The holidays can be an intense emotional time. This year many of us are already in an intense emotional time with the recent controversial and divided election in the United States, the conflict over the North Dakota Pipeline, environmental disasters, wars, and tumult around the globe. As we move into the holiday season this year I highly suggest that we take this opportunity to go inward and seek real love.
As the darkest day of the year approaches, we see decorative lights abounding on businesses & homes. I like to think of this as a reminder of our inner light. No matter what religious affiliations you might have, we share this human experience. We each are sharing the same air, water, earth, we each have the same moon, stars, and planets moving with us. We each are born, we live, we grow old if we are granted the time, and we die. Our life here is ephemeral. I believe that our souls are neither born nor die, but our body certainly does.
I don't believe that it serves us to take on the stress imposed by the American culture this time of the year--or ever. It seems clear to me that as the daylight diminishes, nature is telling us to sleep more, the slow down, to go inward, reflect and to pray. This year I can truly say that I have taken this on as my personal mission. The focus of my life is finding peace--within.
The theme I had when creating Resolve to Evolve is the idea of changing our reality from the inside out. As Gandhi said famously, we must "become the change you want to see in the world." If we want more peace this time of the year (and always) we must BECOME peace.
This is not to say that there isn't a place for non-violent protest, standing up for what we believe, and making a difference in the world around us. Instead, it means that it must start within. A huge part of the journey, in my opinion, is inward. This connects us to our source, grounds us, and allows us to show up as authentic leaders.
This year, instead of letting our minds run the show, getting overwhelmed, turning to sugar, alcohol, drugs, TV, food etc, let's turn to our higher selves, our spirit, soul, god--whatever you want to call it--the part of us that is divine. I have been blessed to learn a couple simple and effective self-healing tools that have been helping me stay grounded and peaceful in the midst of seeming chaos. I share them because they really work.
I have broken up the tips below into soul, body, and mind for organizational purposes, but of course each part affects the others, and no matter which tips you choose to add, they will benefit all parts of your life.
SOUL: How do you connect to your soul? This is easier than it seems. I was recently taught this analogy: There are three parts of you that work together to make decisions and create outcomes in your life-- (1) soul, (2) mind, and (3) emotions. Let's call the divine part of us the "soul" and the emotions/mind the "ego".
Imagine that the soul is a pilot in a plane and the ego is the co-pilot. The co-pilot has been driving and he starts freaking out because there is a storm and the air is getting turbulent. He doesn't know if it's safe to land and he is scared and overwhelmed. He simply has to remember that there is a pilot (the soul) next to him who has direct communication with the airport base. Headquarters will just tell them where to go, when it's safe to land, and how to avoid the storm, and take care of everything to ensure a safe and smooth landing.
So often we are the co-pilots living from our mind/emotions and getting overwhelmed and scared at the storms that arise in our lives. If we simply remember that there is a divine part of us (the soul) and ask it for help, the mind/emotions (ego) can stop trying to do all the work on their own and allow the pilot (soul) to guide us to where we need to go.
Lory Pollina, who I learned this analogy and technique from is a Buffalo-based medium and past-life regression healer. He taught me that to communicate with the soul we start by sending gratitude, just as if we were speaking to another person. Rather than jumping in with our requests, we say "hello", thank the soul for being part of our lives, check in with them, and THEN ask for what we need/want. When we do this it is similar to the concept of prayer. It helped me to understand how prayer works in a practical and methodical way, and that it is important in unburdening our minds and emotions -- who think they are the ones in complete control.
This technique can be done daily or several times a day, especially when you feel like the mind/emotions are getting overwhelmed.
Another great technique that I first learned from Pocanos-based intuitive Page Nolker is this visualization which I now use daily to clear my energy. Find a comfortable quiet spot and close your eyes. Imagine there is a vacuum cord running from the bottom of your spine down down down into the center of the earth. Each time let the vacuum cord be a different color or shape as to keep you fully present with the visualization. As you breathe in imagine that any feelings, emotions or stories that you no longer want are being gently sucked down into the center of the earth and vaporized there by the heat and core of love that exists there. With each breath focus on a specific emotion or feeling, see it as a shape or color in your body and then imagine it turning into liquid and dripping, swishing out the bottom of your spine and getting sucked away by the vacuum and transmuted in the core of the earth. Do this for as long as it feels good for as many feelings/emotions/stories as you want to let go of. When you feel complete unhook the cord from the core of the earth, sending gratitude and let it shrink up and put it in the earth for future use.
I was delightfully surprised at how simple and efficient this is. Energy work doesn't need to be complex or abstract. Anyone can do it. When we visualize and pray on a soul level it shifts the physical reality and experiences in our daily lives.
BODY: I suggest being extra mindful of what you put into your body this time of the year. You are loving yourself and your body by choosing clean food and water. Go easy on alcohol (if you choose to drink at all), and stay away from sugar. I'm loving eating lots of fruit, dates, and honey when I am craving something sweet. However, processed sugar and caffeine only going to add to a frazzled body and mind -- causing more chaos internally and externally when we are already stressed. While many people binge eat and drink this time of the year, however I strongly suggest going on a self-love "diet" and choosing to nourish your body with clean water fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of soups and salads. You might be surprised how much more you are able to truly celebrate the holiday when you feel your best.
Take time in nature. Get yourself outside -- even if it's cold, even if it's just for 10 minutes - take a walk, look at the sky, look at a plant, be mindful and present with the earth under your feet. Not only do you get some exercise and fresh air, but if you pause to look around you you might find that there is peace outside as well as within.
MIND: Slow down. Breathe mindfully to bring yourself into the present moment. I noticed this morning how different I felt when I was hurriedly doing the dishes and then paused to breathe and felt the warm soapy water on my hands-- suddenly I changed my whole attitude about the task I was doing and rather than rushing through it, I began enjoying the moment, the sunlight shining in, the clean space I was creating, and I took great pleasure in the experience of washing the dishes.
I hope that some of these tips help you to find balance this holiday season and beyond. I am so grateful to myself for finally making these changes in my life. While I am not perfect, I return to these practices as I do to my yoga mat, because I find that they make me a happier, healthier and more peaceful person. It's in the practice--not the perfection.
May this next month be a cherished time of slowing down, self-healing, time with friends and loved ones in nature, and crafting of a deeper relationship with your self and your soul. Here's to loving your self and becoming the change you want to see in the world around you.