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

 

 

 

shadow work: overcoming our fears

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Fear is not our enemy, but it isn’t our best friend either. Fear is like a needy and insecure younger sibling.

It took me a long time to change my perspective about fear. For the majority of my life I always sat on the sidelines and watched other people take risks and live as if they had not a care in the world. Then I went through my “experimental” phase in which I used substances to numb and cope with my fears to pretend they weren’t there. After coming out of my depression in early 2017, I went back to being scared of everything, only this time I was hyper aware of my fears so it often turned into episodes of anxiety that would last a few days, making me feel emotionally and mentally crippled.

Due to recent events, I’ve had no choice but to make radical changes in many areas of my life, especially in the emotional and mental well-being department.

This is by far not an easy or quick task. It is unquestionably part of the shadow work that many people in this world avoid or sweep under the rug. But I had had enough, and the screaming in my mind was only getting louder with my ill attempts to bury them alive.

One of the exercises that I recommend is to create a table on a Word document and list out your fears. Then add two columns, in which you mark off whether the fear is rational or irrational (seeing the fear typed out allows you to put it in perspective). The final column is called “reality” and here you’ll write out what the fear really means and the truth of it if any. Not only did this help me tremendously in realizing when I was creating stories in my head and running with them, but it also helped me to learn about myself as I figured out where the fears came from, and I was able to sometimes reveal that I was a lot more self-sufficient than I thought. Definitely a humbling boost to my confidence.

A self-care practice that I had been putting off for months was to get back into meditation. In a different post, I wrote about how I always used to pursue answers and validation outside of myself and how it led to me not trusting myself and not being able to tell the difference between my intuition, my fears or the mind games my brain liked to play. About a week ago my fears were coming at me in full force, giving me anxiety, causing me to feel emotionally unstable and on the verge of panic attacks. Beneath it all I could see in bold letters my body and soul shouting out “MEDITATE!!” Finally, I gave in to that demand and started to meditate again. I started with just a few minutes every day after my morning chanting, or in the car before work, or any other time in which I felt overwhelmed, anxious and fearful-as long as I was able to. Luckily, I used to meditate 3-4 times a day in the past, so slowing down and tuning in comes easy to me. Still, I was petrified. Most times that I meditated was because I had a specific question or fear in mind that was taunting me. I would be close to shaking as I quieted my thoughts and asked my inner being about it. I never knew what the answer was going to be, so it could have well been the exact thing I was fearing. Despite that, I knew that the only way out was through, and I needed to know these answers in order to move on and make suitable choices or changes for myself. In some cases, the trust in myself was so depleted, that I would have to meditate several times about the same fear- at last realizing what my intuition and heart’s desires were telling me along with the fear that was clouding it all and how I could overcome it. After just a couple of weeks of incorporating meditation into my day I am noticing my self-confidence, self-trust, faith, courage and inner strength improving. It makes me question why in the heck did I ever stop meditating in the first place?

Turning to your spiritual practice is another great way to help you overcome your fears. It allows you to put them into perspective as you grasp the bigger picture. It reminds us that we are so small in this world, and our “problems” are not always as bad as we imagine them to be. And if the Divine created us as perfect beings, then that means that we already have everything we need inside of us in order to be our best selves and live our best lives- and that includes the tools to persevere past our doubts. I personally made it a priority to chant during these difficult times, and even though I felt so helpless at the time, it definitely reminded me of who I am- a badass mama who is here to show up fully in this world as the greatest version of myself so that I can help others do the same.

The thing that we don’t realize about fear is that it isn’t there to bring us down or turn us into miserable, mopey victims who never go after their dreams. It is here to tell us something. It is a teacher to us, and it’s intended to show us our areas of improvement, a past trauma that we need to heal or if something in our gut doesn’t feel right. It’s important to embrace our fear, dig into it, feel it, accept it and learn to move past it. This is why we should have compassion towards ourselves when we are feeling fearful and make it a mandatory to be gentle and loving to it in order to conquer them.

Let’s make a vow together that no matter what our fears are, we will do the work necessary to master them so that we can continue on our paths to creating a legacy for ourselves.

Thank you so much for reading, please leave any questions or your own personal tips in the comments below.

 

Love always,

Mabes