Winter Retreat

blur-close-up-daylight-789382.jpg

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

 

 

 

Slowing down in a fast paced world

animal-cozy-cup-218763.jpg

I recently jumped the ship and left my preschool teaching job. Although I miss my coworkers and those little chicken wings (the kids) it was the right move for me to take me in the direction of my purpose. That being said, life did not come to a screeching halt from taking that leap of faith. I moved to a new home with my partner, I had one week to find a part-time/full-time job, I gained 3 contracts teaching yoga to school children and I was planning out a Goddess Ceremony for a client all while in school.

I hadn’t worked full-time in at least 2 years, so that was something to get used to all in itself. My body ached for being on my feet for 8 hours a day after being used to the lots of rest. I also started commuting together with my partner so we had to come up with a new schedule and routine all together for our completely different work hours.

At first, I was loving the fast pace of my life, I was busy all the time, I felt productive and proud of myself for everything I was accomplishing and I loved being a part of a new company whose mission was to protect and restore the environment. I felt inspired and creative immediately by all the changes around me. Of course, this did not last and I soon saw the enormous rock ahead also known as burn-out. Everything went downhill as I quickly became overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious. I felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off heading toward a cliff.

I noticed I had been avoiding and resisting the call of yoga for a long time. It was something that had helped ground and relax me in times of emotional turmoil, physical pain and anxiety attacks. So naturally, I went back to the mat. Yoga has so many amazing qualities to it that can help everyone and their various needs. There are so many styles of yoga, free online videos, and amazing classes filled with great community and acceptance that a person can choose from. I chose the amazing healing yin and restorative yoga to bring me back down to earth and out of my head.

Personally, I have found that doing something physical and close to the ground is one of the best ways for me to come back to my body, and live in the present moment through the breath. As a “pitta” dosha type, I am naturally hot blooded, busy, fast paced, and always trying to fill up all my time productively. Because of those tendencies, I can become out of balance leading to digestive issues, anger, and burn-out. My pitta was definitely over heating so the relaxing and cooling effects if restorative and yin yoga were exactly what my body needed.

After being brought back down to earth I made it a priority to find some type of schedule that worked for me. I was doing my morning routine only on the days that I was off (twice a week) so its preventative capabilities were not kicking in. On the days that I commuted together with my partner I had to make a promise to myself that I made sure that I went straight to my morning routine once I got home. The specific time was not an issue for me, but I had to prioritize the routine at the top of my list to ensure that it was getting done.

My routine is always done in a slow and mindful pace so it immediately helped me to simmer down and reminded me to breathe. I begin with oil pulling as I indulge in the ritual of making my coffee. The smell of the whole beans as I grind them up, the soothing sound of the hot water boiling and then the sight of the foaming coffee as I pour the water into the French press or Chemex fill me up with gratitude and joy. Once I’ve made the coffee I let it marinate in my special spice blend as I move into the yoga room.

In the yoga room, I light some incense and chant my morning Gongyo, meditate, and write in my 5 Minute Journal. I also have two books that I read from, “Simple Abundance” and “Find Your Happy: Daily Mantras.” Meditation is a great way to bring me out of my head and back into a joyful reality. Sometimes I am able to sit in stillness and other times I am not, but I also show up to find out. Writing and reading are two of my favorite activities to do, so not only does it fill me with joy, but the specific journal and books that I use are filled with love, reflection, and positivity that always put me in a great mood.

The last soothing activity is to for me to take a shower and wash away any negative energy from the day before. It helps me feel like I have a fresh start to my day. Once I am out I do abhyanga or oil massage on my body, another way to find appreciation for what I have.

These two activities have helped me tremendously when it comes to preventing burnout and overwhelm and I highly recommend them to everyone regardless if you are living a busy lifestyle or not. I also recommend morning pages, in which you keep a journal by your side and immediately write your dreams, take a brain dump and then end with a gratitude list the minute you wake up. It is supposed to help release your mind of holding onto everything going on in there at all times. It also allows you to live in appreciation for what you have. These two are said to combine for the ultimate effect of unleashing your true creative potential.

Nature is another amazing way to help you to slow down. I am lucky to live in an area surrounded by beauty- but have yet had a chance to explore it. Even just talking your pet on a walk in the morning and evening or sitting on your balcony and seeing the autumnal change in the trees or watching the Fall rain come down as you sip your coffee can transform your day. Not to mention, it is free.

The last tip to help you slow down is to embrace the change in the seasons. As we quickly transition into Autumn, it is the perfect time to redecorate and rearrange your home, and add in the relaxing effects of cozying up your home for you and your loved ones. This act of relaxing, warmth and community is called “hygge” and is all about slowing down. Add some warm colored twinkly lights to your balcony or bedroom, light some candles or incense, bring in wood for your first fire of the season and cozy up with your favorite blankets as you drink a hot beverage with your lover or best friend.

I don’t anticipate the world around us slowing down any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that we have to allow it all to swallow us up and wring us dry. You are responsible for your well being and for your life- make it a priority to care for yourself every day and I am sure that you will be able to thrive in your environment and show up as your greatest self.

Thank you for reading today and I will be back soon. Please leave questions or tips about slowing down in the comments box below.

 

Love always,

Mabes