Winter Retreat

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Winter time is the ideal season for us to go inward; the weather keeps us at home on our days off, it gets darker quicker, and friends may be away for the holidays. And although it may logically be obvious for us to retreat and reflect, diving into our shadows is not an easy or comfortable job.

In Greek mythology Persephone was the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring, wife of Hades, sentenced to spend every Winter beneath the Earth. This myth can signify as a metaphor for our own inner dwellings of darkness. It is the symbol of retreating within ourselves, completely alone, to face whatever has been holding us back or bringing us down that year. It is the time to face the bad and the ugly; confronting our fears, healing trauma and releasing stories that keep us from being our best selves, so that we may return like Persephone, filled with love, light and immense growth.

During this season take some time to yourself to answer the questions below, making sure to truly reflect and dig deep. I have added some of my answers to get yourself thinking.

1.       How are you giving your power away?

·         blaming others for my “lack.”

·         Letting small things that don’t matter ruin my mood; impatience, loss of control, uncontrollable circumstances or another person’s behavior

·         Jumping on the complaining and negativity bandwagon in social settings just to fit in and feel accepted.

·         Allowing the story and fear that my relationship will never work out just because my parents were unhappy; closing me off to living and embracing love, and appreciating all that my relationship and partner has to offer.

·         The story and fear that I will never be financially free or I can only do something if the finances are there in that moment which makes me neglect the reasons why I am here in the first place and my purpose to help others heal, regardless of money.

2. How often do you say yes when you mean no?

·         Mostly in work situations; taking on more than my body, mind and soul is healthily able to.

·         Trying to schedule too much in when I really want to be alone.

3. In what ways are you playing small?

·         My posture indicates my fear in life and closes me off to opportunities.

·         Brushing off compliments about myself or my creative gifts.

·         Comparing myself to others for not being where they are.

Now if you like, try to come up with at least one action step for each of your answers on how you can begin to change or let go of these ideas or behaviors. For example, an action step for my second answer in Question 3 could be that I humbly accept with gratitude and reflect that by sending love back and complimenting them in return. Not only will I be owning my uniqueness but I will also feel great as a result of spreading love to people around me.

Once you are finished with your action steps, create a beautiful poster with the mantra:

No thing and no one have the power to take me away from who I came here to be!” - Cynthia James.

Repeat this and notice how empowering it makes you feel.

Next, reflect on the past year. You can divide it into seasons or think of it as a whole. Do what makes sense to you.

4. What are you releasing in 2018?

·         Fear of love or being unloved when owning my power.

·         The story that money determines the quality of my life or the amount of healing I can help others with.

5. What are you grateful for in 2018?

·         The immense growth that came from separation.

·         Finding hope and faith in a higher power.

·         Taking leaps of faith.

6. What are your intentions for 2019?

·         Take more risks.

·         Open myself up fully to opportunities and life in general.

·         Put myself out there to make more in person connections and friendships.

·         Embrace and live in love as much as possible, especially in my relationships.

·         Create more, volunteer more, heal more.

 

Here in MD, Winter is damp, cloudy, cold and heavy. In Ayurveda it is the season of Kapha which can really unbalance this dosha. While we are in this season it is extremely important not to become completely lazy, let yourself go and turn into a big sloth. We need to make sure that we are still allowing the flow of energy in our bodies and in our life in general so as not to fall into a rut or seasonal depression.

Some of the tips to keep yourself at optimal health and happiness include:

·         Home cooking hot and healthy comfort foods like curries or sipping bone broth.

·         Doing something fun, creative or productive when you are destined to be indoors.

·         Making sure to move your body; dancing, yoga, running, hiking, snowboarding or any other activity that brings you joy.

·         Moving the lymphatic system; daily dry brushing and oil massage, going to the sauna.

·         Spending time near water; water is the element associated with winter. It brings us healing and balance when we take time to be near it and accept its sacred and healing capabilities. Visit a bath house, turn your hot shower or bath into a spa sanctuary ritual, visit the beach during the off season and bask in the stillness of the ocean. My love and I really enjoy driving a couple hours to our favorite beach in the off season or going up to the mountains to visit the Roman Bath House and take home some free mineral water.

Freedom is a choice. Our perspectives are a choice. Choose to embrace the beautiful gift of winter and allow it to be the transformational period that it is.

Thank you for reading this post, be sure to leave any of your favorite winter time activities in the comments below. Stay cozy!

 

Love always,

Mabes

 

 

 

What to do when a loved one is depressed

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**This post is not for dealing with someone in a bad mood or having one bad day, but rather a bout of depression or the over-extended stay of a burnout. This is my experience, I am not in any way a medical practitioner. **

 

After being in a relationship for 12 years and even having friendships just as long, I have had my share of experiences with seeing someone I care for go through a tough pro-longed period.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a therapist in any way but I do consider myself to be a professional co-dependent, meaning I have battled with codependency for 95% of my entire life, so I know exactly what not to do under these circumstances.

It is incredibly difficult to live with someone and have to witness them going through a horrible patch in their life. Many of us have the primal, very real and sub-conscious instinct to “save” people and take all their pain away. Unfortunately, we often don’t realize that the only person we can actually save and have any control over is ourselves.

I personally believe that (Insert Higher Being here)   sends us the specific situations in life that we need so that we can take a step back and learn what is necessary to grow, thus clearing out our karma so that similar situations don’t continue to haunt us. I believe that once we own up to our portion, and accept our circumstances, that we are then able to take full responsibility in the fact that only we have the power to change (for better or for worse).

What we forget is that this applies to everyone around us as well. Often, we like to try to force change and induce epiphanies in people by means of control, manipulation, ultimatums, guilt and shame or belittling. We lose patience with the people we love because they are not growing at the pace that we demand, completely forgetting that they are imperfect humans, just like ourselves.

When we try to rescue people, we’re unable to recognize that it is translating into how we don’t feel they are capable of making their own decisions, take control of their own life, and inefficient in persevering in the face of difficulty. We are also robbing them of their personal growth that is essential to becoming a better person in life.

No matter how much we may want to, we cannot force someone to be aware of what is going on inside them, we cannot read minds, we cannot heal another person’s trauma, make them forgive and let go of what burdens them or create that ‘ah-ha’ moment necessary to have an epiphany. Everyone gets to this stage at the pace that is meant for them.

By trying to take on other people’s burdens we are also doing ourselves an enormous disservice. Most people already have enough on their plate handling their own affairs. If we get into the driver’s seat of another person’s mental, emotional and spiritual well-being we can quickly begin to accumulate resentment and bitterness towards them- completely forgetting that it was never our business to begin with.

What we can do to help those around us is lead by example. By handling our own conundrums, seeking the professional help we need, and diving into the shadows of our inner beings to heal what lies beneath, can be incredibly inspiring and motivating to someone going through a similar situation. By facing our fears and micro-traumas we may be able to start the path to healing that others need to walk down.

We can be the listener in the relationship; someone who is completely present and holds space for another person to express themselves. There is no need to give advice, or try to finish their sentences or interrupt them with our own experiences and stories. Just be there for them and let them speak their truth without judgement.

We can also offer to accompany the person to the doctor’s or therapist’s office. We can go on an outdoor date with them so that they can reap the benefits of how nature can heal. If we stumble upon some useful information we can share it with them, but by no means are we going to take responsibility for them and do their work.

Lastly, I want to mention the importance that we really take care of ourselves during this time. Even if we are not trying to fix this person, it can still take a big toll on our own well-being. It is essential that we prioritize our self-care through diet, being in nature, journaling, maintaining faith in ourselves and through our spiritual practice and cleansing ourselves of any dark energies.

I know the feeling all too well of what its like to be depressed, in an un-shakeable rut and in the middle of grieving through pent up traumas. Let us use our experiences to shine our light in the midst of someone else’s darkness so that they too can conquer their shadows.

 

Love always,

Mabes