Like 2016’s goal statement of Think, Believe, and Act with a Healthy Balance, I want to try to be proactive and follow my passions while not rushing into things (leaving me out of balance) or otherwise distracting me from my commitments (or even what is good for me). I find that if I only follow my passions, I become increasingly frustrated with things that get in the way, and thus the balance that I so need to embrace, or more actively engage, is defeated. Of course, balance on its own is a meditative state that just does not reflect my passions, and thus the active engage I list with it.
Sure, we can promote laws to help reduce the impact of climate change, plant trees, or volunteer to clean parks. All worthy projects on their own and all of which help us to get out of our offices, homes, and routines to interact with nature in some way.
I have been fascinated with labyrinths since I saw my first one in person on the floor of Chartres Cathedral. Never would have imagined that this passion would have led me to want to build my own, which I did this morning using a smaller version of the Chartres pattern made of flour (ok for the environment AND it allowed me to see what it felt like before I build one next year out of stones.
Thankfully, I was able to walk it a few times before a round of thunder and lightning storms came through and made the pathways disappear. Perhaps there may be a lesson about nature in that.
I wonder how many other people have made something similar, or at least made use of the walking one that somehow seems to clear and focus the mind, body, and spirit?
Today marks the Winter Solstice (also called Yule or Alban Arthan, depending on the tradition), the longest night and shortest day of the year. On this festive day of midwinter, when the days turn to begin showing more light, may you and your find peace and joy. I found this YouTube video a short, meditative reflection on this day; take what is useful from it and leave the rest behind.
What a surprise we encountered today, the Vernal Equinox (also called the Spring Equinox or Alban Eilir), when we heard a noise in the wood stove’s chimney and eventually learned it was a stuck, though very much alive, bird. We did not want to leave it, nor try to force it to fly out by lighting a small fire (it would have flown out on its own, if it could have), so we finally closed and covered all the doors and windows in the living room except for two windows that we opened wide. We opened the unlit stove’s door, and out the bird flew into the living room and immediately out through the window to freedom and life.
The bird was a common grackle (though we were a bit divided in thinking it may have been a starling), and I have seen ones like him before outside on the bird feeder. Perhaps I will see this one again at the feeder, where I believe it will be much happier than inside.
I hope the change in the seasons brings life and prosperity to a world very much in need of renewal.
Friday night I attended a Winter Solstice celebration at the yoga studio at East West Living. I have limited familiarity with the Winter Solstice, having attended a number of the celebrations that Paul Winter and the Winter Consort presented over the years. While the one on Friday was entitled the Winter Solstice Sacred Circle, I was somewhat surprised by how it was celebrated. I understand the evergreens and candles and sand and water, but the use of crystals and a repeated mantra were not quite what comes to mind with earth-based spiritual celebrations. I attached the description of the event below (I could not link to it directly here, as the scripting the site uses does not allow for this):
Winter Solstice Sacred Circle
Friday, December 21, 2007, 8 – 9pm
Yoga Studio West
Tom Capshew, Ph.D., Adrienne Gammal & Jan Mathews
Shamanic Winter Solstice CeremonyThe Winter Solstice – Turning Within
This event will align you with the inward gaze of the season, connecting you to peace and inner wisdom even as you hustle and bustle through the holidays. Join a powerful meditation and shamanic/Reiki healing circle to join with the ancient energy of self-reflection and renewal.
In a few short days, we will come upon the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere – the day when the sun stops its southern migration in our sky. From December 21 forward, night retreats from day.
In this season, all of nature is beckoning us to turn within.
You will do this too in a rare opportnity to join a community of Spirit and three powerful healers who will hold space and lead you through ritual, chanting and a crystal-healing meditation to assist you on your inner journey of strength and knowledge.
Reiki Master and Shaman Tom Capshew will set a sacred altar and clear you energetically for the intention-setting process ahead. East West CEO and longtime meditator/meditation teacher Jan Matthews will take you into the highest consciousness sound vibrations of the Gyatri Mantra, and Crystal expert and healer Adrienne Gammal will give you the proper stones to aid with your ritual purifying and centering.
Winter is the in breath. Breathing in brings us life
sustaining oxygen – turning within brings us equally essential
sustenance, reconnecting us to our spiritual core, thereby connecting us
to that which is bigger than us
With this quiet time of raising your vibrations, even as you deepen your roots into the earth, you will find yourself more able to relate to others during the holidays and beyond with more integrity, empowerment and compassion.