Solitude isn’t loneliness. Solitude is when the entire serene universe seems to surround and hold you quietly.
Victoria Erickson--"Edge of Wonder"
New Year is off to a good start! I trust you’re still feeling the
hope and potential a new year holds. I wish you and your loved
ones the very best in this next turn of the Great Mandala. May
you receive all you need to navigate the times we are living -
may you find ease, joy, and grace in the midst of all of it!
During these first weeks of 2022, I can’t help but ponder the
miraculous possibilities that the future holds.
With hope and positivity in my heart, I'm inspired as I reflect on
the challenges, blessings, fears, and triumphs of the last two
years. Like many of you, my life has also taken a labyrinth of
twists and turns, but by grace, the wisdom and truth of life has
always been near. When I remembered, I noticed that the inner
and outer resources were readily accessible. Now, more than
ever, I realize what a gift remembering is! The inspirations,
wisdom, and insights, were right at my fingertips! What a
blessing to be able to make spiritual connections, so that every
day I build my capacity to remember Wholeness-individually and
collectively AND be engaged in the process of awakening!
I’m reminded again that there is nothing like the blessings of
nature that come with the cycles of the seasons to keep things
For some of us, this is the winter season. And, for some of us,
we're experiencing a metaphorical winter. Both are marked by
contrast, by a feeling of constriction.
At this time of year, in the northern hemisphere, I'm reminded of
Victoria Erickson's words in Rhythms and Roads:
So many feel lethargic , unmotivated , or worn out in this hemisphere.
We are really not made to rocket straight through Winter, ablaze with energy .
Look at nature .
The ground, the plants, the animals are deep at rest .
This is the natural way of things .
Spend some time with the long nights, the moon, solitude, the bare earth, stillness .
Be easier on yourself.
Nature's natural rhythms orchestrate daylight and nighttime,
when seeds lay dormant and when flowers bloom. These
energetic rhythms turn green leaves to bright red, gold, and
orange. We human beings (and all beings) are attuned to this
"universal sense of timing". Our physical, mental and behavioral
changes are guided by the 24-hour Circadian Rhythms cycle.
Because of these internal and external rhythms, we intuitively
and instinctively know when it is time to stop working, when to
rest, eat, or be active.
We can override those rhythms and use our energy and place
our attention on pursuits that are out of alignment with our own
and nature's rhythms. Not listening to our mind, body, and spirit
and not paying attention to what's happening in nature
diminishes our ability to renew and recharge. When we're out of
alignment with life's rhythms, we feel like a weary traveler who is
experiencing jet lag.This is the time to breathe deeply and look
at nature moving to its own organic timing. A walk in nature can
attune to us her organic rhythm, while allowing us to re-align our
own. When we move to our natural rhythm, this raises our
vibration so that we notice Wholeness within and in our world.
so we can achieve all we choose to do with less effort.
Our best guide is to listen to and move with our own internal
timing, while partnering with the rhythms of nature.
During 2022, we're offering you 12 gifts, opportunities to
connect with nature, the natural rhythms, and your inspired life.
Every day, each month, and at each turn of the season, we
have created a Co-Creative Mandala that represents what’s
happening in nature at that time. Each Co-Creative Mandala
offers a vibration and message that connects you to the
changes in nature that affect your life – physically, emotionally,
mentally, and spiritually.
In this monthly blog, you'll find a Co-Creative Mandala that
supports tuning into what’s happening in nature each month by
mindfully connecting to the seasons and your inner life. The
"mandalas within a mandala" offer an exploration of the changes
in nature and the way those changes affect you. Each day
throughout the year is an invitation for self-reflection, for
journaling, for noticing the ways that the energy and vibration of
the seasons affect you. This is a sacred, thoughtful, journey
toward aligning your inner and outer resources with the vibration
of Unity. When you gently gaze on each mandala, the
image becomes a portal for remembering and awakening to
your true nature.
We invite you to invest in yourself by connecting to the 12 gifts
found within each Co-Creative Mandala--a you explore a
pathway that allows Unity to emerge.
Unity, the Co-Creative Mandala vibration for 2022. Being able
to sit alone with your thoughts, feelings and body sensations is
a skill that takes time to master. We often reach for our phones
to distract ourselves, or rely on external stimulation to avoid
engaging in self-reflection. Solitude is the first step toward
awakening to Unity. Unity isn't a goal or a destination. It's the
reality of life. Nothing exists independently. No single
component is more important than another. Mindfulness, the
realization of the effect of our actions and appreciation of the
present moment, is the practice of remembering Unity. "Unity is
complete enlightenment, the spontaneous, uncontrived ability to
look at nature and the entire creation from the perspective of
Wholeness.” Tony Nader.
During our journey around the Great Mandala in 2022, with
each passing season and in harmony with the cycles of nature,
I'll be sharing insights, resources, and sacred practices that
support the 12 gifts--one for each monthly, seasonal Co-
Creative Mandala--as we awaken to Unity.
These 12 gifts include:
1. January: Solitude (finding the stillness at the center of your
2. February: Vision (envisioning limitless possibilities)
3. March: Blossoming (discovering what is emerging)
4. April: Coherence (feeling the connection within and with
5. May: Sensitivity (appreciating your divine gifts)
6. June: Oneness (letting go of feeling separate)
7. July: Goodness (suspending your inner critic)
8. August: Serendipity (seeing the wonder in everything)
9. September: Luminosity (accepting your brilliance)
10. October: Persistence (surrendering to the mystery)
11. November: Optimism (choosing your life story)
12. December: Contentment (pausing and appreciating grace-
This 12-month cycle is a journey through the seasons that
begins and ends with winter. Winter is all about contrast--both
the literal winter and the metaphorical winter we experience in
our human experience. Incorporating consistent daily practices
supports renewal and gives you the opportunity to bring
awareness to the present and find the flow in your natural
rhythms more easily and gracefully.
Ebb and flow is a natural part of all life.
If the entire cycle of the Great Mandala took place in one 24-
hour period, this time of year would be ~1am.
What are you usually doing at 1am? What does your spirit crave
at 1am? That's when the mind, body, and spirit seek deep,
delicious sleep, stillness. and solitude.
This is a time in the cycles of nature for absolute non-striving.
There’s no ‘DO’ing at 1am. Can you give yourself permission to
do nothing? To do things that don’t feel ‘productive’, but instead
feel restful and nurturing? Can you be easier on yourself?
Instead of crossing off To Do’s, can you sit and read a book??
How about soaking in a bath? Or enjoying a nap?!!
This applies to your personal and spiritual ‘work’ as well. No
striving or pushing there either.
In our 24-hour metaphor, that means most of the time from the
Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox may be spent in deep sleep.
Remember, part of the night (metaphorically, too) you’ll cycle
through REM sleep and feel inspired to journal, or do some
other activity that connects you with your deeper self and your
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., a physician, researcher, and
author of the book Sacred Rest reframes what respite truly
means. Sleep, she says, is but one of many forms of rest. To
experience restorative sleep, we need to pay attention to all the
other forms of rest during the day.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
In order to do that, consider adopting daily, consistent practices
in the following Four Containers in which you can enjoy the
benefits of Solitude as you practice Sacred Rest.
Four Containers of Sacred Rest: (adapted from a practice
by Homaira Kabir)
1. Physical Rest: Including napping and sleeping. Turning the
volume down on sensory input. Intentionally disconnect every
few hours. Close your eyes, put on soothing sounds, and give
your senses a break. How do you rest your body?
2. Mental Rest: Quiet your chattering mind. Create lists where
you dump all your thoughts and tasks onto. What ways do you
3. Emotional Rest: Body scan meditations are really helpful,
where you shine the light of your awareness on different parts of
your body to undo tension, and to understand what your
emotions may be asking of you. This is a really powerful time to
embrace a simple meditation practice. Can you give yourself 5
minutes a day to meditate? 2 minutes? Every other day? "In
meditation, all borders, boundaries, and separation between
ourselves and the universe begin to disappear. We begin to
realize the inherent oneness of all beings and all of creation."
H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji
4. Spiritual Rest: The sources of spiritual rest vary depending
on our beliefs and what we find uplifting. For some of us, it
comes from religion and prayer. For others, it comes from song,
dance, walking in nature, or pursuing a passion. It’s anything
that makes us feel part of something larger than ourselves.
What nourishes you spiritually?
Remember, Solitude means you have choices about when
and how you invest your time and intention toward integrating
rest into your daily life. One day, you may focus on Physical
Rest, the next day on Spiritual Rest. You decide...Create days
and design your life with joy and ease, while building resilience
along the way. Embrace a kind and loving relationship with
I can’t guarantee that any of these strategies will give you a
quick fix. But what I can say from my personal experience that
investing time, energy, and intention toward creating moments
of Solitude and nurturing all four containers of rest is that not
only is my sleep far more restful, but I also feel transformed as a
person. I’m far more present with the people I love. My focus
and creativity have never been better. And I feel a sense of
belonging with the world that makes me deeply grateful to be
The Co-Creative Mandala below, "Solitude" from a photo of blue
spruce (symbolizes darkness and peace) and snow (symbolizes
stillness) reminds us to tap into our inner resources, to practice
Sacred Rest. It's the perfect mandala for beginning our annual
journey around the sun and invites us to intentionally find
solitary, quiet time to just be. Solitude is an important part of our
self-care practices as we take refuge in a space that is both
beautiful and peaceful.
Create moments of Solitude anywhere and
at any time you choose.
Solitude "non-doing" sacred practice.
The real power of the exercise is the intention you place behind
it. This is the time of rest...for mind, body, and spirit. Our day
can include self-care as a whole while directing healing energy
where it is needed most. Start your day by setting the intention
that you are dedicating this time to self-care, to remembering
Wholeness by awakening to Unity. It's up to you to decide what
you need to do to cultivate self-care in your life. For some, it
may be time spent in reflection. Others will turn to calming
activities that help them remember their purpose, such as
journal writing, being in nature, or studying. Your self-care can
take a more direct form as you use the Solitude mandala to
balance and ground yourself.
Choose what you need to create sacred space: Flowers,
candlelight, incense, and music can guide your focus toward a
more tranquil state. You may choose to listen to music through
headphones since tuning out can help you tune in to Solitude.
Before you begin the practice:
First, invest some time reflecting on the winter energy and its
invitation to rest, dream, and be. You may choose to simply
reflect or you may choose to write in your journal. How will you
allow yourself to rest in the fertile darkness and Solitude this
Winter? How will you nurture yourself? How will you practice
self-care and self-compassion?
Now, the "non-doing" practice:
1. Take a few deep breaths to ground and center. Take your
time here. Don’t rush. Take several deep breaths and use any
grounding technique that works for you.
If you choose you can imagine a root extending from the base of
your spine and growing deep into the Earth. Invest a few
minutes feeling the Earth energy traveling up your root, through
your body and all your chakras. Imagine that energy bursting
through your crown chakra and extending far into the heavens.
Feel the Source energy entering your body through your crown
chakra and surrounding you.
Sit here for a few minutes, feel yourself connected to Source.
2. Allow your gaze to fall on the Solitude mandala. What do
you notice about the mandala? What draws your attention? How
does its energy feel in your body? Just notice and wonder...I
wonder what the Solitude mandala wants me to know? Feel its
vibration. Allow the Solitude vibration to flow to and through
your body, bringing you calmness and peace.
There's nothing you need to do...just be. Be with the mandala
vibration. Be with your thoughts, your feelings, the sensations in
your body. There's no right way or wrong way to be. Just follow
where your heart leads you...Locate the stillness at the center of
your heart and accept the gifts that Sacred Rest brings.
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
you find the happiness you deserve. And I hope you learn to
find yourself. To trust yourself. To feel and follow your heart. I
hope everything you ever dreamed of finds you--in the sweetest
and warmest way.
Peace and joy to your seeking heart,