Happy Winter Solstice!
As we near the end of the year and look towards 2016 and the seeds we want to plant for our year ahead, I want to offer you the gift of a gentle and loving challenge and a practice to support it.
It’s one that I’ve given myself too. It’s counter intuitive but there is a good reason for it.
As creative women with our hearts focused on the future we want to create and bringing our feminine leadership more authentically into the world, we are often focused on the ‘transformation’ we want to create, either for ourselves or for others.
This is wonderful and helpful and wise. We need to be in touch with the gestating vision that wants to be born. But there is a danger too. When we ‘know’ (spiritually speaking) that our potential is limitless, it can be easy to fall into the trap of expecting too much from ourselves, or wanting change to happen more quickly than the wider system of life wants it to.
We want to transcend the past conditions that have kept us stuck and really live our purpose. That’s natural. But what is also natural is the creative tension that we can feel between where we are now and where we want to be.
There is the ‘now’ experience and there is the ‘what we sense/desire’ of the future that is emerging. They exist simultaneously, even if we’re not fully conscious of them.
If the ‘now’ experience doesn’t feel good, then it’s easy to feel a painful gap between that and the future we imagine. With a strong sense of our emergent potential, it can be easy to judge our ‘now experience’ (where we are, how we are or who we are) as being ‘the wrong place’ or ‘not enough’ or ‘failing’ in some way. The natural response is to try to move away from the discomfort of the gap by moving our visions forward.
When we move into action to follow our inspiration and create new pathways, we’ll find ourselves getting stuck. What’s under the surface will put the invisible breaks on and we’ll spin our creative wheels in a way that isn’t very productive… ultimately staying in the ‘suffering’ of the perceived gap and reinforcing our judgements.
So my loving challenge over this Winter Solstice and holiday time is to pay deep attention to what is present now and to find acceptance and gratitude for all of it… and then immerse yourself fully in the emerging dream for 2016.
We all know that gratitude practices are probably the most essential practices for our healing work and spiritual well-being, but what isn’t so well understood is how hard it can be to find gratitude if we haven’t really acknowledged the judgements that are present for us first. Many practices try to bypass the feelings that stop us from experiencing true gratitude. We can’t feel the ‘perfection’ of our lives until we acknowledge where we might be suffering and include those experiences in our appreciation of life.
So here is a simple practice that you can do to support this process, honour where you are and bring this cycle of 2015 to a powerful close. It’s called:
“Being where you are and loving it ~ 3 Simple Steps To True Gratitude”.
Find a quiet place to sit alone and undisturbed for 20 minutes. Grab a journal and pen so you can make notes about your experience.
Connect with your heart’s desire
Bring your awareness to your heart and take a few minutes to connect with and feel your deeper desire for the future, for what you want to experience and create in your life and for life. What is it? How does it feel? Is there an image attached?
Then, acknowledging that deeper desire for the future, bring your attention to now.
There are 3 different elements I invite you to focus on during this practice:
- who you are – who you are being in your life now
- where you are – what’s happening in your life now, the circumstances
- how you are – the feelings you hold about who and where you are
Pick one of these at a time and sit quietly. You can go straight into a meditative practice or if you feel you need to contemplate for a while, begin by sitting and journalling about one or all of these 3 areas.
Ask these questions:
“Where am I in my life right now?”
“Who am I being?”
“How am I feeling about myself and my life right now?”
“What feels like it’s working and what feels difficult?”
“What are my judgements about myself, my life and my feelings?”
Inner practice – 3 steps to True Gratitude
Close your eyes and drop your attention into your body. Take a few deep breaths and bring yourself into a deeper state of awareness of the felt senses in your body.
1) Presence & allow
Bring into your awareness one of the elements above. For example, where you feel you are in your life right now. Consider all areas of your life. Your relationships, your health, your Soul work, your healing and spiritual journey, your creative projects.
As you do this, begin to attune to the felt sensations surfacing in your body and the thoughts or images that arise in relation to where you are. Just notice and welcome them all in.
What’s it like to just be with and allow them to be there? Stay with presencing and allowing and notice yourself becoming a container for all of these subtle experiences.
2) Feel & witness
As you begin to attune to what is present, become aware of the feelings that are surfacing paying particular attention to whether they are expanding or contracting your energy. Allow yourself to fully feel them.
As you do this, notice that there is a part of you feeling your feelings and another part of you witnessing your feelings. Pay attention to the witnessing energy and create space for your thoughts and feelings to be present without judgement or trying to change anything. Let the witness be the witness – the one that sees what is there, without making any meaning from it.
3) Love, accept & appreciate
As you sit with this experience notice what is happening in your body energetically. What’s it like to allow the presence of ‘what is’ to be there without judgement?
Stay present with any feelings of judgement without trying to change anything but this time take a moment to feel into your heart and invite the energy of love and acceptance to come in. Use your breath to imagine breathing love and acceptance into and out from your heart.
If it helps, invite in the unseen forces of Source energy to support you – whatever they look like for you. You can use an affirmation if you like. Here are a few good examples that are integrative in nature:
“Even though I feel (fill in the gap) I am learning to love and accept myself just as I am.”
“Even though I feel (fill in the gap) I know I am already whole and complete.”
“Even though I feel (fill in the gap) I trust the gift this experience is bringing.”
“Even though I feel (fill in the gap) I trust that my Soul is guiding me through this for a reason.”
“Even though I feel (fill in the gap) I know that where I am is exactly where I need to be.”
” Even though I feel (fill in the gap) I know that my life is perfect as it is.”
Whatever arises, welcome it. Continue to allow the feelings of love and acceptance to flow in.
Ask your deeper wisdom:
What else do I need to see and appreciate about what is present in me and my life, that will support me to be more loving and accepting of myself and my life?
Finally ask yourself and journal:
“What in me and my life am I most deeply grateful for?”
Journal what you find. Make a big list of what you are most grateful for within your self and in your life.
When you have done, go out into nature and speak it out to life as a Gratitude Ritual feeling the depth of your appreciation in your heart.
I’d love to hear about your experience with this. Please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a wonderful Solstice, Christmas and New Year holiday time and I look forward to ‘seeing’ you in the New Year!