Winter Solstice: maximize this energy

Season's Greetings

 

Do you feel tired and pulled down by the decreasing hours of sunlight in each day?

I know that I’m feeling a little more tired and sleeping longer. I’m also spending more time in meditation. My body is responding to the changes that are happening with the changing season.

Here in the northern hemisphere, we are inching our way towards the Winter Solstice on December 21. The winter solstice in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the most Yin day of the year. This means the shortest day of year and the longest night which comes with the longest period of darkness.

Yin energy represents darkness, winter, inner connection, transformation, and the divine feminine energy. Although Yin represents darkness, it’s soft, fluid and gentle. Rather than forcing and fighting she softens resistance and goes with the flow.

For many people, darkness carries a negative connotation. However, darkness also carries mystery, the unknown, the energy of creation, and the source of pure potential. When you close your eyes to rest, sleep or in meditation you return to the darkness. With your eyes closed you shut out the light with all the external distractions and connect with your innermost self.

With the coming of the winter solstice, we are encouraged to make time to look within, to reconnect with our heart and spirit, and to revisit our purpose, that which brings us peace, fulfillment, and joy.

Coming so close to the holiday season we are often tempted to ignore this time of slowing down and going within in favor of more Yang activities. We feel like there are a million things to do, places to go, and people to see. This often means that we are ignoring the internal tugs of our finely tuned bodies.

Artificial lighting and heating also mean that we often ignore the body’s natural inclination to rest and recover during winter. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop doing things, rather you need to listen to your body and if you were feeling tired and worn out give yourself permission to decompress, take a warm bath, go for a walk, take some time to meditate, do some deep breathing and Qigong.

As we move into the winter months following the solstice, it is also a time to nourish and you restore your body. This is the time for the nourishing benefits of bone broth soups with black beans, and dark vegetables. As well as slow cooked stews and other warming foods.

We want our bodies to be rested, fortified and strong so that it’s ready for the burst of energy that is needed with the coming of spring and summer.

Be kind to your body this holiday season and through the winter months. Listen to the inner intelligence you have within you that is urging you to slow down, go within and give it nourishment.

You are given only one body, how will you care for it this season?

From my heart to yours, may this holiday season and year be filled with love, joy, peace, and gratitude.
Carolynne

Nature A Wonderful Teacher.

Enjoy the seasonsSince I came back to Canada in 2009, I have enjoyed the unfolding of each season. Each season comes with its own beauty, feel, and energetic signature. I can’t really say that I have a favorite season for each season brings something new and different to behold.

Fall, with its magnificent display of color, is so beautiful it takes my breath away. The cool air on my cheeks as I walk in the river valley reminds me of how vibrantly alive I am.  As I wander about the farmers market, the sight and smell of the vast array of produce from this year’s harvest fills me with gratitude. Standing in the park watching the leaves gracefully float down to the earth reminds me letting go doesn’t need to be a struggle.

Nature is a wonderful teacher. We are a small universe in a Big Universe, the big Universe has provided Nature as a model for us to see and mirror. 

We see this mirrored in the plants as they surrender their harvest to us in the form of fruit, vegetables, grains, and nuts. We too should take stock of what we are harvesting this year. What did you plant, nurture and reap in your life? Take some time to look at the areas of your life and take stock of your harvest. Personally, I view fall, rather than the new year, as a time of inner reflection to view my harvest, to declutter, let go, and to set new intentions. 

The kaleidoscope of color displayed by the trees are their way of celebrating, reminding us to be proud of our achievements and to celebrate them. What will you do to celebrate your harvest?  I will plan an evening out with friends sharing love, joy and laughter. 

As you witness the leaves gently floating down from the trees notice how easily and effortlessly the trees let go of that which they no longer need. We can learn from this and let go of all the things that no longer serve us. 

Decluttering is a form of letting go which can be very healing and nurturing. 

Declutter our physical surroundings – cleaning out our gardens, raking the leaves, cleaning and putting away our summer items creates space in our environment. This is my time to go through my wardrobe letting go of clothes and other items no longer used so that they may find a new home and create some space in my environment. 

We can also declutter our emotions – What emotions are you holding onto that constrict and bringing you down? Perhaps it is time to let them go by focusing on what makes you feel expanded, happy, peaceful and content.  Emotions are our barometers, they tell us when we are out of balance. When I notice this imbalance, I give thanks to the emotion for bringing my attention to the imbalance. Then take steps to restore my balance with qigong, breathing, going for a walk, or meditating. 

Decluttering our minds can be achieved with deep Qi breathing. Whenever your minds get too cluttered with the jumble of thoughts flowing through, stop and focus on your breath for a minute or two and this will immediately disrupt your thoughts. The more you do this, the more you free your mind of mental clutter.

Fall is a time to begin slowing down and going inward. It’s a great time to go for a walk in nature. This helps to declutter the busyness in your life and reconnect you to your inner essence. Walking slowly and mindfully paying attention to your surroundings, your body, your breath, will help to restore balance and reconnect you to your soul. We all need time to slow right down and be fully present. 

Are you mirroring fall’s energy?  What can you do this fall to get in the flow of the season? 

Love to hear what works for you. 

With joy and gratitude, 

Carolynne

Fear & Gratitude: The Yin & Yang of Winter

In the 5 Elements Theory, fear is the challenging emotion associated with winter the water element.IMG_0875

Fear is something all of us experience, including myself. My deepest fear comes from feelings unworthiness. This fear has been responsible for the ups and downs in all areas of my life.

Having some fear is a good thing. Short term fear heightens our awareness and alerts us to danger. Excessive and prolonged fear, on the other hand, can have an adverse affect on our health.

In the world around us today fear is tagged to everything. We are bombarded by fears of food, the environment, our health, our future/retirement, other countries, our governments and the list goes on. 

It’s difficult to navigate this world and know what is best because many of these fears contradict each other. For example, we are told one food is not healthy for us and then a few months later we are told yes its good for us. And often we spend much time and money in the search to find ways to prevent harm from coming to us.

How many of our choices are based on fear?

Emotions carry an energetic vibration and can be every powerful.

In the 5 Elements Theory, living with constant excess fear can effect the kidneys, bladder, reproductive organs, hearing, back, feet, bone density, hormones, breasts and blood.   

The good news is that gratitude is the positive emotion to balance the fear. When we focus on gratitude we support, balance and nourish the organs blocked by fears.

When our bodies are in balance we create the space for healing to happen naturally, for joy to replace fear, and peace to ease stress. 

Over the years I have acknowledged my fears when they arises.  I don’t push them away or try to get of them, but instead thank them for their concern for my well-being and offer them love. Then I turn my attention and gratitude to the abundance I have in all areas of my life at this moment. Peace and contentment follow.

My Qigong practice has helped me to stay centred and balanced. The Qigong movement for gratitude in which we stand with our hands in prayer position, inhale and bow forward expressing gratitude and exhale letting go of what we don’t need while straighten up, is a powerful practice which helps to open and balance our energy channels and bring healing Qi to your organs.

Begin your day with gratitude, give thanks often during the day, and end your day with gratitude. 

With Qi~Joy and gratitude,

Carolynne

Following Nature’s Clues

caleb-george at unsplashNature’s transitions, like changes in daylight and colder temperature, throw many people off balance. The results of this can be seen in feeling down, wanted to stay indoors, struggling with colds and flu or even stomach viruses.

Don’t you find it interesting that Nature’s creatures are able to flow so easily between the seasonal changes? Plants and animals sense when it’s time to change and begin the process.  Plants and trees begin to go dormant, lose their leaves and the sap flows down in the roots preparing for winter.  Nature knows how to prepare for each season.

Following the clues from Nature allows one to flow in harmony with the changes and seasonal patterns. Fall is Nature’s time of letting go. Without letting go, there can be no real rest during winter, and no subsequent growth the following spring. Every part of the process has a reason and a purpose, and it all combines to create the cycle of seasons we witness every year.

This is the time for ‘letting go’ of things we don’t need. This could be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual things. For example, getting rid of clutter, releasing old ideas and beliefs that hold you back or processing life events. In letting go of what may be holding us down, allows our bodies to deeply rest. We build up our Qi, or vital energy, and use it to strengthen our bodies for the winter season.

What remains is that which nurtures us keeping us from getting stuck during winter so that we can be rejuvenated when spring arrives.

Here are 6 tips to help you build your Qi for winter:

1. Let Go: Is there anything physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually you are holding onto right now? Give yourself some quiet time to become aware of what needs to go. Most of us can release feelings of stress, “have-tos and need-tos”, and physical items. Letting go of that which is no longer serves us open the way for contentment.

2. Contentment is the positive aspect of fall. Look around and focus on the all the things that make you feel content. In this past years what positive things did you accomplish and that you are proud of. Will any of those things continue to grow and expand? Celebrate them.

3. Copy Nature: There is less daylight. Nature has slowed down. Match this vibration by allowing yourself to get enough rest. Start to slow things down in your life and give yourself time to unwind and relax.

4. Eat and Think for Healing: Treat your body right! Start by feeding it warm, loving foods and warm, loving thoughts. Remember, on a lower level, you are what you eat. But on a higher level, you are what you think.

5. Meditate and/or Practice Qigong : During this seasonal transition, sit in quiet meditation or slowly and smoothly practice Qigong, especially “Breathing the Universe”. Notice your body, your breathing, any tightness, where everything flow and the gems of wisdom that surface.

6. Get Outside: On a sunny day, bundle up and get outside. Let the sun shine on your face. Absorb all of Nature’s goodness and notice how Nature’s creatures are reveling in the warm sunshine, too.

When you flow with Nature rather than fight it, life is easier, more joyful and you smile more.

Breathe, smile and enjoy!