Updated: Jul 7, 2022
I used to dislike winter immensely. In fact, as the cooler months approached so too did my plans of travelling to somewhere where the sun was shining. Perhaps you can relate? What if I said that my desire to escape winter was less about fun adventures and more about an unconscious pattern, hidden at my depths, to avoid mySelf. Could you relate to that too?
Winter has been a teacher for me, from which I have learned some hard lessons and, at the same time, it has been a source of inspiration to return to my cyclic, feminine embodiment. Although I can't share all that I have learned in this blog post, I to intend to offer some deeply explorative practices to help you gain more awareness around the habits and patterns that are holding you back from slowing down. Let me say up front, it may be confronting... AND if you can turn towards that confrontation, it going be worth it!
So take a moment now to make yourself a cuppa and cozy up while we explore 5 Soul Deep Practices to Get to Know YourSelf this Winter.
I spent nearly a decade living back to back summers. From October to March I would soak up the vibrant energies of the southern hemisphere and then I'd travel North chasing the sun to avoid the cold months of winter.
A dream life, some might say.
Before I understood much about feminine embodiment, I considered the flow of the suns energy to be a similar reflection to that of my own. If I could imagine my energy over the course of the year, it would looks like this.
I thought the best way to combat the lack of energy was to go somewhere where I could recharge my solar batteries and keep on chugging along, at the intense pace, that I was conditioned to.
But, just like the saying goes… "everything that goes up, must come down". After years of energetic high, naturally the path led me down… into a tangled grove of health issues and a compromised nervous system.
I was overwhelmed by an illness that overstimulated my thyroid and endocrine system. My nervous system literally catapulted into a state of hyperarousal that made it impossible to do anything beyond the basic day to day functions and even then my heart rate was life threatening.
I have no doubt that this physical symptomology was a direct correlation to my adventurous and very over stimulating way of living. Ironic, given that I had literally manifested my dream life and the dream life of so many others!
In hindsight, I can say that I was resisting winter. I would say that it was because 'I didn't like the bleak weather', or the feeling of being cold. I could say that it was because 'I wanted a break'. And diving deeper that part was true. However it wasn't a break in the seasons that I was longing for, it was break in the incessant state of busyness that I had chosen to create for myself.
Paradoxically, my way of travelling was the furthest thing from slowing down...
So on an unconscious level I was longing to slow down and at the same time, I was resisting it.
What a conundrum!
By neglecting the balance of active and restful living I found myself at the precipice of a hard learned lesson; one centred in feminine, cyclic embodiment.
The solar year provides the highs and lows of natures energetic cycle. Whilst there is much to be gained in the vibrant, outward energies of summer, there is also something essential in the yielding energies of winter. Not surprisingly, this state of waxing and waning energy is reflected in the phases of the moon and of our own menstrual cycles. I share more about this in my free guide, Awaken Your Cyclic Gifts, which you can download here >
Winter offers a wholesome balance of rest, reflection and renewal, which is essential in the cyclic Nature of all living things. If you can allow yourself to surrender to the natural rhythm and pace, there are lots of precious gems to discover inside yourself and within the folds of darkness and furling energy.
Having now experienced Winter with this awareness, I am excited to share with you some of the wondrous explorations that I have journeyed with during this time of learning to slow down.
So are you ready to dive deep?
Here are 5 Self Care Rituals to Deepen Your Relationship With YourSelf this Winter and if you make to the end you will access a one hour Solstice Ritual where you can be held, with me in sacred space.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE DARKNESS
Depending on where you are in the world, winter is often associated to shorter days, meaning less sunlight. It provides the perfect conditions for long, deep sleep and quiet inward reflection.
Travel back in time just 200 years and there was no electricity. When the sky was dark, there was little else to do than sleep. Today we have filled our world with artificial light and in turn, we have created a perpetual 'on switch' for ourselves.
Winter comes and goes and we don't even notice the darkness, other than perhaps the inconvenience of not having enough time to get outdoors and enjoy the sun.
This ritual invokes self exploration through surrendering to the darkness.
Turn off the lights, and allow the darkness to inspire how you spend time with yourself.
See what arises for you, it may feel uncomfortable or even a little scary, that is OK, be with that. Most of your learning comes from venturing outside of your comfort zone, so take yourself there and know that the experience is only fleeting but learning may last a lifetime.
Tune into your senses.
How does the darkness make you feel? Is there a physical sensation in your body?
What do your eyes sense?
What do you notice about the quality of sound?
Is there a taste or smell that you can associate to experience of darkness?
Does the darkness stimulate any of your senses, making them more alert?
Are any of your senses subdued by the darkness?
Explore this experience, your feelings, your thoughts, your desires, are they comfortable or not?
I encourage you try this practice a few times and see if you notice any difference in the reactions that you have physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And, if at any point, you can surrender to the darkness and its support for rest and replenishment.
BECOME AWARE OF THE POTENTIAL THAT EXISTS IN THE PAUSE
You have already determined that most people like to operate in hyper-speed, and you may relate to that yourself, so it is not surprising that when things slow down people still manage to fill every moment. Why is that?
If you have ever dared to try a digital detox then you will know, better than most, that time stands still when you are not being stimulated by the pulsating lights of a technological screen.
If you haven't, imagine the power going off. Indefinitely. No resources to charge phones, laptops, computers, TV screens and general house hold technology. Now take a moment to move past the immediate thought, "No way, it's not possible" and sink into it... really let yourself go there.
Become aware of the change that happens to your list of things-to-do. Notice the spaciousness in your morning, your evening, your entire day. Think of all those times when you would otherwise be conversing, texting, Facebooking, Instagraming, emailing, zoning out to Netflix and notice that there is an immense amount of time where you now have no-thing to do, no-where to be.
The essence of this spaciousness is a gift offered to us by Winter. Within that spaciousness exists unlimited potential. What is time when it has no agenda, no constraints, no distractions?
You need not turn off the power to experience this sense of unlimited freedom, you do however need to stop and acknowledge that through out our day there is an abundance of 'moments' that you unconsciously fill on your devices.
If you made those moments conscious, in everyday life, and chose to dedicate a few of them towards taking a pause, creating space and simply being, what would that feel like and in what ways would it support you?
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO SLOW DOWN
They say the the strongest thing in this world is also the softest, that is water. It has the ability to move with such force that it can cut through land mass, relocate boulders, trees, houses and objects of magnitude. At the same time, a drop of water propelled by gravity can trickle so slowly down the side of an icicle during winter that it freezes in mid-motion.
If you are to learn anything from Nature, may it be to surrender. To let go of the need to control the outcome and simply be with what is. You will get to where you are going, one way or another. Personally my preference would be to do so with as much ease and effortlessness as possible.
You see, even when you slow down, you are still moving, the key difference is that you are moving with momentum rather than having to dig deep to draw on reserves of energy that are better spent keeping your body warm and restoring your well-being.
Giving yourself permission to slow down isn't necessarily easy. With a lifetime of conditioning and behavioural patterns just the thought alone may challenge you. It is a good thing to explore.
What are your beliefs around slowing down? Are these beliefs in alignment with your values of well-being?
Do you associate the act of slowing down with being less productive?
Where is your edge, how slow can you really go?
What feelings do you have around the words surrender and yield? Can they become words of empowerment for you?
What other things do you give yourself permission to do?
Do you notice a pattern to how you use your energy, short fast bursts, long steady endurance, lots of crashes and burns... etc? Is your current pattern supporting a state of wholesome well-being?
What does the balance of fast and slow look or feel like to you?
TURN YOUR ENERGY INWARD AND GET CURIOUS
The nature of winter is to furl inwards, it is an invitation to be still and listen.
When we give ourselves permission to slow down and open to the potential of the pause, great self discoveries can be made. Winter presents the prime opportunity to meet yourself with spaciousness, those fleeting 'aha' moments that get engulfed by the distractions of your life can linger long enough for them to morph into epiphanies.
It all starts with curiosity.
The great Albert Einstein was quoted saying, "The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."
It is your curiosity that allows you to observe, explore and transform your experiences of life. Let's work with this example. You feel a wave of emotions rising up inside of you, they are urging you to react to a situation in an explosive way, do you play the part and the let the emotions evoke you, or do you pause to observe with curiosity what will happen to the emotions if you simply notice them inside of yourself?
So often people run on auto pilot, reliving the same patterns and behavioural responses to their thoughts and emotions, over and over again. When you become curious about what is driving you, your awareness expands and you become a witness to your own thoughts and experiences.
Your curiosity is like a trail of breadcrumbs that can take you on a journey of self discovery.
I worked with an amazing wise woman, who would guide a meditative process that allowed you to just drop into that sense of vast spaciousness inside of yourself. The objective was to simply be in that spaciousness and notice what energy and sensations are present and apart of you.
There would be times where I could sit for hours in that still space and feel peaceful emptiness, and other times where I would be met with undefinable feelings, physical discomforts or an awareness of something, but I couldn't put a finger on what it was.
The practice was to simply be with it all, to be curious and open.
Considering there was never any attempt to try and fix anything, deal with anything, change anything, it surprised me how effective this practice was at transforming my relationship with myself and my instinctual reactions to life.
This simple and profound practice has continued to be a fundamental keystone for healing and self exploration for me.
The unbiased, non-judging curiosity is not driven by the desire to find an answer, it is quite simply, just curious. This is what I think Albert Einstein is referring to, a curiosity that can can take you places, break down barricades and pave new steps without even having to ask a question.
Finding your own practice that allows you to drop into the spaciousness inside of yourself is an essential aspect of wholesome well-being. If you have such a practice, I encourage you to find your still-point and then get curious, see what arises.
If this is all new to you then I highly recommend getting curious... it is curiosity that will open the door to a practice that feels good for you.
LET GO OF ANY RESISTANCE AND FIND YOUR FLOW
Winter carries many stigmas and it can be helpful to explore your own thoughts and beliefs about it.
Let's explore your relationship with Winter, when you think of winter....
Are you in anyway resistant?
Are there any significant experiences in your life that impacted your first reaction?
Is there a significant energy/emotion/way of thinking?
Are you open to creating a new experience?
What qualities of Winter do you appreciate?
Winter, it is a part of a cyclic rhythm in nature that does not stand alone. Its gifts are strengthened, balanced and empowered by Spring, Summer and Autumn. Take a moment to consider how your energy fluctuates through out the year.
What is your ideal of self nourishment and how do you see the seasons supporting that?
If you had to map your energy levels from the start of the year to the end, how extreme are the two polarities (highest amount of energy to the lowest)? Is there any relevance to the seasons? Does this flow feel harmonious?
What changes do you notice in yourself through out the year that you associate to a particular season? And how do these changes affect your self care routine?
What do you appreciate the most about your fluctuating energy levels?
Every experience you have in this life impacts how you relate to the next experience. Sometimes you don't even realise that your thoughts or past experiences are sabotaging your ability to make the most out a new opportunity.
It is always good to check in every now and then to see if there are any limiting thoughts, beliefs or decisions that you may have made in the past that are no longer serving you. Hence these probing questions.
Take the time to sit with each one, on a logical or rational level your answer may come with ease, but if you sit with them (a little longer) you may find that there is a deeper layer, in your body, that can shed some light. See how you go.
SOLSTICE RITUAL TO DEEPEN YOUR CONNECTION TO THE UNSEEN FORCES SUPPORTING YOUR LIFE
If you have made it this far hooray! I am excited to share a nourishing Solstice Ritual with you to really dive deep and feel held in a safe and sacred space.
This guided ritual creates a space to honour this time of inner and outer change. You will be invited to meet yourself and the energies that are supporting you as you breakthrough old beliefs, behaviours and though process that are holding you back from living a more radiant life.
With the help of the elemental forces you can purify, cleanse and renew your state of being.
In preparation for this journey you may like to have: 2 empty bowls, 4 candles, 3-5 pieces of paper, pen & journal
0:00 mins - Intro to Solstice Energy and what you need to prepare for the ritual.
5:56 min - Invoking the Elemental Forces
23:15 min - Ritual Process for Self Enquiry and Inner Change
I urge you to welcome the invitation of winter, to show up, with openness and curiosity, to explore that pivotal pause, the essential darkness and most importantly, yourself.
In the coming weeks I look forward to sharing more conversations as we dive deeper into this journey of harnessing our creative life force and finding more ease and flow within the busyness of life. Come and join the conversation on Instagram or Facebook.
Wishing you ease and warmth this winter,