Happy Holidays


 

Contents

A Holiday Note

Mindfulness Exercise for the Solstice & New Year

 

The Cold draws us Within


Here, on our little spot of Earth, Winter can bring in many symbols. It can be a time of celebration, introspection, slowness, and a reminder of how much we cherish warmth and light after it fades to cold and dark.


After the last petals of my garden Dahlias lose color, and their leaves curl in, blackening, a last attempt to conserve energy for one final stunted bloom; I reflect on the wonder of cycles. How struggle can lead to strength or loss. On the things we cling to in belief that we may get out one last small drop of beauty or love, so that it give some meaning to the pain.


One last tiny flower may not prevent the root from it’s trial of frost. But for the Dahlia, allowed one last moment in the present before a gamble. Yet, for us, with our ability to build comfort, how often do we take that gamble? How often do we notice the smallest bloom, or even if what we have kept rooted inside ourselves is even still alive? Has it gone past it’s ability to grow? Does it nourish what’s left? Or spread mold, smothering health before it even has a chance to be birthed?


I have always enjoyed the symbolism of the Winter Solstice, a time to release what no longer serves us, put to rest the old, thank the dark for it’s lessons if not it’s trials, and celebrate the return of light, welcoming the new, embracing the unknown without the heaviness of things left unresolved.


Whatever you celebrate this season, I would like to encourage a look within. What are we still carrying no longer serves us? Can we choose to pull it out by it’s root, and release it so that we can nourish ourselves in a better way? What needs to be exposed to the light? Can we take the gamble that whatever we choose to nourish will grow? I hope the reflection adds to what you choose to honor this season.


Enjoy your celebrations and holidays!


-Dr. Soto

 

Letting the old roots go

The act of a physical practice can be very powerful in setting even our most abstract intentions. It is why traditions, routines, rituals, even superstitions develop. It is very normal to want to pair a belief or intent to an action. I'd like to share with you an exercise that you can apply, should you choose, to your celebration. It's something I choose to do for the Solstice.


Releasing what no longer serves you &

welcoming the return of light:

  1. Begin with two containers (bowls, jars, boxes, cups, etc) and strips of paper (cut large enough to fit a phrase or a sentence).

  2. Container 1: Use strips of paper to write down the things that no longer serve you or that you wish to heal, or resolve, or to let go of. Put one thing per strip and fold them up, then put them into the container.

  3. Container 2: Use strips of paper to write down the things that you cherish the most, or that you would like to have for the coming year, or that bring you joy and safety. These all go into the 2nd container.

  4. On a day that feels most right for you (you can choose the Solstice or New Year or any winter day of celebration), form a fire safely that will be used to burn the strips of paper. This can be a fireplace, bonfire with friends, or an incense bowl.

  5. Start with the 1st container, making the intention to yourself or out loud to let the items written down go. Then burn each paper or all at once. If you'd like to do this socially, you can choose to tell each other out loud what you are letting go of, and why, then take turns tossing the paper into the fire.

  6. You can choose to do a few things with the 2nd container. You can keep the container somewhere visible for the rest of the year as a reminder. Or you can put it somewhere "hidden" like under the bed. Or you can also burn the items with the intent that you are releasing them into the universe so that they come back you in a different form throughout the year.

  7. Socially, you can talk about what you are inviting in or choosing to give more attention to that you already have and needs nourishing. Or you can choose to journal on the experience afterwards.

Examples of things to write down:

  • Emotions: What has kept you from letting go of difficult emotions? What are the emotions you'd like to feel more of or be more comfortable with? Are there any that need to be acknowledged?

  • Thoughts: (Sometimes our minds can hold a lot of clutter that needs to be cleared out) What repetitive thoughts keep me from moving forward or living the way I'd like? Are there thoughts I would like to invite in?

  • Behavior Patterns/ Habits: Which would I like to let go of and which would I like to build?

  • Material Items that you cherish, or that you may need to clear out.

  • Gratitudes: What are you thankful for that you do have in your life? Is there anything you'd like to improve on?

  • Relationships: with yourself, others, family, friends, partners. Do some need to close? Are there any resentments built up? Who are the most supportive and safe people in your life? What do you enjoy about your relationships that you would like to grow more with? What dynamics may need to be let go of?

Enjoy!
 

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