I am going to take a mini retreat up until January 6th so that I can drink in the sacred stillness of this winterseason. I will not be going away anywhere, nor will I get to enjoy entire days of solitude or silence. I will still have to maintain my responsibilities as a parent and a business owner, a studio co-manager, and a yoga teacher, but I will be taking a break from anything that doesn’t need to be done at this time. I will not be starting any new projects or signing up for any new courses or “working” on my teaching. Rather I am simply going to focus on spending more time in practice (favoring meditation over asana for now), more time in conversation and connection with my loved ones, more time listening to the deep hush of this sacred time of year.
In the Christian traditions the period of time between Dec 24th and January 6th is known as the Holy Nights or the 12 Days of Christmas and is honored as a sacred time. For myself I feel that my own Holy Nights begin on the Winter Solstice and run right through to the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th. This is a time where I like to give myself extra space to savor, appreciate, and reflect on the joys and challenges of the past year, and though I planted many seeds at the time of Samhain (Halloween, Nov 1st) for now I give myself a break from working on those projects and visions and simply enjoy a quiet pause to enjoy the simplicity of Being. If I can do this fully then I can return to the activity of Becoming with much more true inspiration and focused intention.
Here are some simple ways that you too can enjoy this magical time of potentiality.
- Light candles.
- Drink tea quietly and silently.
- Create beautiful meals slowly and with great pleasure.
- Meditate more often or for longer periods.
- Put your legs up on the wall and just enjoy deep breathing and resting.
- Let your evenings be quiet when you are at home, favor gentle music over television or computer work.
- Connect with friends and family over warm meals or laughter filled game nights.
- Walk outside and take in the subtle beauty of winter.
- Don’t overeat. This includes not only food but also information, activity, or stuff.
- Maintain a sense of simplicity if your living space. Consider filling a box with stuff that you no longer use that you could take to a charity shop or give to people you know.
- Journal more. Reflect on your accomplishments for the last year and truly celebrate them. Remember all the good times you had with friends and loved ones. Honor the challenges you faced and the difficulties that arose. And finally do take the time to write out your dreams and visions for the year that is coming.
- Let yourself slow down and delight in this precious time of year- it only comes round once a year.