It's possible, even in the midst of anything, of everything, to turn towards joy. To invite tranquility. To invite softness. To receive it wherever it may be found.
Today is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (and
Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere). The cycle of the
Great Mandala is complete. In Nature's stillness, allow yourself
to savor fulfillment.
So … we’re in the cold season--the shortest days of the year.
This is the season for meditation, sacred practices, and using
our tools for growing inner strength for reconnecting with your
most tranquil and essential self. These days are for sleeping
and snuggling. For going slow. Drinking hot tea. Dreaming by
the fire. Trusting the light will return, in due time.
Modern society and the demands we put on ourselves, can
keep us from our most important work in winter: Reclaiming
tranquility… and feeling balance and joy, calm and connected.
It’s a cruel irony that right now, when our spirits need rest, we’re
also in the craziness (and fun) of the holiday season.
Winter can be such a difficult season for so many of us. The
long, dark days can feel very heavy and depressing. Unlike the
song "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year", it can be a really
challenging time. I think a big part of that disconnect is because
we're not aligned with Nature's rhythms, the seasonal energy.
Instead we're working against it and because of that, it's
creating a lot of dis-ease in our spirits.
The good news: We can choose to focus on self-care. When
you're aligned with the natural cycles, the energy is so
supportive, so deeply nurturing to your spirit--when you allow it.
The most ancient spiritual wisdom was centered around the
predictable shifts in seasonal rhythms that govern all of life. With
mindful awareness, we can draw on a multitude of healing
blessings available to us each day during this (and each) cycle
of the year.
Each month this year we've journeyed along the Pathway to
Oneness, exploring the natural rhythm of each season, honoring
and celebrating nature. You've learned monthly practices
designed to connect you to the energies and blessings of each
season. This season’s energy of rest is vital for restoring our
energy and after the outward-focused months of summer and
facing our shadows in the fall. We need winter’s rest to prepare
our spirit for the return of the growing months ahead when we'll
explore the Pathway to Unity (the Co-Creative Mandala theme
When thinking about following any spiritual path toward
remembering our Wholeness and all that entails, I'm reminded
of our basic need for connection. According to scientist,
psychologist, and spiritual seeker Dr. Joan Borysenko
there four essential blessings of deep connection that every
human being needs to feel tranquil and whole:
1. Connection to your essential self--your true nature, your
2. Connection to the beauty and biorhythms of nature--the
nurturing energy and cycles of the Great Mandala.
3. Connection to the present moment--mindful awareness,
self-compassion, and self-love.
4. Connection to infinite spirit--Source.
The Winter Solstice is a particularly powerful time for slowing
down and reflecting on those essential blessings. In order to
make the connection to our inner and outer blessings, our
resources, rest is really important soul work right now. This is
the time to reflect on what we're ready to release and to dream
about our intentions and hopes for ourselves, others, and the
world in the new year. Lafayette, Colorado poet and author
Mary Saracino describes the solstice as, the “night of unfurling
desires” in her poem "Winter Solstice Prayer".
Deep night, Dark night
Night of the longest sigh
Soulful night, Sacred night
Night of the longest dreams
Cold night, Holy night
Night of unfurling desires
Womb of the world, Birther of hope
Bringer of peace and good will
Pray, pray for all good things
That suffering for all will end
That life will thrive and generosity reign
In the hearts of all humankind
That joy will rise and children will fly
On wings of prosperity
Oh hear our plea, this silent night
When the moon is round in the sky
When hopes are high and eyes are wide
with delight and audacity
May Love prevail tonight, and always
Leading us back to our Source
May we dance with the dark, without hesitation or fear
And savor her promise of plenty
Night of the longest sigh
May our weary hearts stay vigilant and receptive
To all that is loving and dear
Adapted from The Seasonal Soul
In the midst of the holiday madness (even if we don't participate
in it, we can still feel the collective energy) I'm offering these
practical tips for finding tranquility so that you remember to stay
calm, peaceful, present, and relaxed over the next few days and
weeks so you can more fully experience the natural rhythm of
the winter season.
1. Make self-care your number one priority.
Take extra gentle care of yourself. Doing good things for
yourself will keep you centered. Just as important--practice self-
2. Slow down & breathe.
Literally, slow down. Walk slow. Drive slow.
Take several deep breaths. (Exaggerated, deep belly breaths.)
You can do this in traffic, in a shopping mall–anytime you feel
out of alignment with the seasonal energy.
3. Set boundaries. "No" isn't a four letter word.
Be super protective of your energy. Remind yourself that self-
care is your number one priority.
And, you know what … people who care about you get it. And
usually they feel more empowered to protect their own energy in
the same way.
4. It's okay to be mediocre. (GASP!)
When you start to envision those perfect scenarios, the perfect
holiday things-traditions, crafts, activities, meals. STOP. Remind
yourself that what matters most is feeling rested so that you are
present for sharing the love and spontaneity with your family
and friends. May you be gloriously mediocre and totally in the
5. Savor the small things.
Step outside (literally) of the whirlwind, pause and really notice
all the beautiful, magical things about this time of year. Take in
the sights, sounds, tastes, and scents you love about the
Even if you only incorporate one of these tips, you'll be that
much closer to finding tranquility even in the chaos.
The Co-Creative Mandala below, "Tranquility", from a photo of
Pine (symbolizes strength), Blue spruce (symbolizes
resilience), and Snow (symbolizes tranquility) reminds us that
no matter how dark it gets, there’s always a spark of light. The
light will always return. A new day will always begin. Each
season and its inherent healing blessings contribute a vital part
to the wholeness of your life. The mandala revolves eternally,
offering continual opportunity for our personal evolution
throughout all the seasons of our lives. Welcome this new turn
of the Great Mandala with an open mind and an open heart.
In the darkness, new dreams are born.
Bring darkness to the Light and chaos to tranquility.
The real power of the exercise is the intention you place behind
it. This exercise is a powerful tool for clarifying and manifesting
your dreams and desires. When we give attention to our hopes
and intentions and then do something tangible to represent
them, we begin to make them real. As you send your intentions
out to the Universe you are creating a powerful affirmation for
You'll need your journal and an unlit candle.
Before you begin the practice:
First, invest some time reflecting on the winter energy and its
invitation to rest, dream, and be.Write in your journal.
1. How will you allow yourself to rest in the fertile darkness this
Winter? How will you nurture yourself? How will you practice
self-care and self-compassion?
Now, reflect on the past year. Autumn was all about reflecting on
the things, people and/or beliefs you were ready to release from
2. What are the remaining things, people, beliefs you’re shaking
off? What feels good to release from this year?
Next, reflecting on the year ending and and a new year
beginning that brings new hopes and intentions.
3. What seeds of new beginnings are you already starting to
dream about? What ideas are coming up for the new year?
Get really clear & very specific about what you’d like to
draw into your life. (The clearer you are the more power
the exercise will hold).
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.
I like to imagine a root extending from the base of my 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.
Sit here for a few minutes, feel yourself connected to Source.
2. Focus your attention on the "Tranquility" mandala.
Feel its vibration. Allow the "Tranquility" vibration to flow through
your body, bringing you calmness and peace.
Ask the mandala to support you, and to absorb the limiting
beliefs you want to leave behind with the old year.
As you think about what you want to leave behind, let your
thoughts flow into the mandala. Give the mandala the darkness
so that from the darkness the light can return.
3. Hold your unlit candle in your hands.
Close your eyes and think about all the hopes and dreams you
have for the new year.
As you hold your candle say out loud what you wrote about your
intentions and dreams for the new year. Read aloud what you
wrote. Don’t hold back. The clearer you are, the more energy
you will give the candle.
As you hold the candle, ask the Universe to hear your call. Ask
for help bringing your dreams to life, for support in realizing your
4. Place your candle somewhere it can safely burn all the way
5. Light your candle and say a prayer:
Say a prayer that all your hopes will manifest with the flame of
this fire. Ask for all your limiting beliefs to be burned away. Ask
for this Solstice flame to light the spark of your intentions and
dreams for the year, and to give you the strength, resilience,
and tranquility to bring them to life.
Spend a few moments in meditation. You may choose to use the
"Tranquility" mandala as a focal point. Notice and wonder...
Close your eyes or gaze into the flame of your candle. Send a
silent prayer of thanks to the Universe and to your guides and
visible and invisible supporters.
Wishing you the blessings of Nature throughout the Winter
Tranquility and joy to your seeking heart,