|Under the Blanket of the Longest Night|
It’s one more week further into winter, and it’s a little bit darker each day, a tad bit colder, and the calendar is full of the next rounds of holiday parties, gatherings, meals, and if you observe Festivus, feats of strength! I am about to delve into the holiday baking and sending out cards to friends and family. It all seems a bit harried for me, but still enjoyable. Maybe because I have a little one who is having a blast counting down to Christmas. That childlike joy is pretty contagious and fun to watch.
But maybe, also, I am doing okay because I have decided to embrace the changing seasons this year. That whole experiment to curtail my seasonal affective disorder by approaching the waning sunlight with intention (and extra vitamin D) seems to be working so far. I also realized that all of the wintery holidays that happen around the globe have a common theme amongst them: light!
Beginning with Diwali, then Hanukkah, Yule, Christmas, and Kwanzaa…they all feature light as part of the celebration. Specifically in the form of fire (a la candles). And I realized how we’re all just trying to survive the dark days of winter by focusing on the thing we are all missing and, as a side effect, creating community and traditions and amusement. If we make it feel magical and special, grounded in family and food, and go off to dream of happy things on those special nights, we can keep the bleak feelings at bay. We can celebrate the extra time to sleep and rejuvenate. We can pretend to be bears hibernating for winter…at least until the alarm clock goes off.
Sadly, sometimes the celebration lights don’t reach us. Sometimes it feels like the candles were blown out in the wind, and there are no matches left in the box. I know it’s easier now than ever to exist in a personal bubble that lets us avoid other people, but truth be told, it’s healthier to have a community. Interacting with other humans can give us that sense of having a “safe place” to relax and breathe, even when the darkness seems endless. The soul may be willing to look to the sky, watch for the moon and the stars to light up the night, but our bodies may tell us to do otherwise. We can be the shining stars of our own lives, smiling and pretending to be fine while the darkness descends inside. If this is you, please, please reach out to someone who can help. Give yourself some grace. You don’t have to be “on” or accommodating or even happy. Try embracing the celebrations and allowing yourself to see the light.
Let’s mediate on that idea of inner celebration lights today.
Find a comfortable place to sit. Relax your shoulders, your jaw, your brows. Allow your hands to rest loosely.
I want you to envision a series of candles. If you have a holiday that uses candles a specific way, you might choose that presentation. If not, imagine there are five candles in front of you. They can be any color and in any arrangement. For any of you December babies, you might even envision a birthday cake with candles on top.
Now, I want you to pick a candle to light first. This candle represents peace. As you light it, watch the flame flicker and glow a blue color. It makes you feel calm and rested and full of a sense of well-being as you look at it. Breathe deeply and hold it for a count of five. As you release the breath, release any tension you are feeling around the holiday itself. Let the stress you are holding in your spine melt away like the wax of the candle.
Pick your second candle. This candle represents grace. In a sense, grace is forgiveness paired with acceptance and wrapped with encouragement. Light the candle and focus your attention on your heart chakra. Release whatever is heavy on your heart to this candle’s flame. The heavy feeling is slowly burned away, transforming into a fragrant smoke like incense. Allow forgiveness to surround you as you continue to breathe into your heart chakra. Allow self-acceptance to fill your heart. Embrace a knowing that you are on the right path.
Choose your third candle. This candle represents groundedness. As you light it, become aware of your body’s interaction with its surroundings. Feel how you are connected to the earth through the connections with the floor. Imagine sprouting roots from these connections that can reach deeply into the soil below you. The roots make you feel solid and supported and safely secure. Send down any negative thoughts or self-talk into the earth. The negative energy will be exchanged as compost, and you will receive deeply nourishing and restorative energy in return. Feel the positive energy circulating throughout your body.
Your fourth candle is hope. When you light this candle, give voice to the things you are hoping for this day, this week, this month, this season, and for the coming year. Allow yourself to feel the possibility of each wish. Focus on your crown chakra and sending those hopes and dreams up into the ether, riding on the light particles emanating from your candle.
The fifth candle represents love. As you light this candle, watch the flame burn a steady pink color. The pink light makes you feel warm, protected, and precious. You are bathed in unconditional love. You are covered as if a blanket were wrapped around your shoulders and held like a hug from the Universe. You feel this love energy filling your heart, your chest, your arms, hands, fingertips. It flows down to your toes and to the top of your head.
You are a being of love and light. You are peaceful, grace-full, grounded, hopeful, and loved. If your holiday candles have more than five, please continue lighting them with your own intentions for the celebration.
When you are ready to end the mediation, mentally blow out the candles, one by one, with gratitude.
I hope this meditation can bolster you through the longest night of Winter Solstice (on December 21st) and give you some internal light to carry forward.
As always, friends,
P.S. If you need more support this holiday, please reach out to your loved ones. You do not need to bear any pain or fears alone. You can dial 988 in the United States if you need someone to talk to.
INSPIRATIONS THIS WEEK
We’re feeling inspired by these incredible and thought provoking pieces:
- A plasma physicist explains what’s next after this week’s nuclear fusion breakthrough“We have plans to continue turning up the laser energy.”
- Eight weeks of mindfulness training improves adolescents’ attentional control, study findsA new study published in the Journal of Adolescence tested an 8-week mindfulness training program among a group of adolescent and adult females. The results revealed that both teens and adults showed improvements in reorienting their attention following mindfulness training.
- House passes bill allowing Puerto Rico to vote on statehood, independenceThe U.S. House has passed a bill that would allow Puerto Rico to hold the first-ever binding referendum on whether to become a state or gain some sort of independence.
That’s all for today, y’all – remember, taking time to focus on you is an act of love.
We hope you found this helpful – don’t hesitate to reply with any feedback on how we can improve future Mindful Moments! We can’t wait to hear from you.
See you next time!
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