The pandemic may give you the nudge – or imperative- to scale back your normal holiday activities and take advantage of a quieter-than-normal holiday season. Here’s why you should go with that flow this year.
Most importantly, it may keep you safe and help you avoid getting (or spreading) the Covid-19 virus. It may also help you to resonate more authentically with the vibe of the season, which is quiet, internal, inward-directed.
Winter, the Season of Water, is the most Yin of all the seasons. The days are short, and nights are longest. The energy of winter is to go within, to be replenished, is latent, is being held in reserve. In the cool and dark, our energy can be preserved and stored for the coming spring. We use this season to replenish our internal stores, to rediscover and nurture our essence. This is the time when the seed is gathering strength and momentum for the seasons ahead.
We can use the natural energy of Winter to more deeply discover our essence, our inner imperative. This is time for internal work, for meditation, contemplation, reflection. This is a time for stillness, for listening to your still quiet knowing voice. If this is an unfamiliar process, then now is a good time to explore it.
How can you cultivate your internal resources? Some people like to journal, create art (visual, music or poetry/fiction, dance, sculpture, floral), some meditate (meditation keeps coming up, right?) , some enjoy a practice known as Morning Pages (by Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way). Many people take the concept of Morning Pages and simply adapt it to their wants/needs. You could read something inspiring. Rick Hanson Ph.D, lecturer/author recommends “leaning into good on first waking,” which is a cultivation practice. You could simply sit and observe, or walk and observe (no headphones) by looking at the plant life around your garden, neighborhood or favorite hike.
If none of these practices appeal to you, you might ask yourself why? Be curious about what makes you want to avoid the internal and quiet work.
Confession: Sometimes I’m too antsy to sit still. One frankly uncomfortable practice is for me to ask “why is this uncomfortable?” and see where that takes me. If I can combine curiosity or observation with walking, or observation with hiking I tend to do better. When you mix things up and try to do something differently, you have to potential to activate different parts of your brain and psyche which elicits a different response.
Here are six things to do for your Winter Water mind:
- Allow yourself to wake later and go to bed earlier.
- Eat warm and warming foods, hearty soups and stews, with warm seasonings like cinnamon and ginger, with root vegetables, beans and squashes. Good nutrition feeds the mind as well as the body.
- Since Winter is the Water element, try starting your day with a glass of water. It should be room temperature or warm, and you can have it plain or add a shot of organic apple cider vinegar or a squeeze of lemon. Then you can take whatever your morning habitual beverage is.
- If you find yourself getting bored during the day, have another glass of water.
- Set aside some time to reflect, observe, be still. Set a timer if you’re prone to fidget. Better yet, try this between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., which are the hours associated with the Water element.
- If you need a contemplative kick start, consider inspiring aphorisms or poetry or short essays, or anything by a writer or artist that inspires you.
Now just because this is a “still time” doesn’t mean one should be “still on the couch” all day, stagnating or stuck. No ma’am! Keep up with your exercise, fresh air and movement throughout the day. But take time – make time – to reflect, to observe, to take stock and be ready for the changes ahead. Because change is always ahead.
Image of man by Teddy Tavan at Pexels