.

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December 12, 2009

Best of 09 cont….Dec. 7 through 11

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 4:29 am by moondeva

 

December 7  Best blog find of the Year: Have to say this is super tough since I only just starting reading blogs a few months ago and there are soooo many faves. Since my mommy brain is mostly fried, I am loving the humor these days so my fave in that category is Aunt Becky at Mommy Wants Vodka. Pure hilarity!  Haven’t found a favorite Yoga Insights blog yet, but have a whole new list of blogs as of yesterday and looking forward to reading them. Really love Gwen Bell because of her insights, and also for this Best of ’09 thang which has helped me get started blogging! thanks!

December 8  Moment of peace. My 2009 best moment of peace hasn’t happened yet. But I have a plan – keep reading. First, some context (and venting).  I try to make regular moments of peace for myself amidst the yoga teaching, mothering, wife-ing, householding, entrepreneur-ing. I am the kind of person who can get a gazillion things done during a couple hours. But, now I have an 8-month old. It has been 8 years since I had a little baby in the house. I knew things would be different, but I forgot how little time I would have to Get Things Done. Now, I’m lucky if I have 10 minutes to check email while eating my breakfast, while holding my foot over the glowing blue button on the CPU that The Crawling Baby is obsessed with pushing. I’ve been trying to get to writing this post for 3 days. 

OK, now for the Plan for the Moment of Peace: Every year on the Winter Solstice, I build a special Yule fire – adding big branches of rosemary, lavender, and little things that I’ve saved throughout the year that it’s time to get rid of: dried roses from my glorious bushes out front, little prayers that I’ve tucked under into my altar… Last year we didn’t turn on any electric lights (or tv, or computer) when the day darkened. We just filled the house with candlelight and firelight. I’ll try for the same thing this year although not sure how it will go with a lot of candles and The Crawling Baby. Maybe the fire will have to suffice. In any event, I plan on cozying up with hot chocolate, my kiddies, my fire, and my brimming Yuletide Spirit to celebrate the Season of Peace.

December 9 Challenge. Giving birth the old-fashioned way. ‘Nuff said.

December 10 Album of the year.  I’m always hunting for great Yoga music. I like Classical Indian or ambient music that has a classical Indian flavor. The Album “Anjali” features acoustic guitarist Michael Mandrell and Indian music master alchemist, Benjy Wertheimer. Mellow and intriguing, great background music for massage or meditation, but also great, almost shamanic, for asana practice. Not too trippy/New Age-y. Student tested, teacher approved.

December 11 The best place.  Hmm. risking cliché, The Present Moment is the best place, Always.