Winter and self-containment

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The lesson, new and fresh and perfectly framed, that I have experienced lately was of a thing called self-containment. It is visual for me, as well as, sensory in the body. I tap more into it when I dance, for example. Self-containment is a space where nothing and no one can access you or affect you to describe it in simple terms, but, of course, it is more than that. It feels wonderful. It is one of those states that bring peace, pleasure, calm and divinity into it. I have known this before in a different way with other things, but this is a new one. Perhaps it is not new but simply another one that has a clear frame, structure, name and vibration. It is soul-centred, but in a very human way and I suspect when in this embodiment of self-containment others around you will get affected and not just that, but they will be able to join in with it in their own way and much easier that through anything else. There is, therefore, huge potential in it for yourself and others around you. I am in love with the feeling of it. It has an orangey/pinkie colour to me like a ball or an egg that has edges, but they are allowing, flexing, moving yet protective. I find that this coming out in winter is very on point and relevant, as what does it mean for us to have a space of our own, a ‘womb-like’ state of ecstasy where we are away from it all yet connected. If we picture winter as our psychic underground space, dark and contained, this comes up in line with that only keeping our connection to our ‘new, birth-like, spring-like’ state alive. It has light in it, sunshine and warmth, but the wisdom of the darkness. We are essentially untouchable once we discover us, as unique us, no one else is like that, nothing else is like that in existence. You are YOU and only YOU. It is original, utterly beautiful and powerful in terms of being a gift towards life. Being able to incorporate this state into our lives, although, I suspect, it does not come up always or willingly, but trust that it will when you need it, can change things. It can slow things down, offer reflection and focus. We could ask for it whenever we feel pushed and pulled and overwhelmed, when things are demanded of us without a thought for whether we are ready to offer. It is that ‘stop’, wrap yourself up in YOU, bring yourself back to the centre, stay there for a bit and decide if you want to come out or not when you decide or not. It is a protective something, a covering, a vessel, a container that we can invoke and settle into it while we figure things out.

Winter is a rich gift. I will not tire of saying it over and over. Things must be dark and quiet and still in order for what needs to be clear and in view to be seen properly, in its naked form, in its broken form, in its expansive form. Like a voice in an expansive space of mountain or a valley, it needs expression, but for that to happen we need ‘the death’ of bubbling life internal and external, we need to see, hear and feel without being overwhelmed.

Image: earthporn.org

Inner silence

Silence is a state where things do happen, but it is subtle. It appears in a natural order and flow of external and internal. It is not the absence of things, it is a different experience and a feeling of everything around.

Most of us know how pleasant silence can feel on outside. It is relaxing, soothing and spacious. We notice the silence around us especially when we seek it and our bodies welcome it. But external silence is useless if there’s an absence of silence within. To become silent from within is a real skill. It requires practice. When one masters internal silence and, by mastering I mean being able to come back to it over and over, not just experiencing it once, that’s where true pleasure and bliss is. Something I have been discovering over the years. When I am silent on the inside everything on outside slows down and softens. Triggers, hooks and reactions get muted somehow. They still happen but there is no noise or longevity to any of it. That state is truly and genuinely blissful. Body is relaxed in a real sense through the physical, not through mental visualisation of relaxation.

One of the first things I practiced when started exploring inner silence was to remain silent when on outside there was a situation that would ordinarily provoke a reaction or had a potential to trigger an emotion. I practiced not reacting and remaining silent and there it began to happen, the softening, the flow, the non-attachment. It felt freeing and like something new was entering my experience. It felt healing, delicate and utterly compassionate to myself and others. Inner silence is neutralising to any outside turmoil, external wars that we are presented with all the time in life. Furthermore, it appeared to neutralise my own historical wounds that would normally open and start to hurt. Instead it felt balm-like, a gentle stroke or a silky, most delicate feeling of pacifying everything. It didn’t feel false or forced, avoidant or resistant. Everything just was as it was only with the inner silence I remained intact and so did the world around me.

I have been on a life-long journey towards inner peace. Since I was a small child I knew that’s what was missing not just in me but in everyone around me. It’s no surprise for anyone with this physical reality and all we go through and finding peace amidst it all felt important. Remaining silent, taking a sacred pause was something that worked compared to all other methods that I now know came from a mental-state involvement. We simply can’t think ourselves peaceful. It has to be on a feeling level, on a physical body level, on a level that allows a different space to open up. We all have that space within but finding it takes a long time and it is so worth it when one does.

I am looking to further my experience and practice of inner silence and wonder what else can lead there. It needs and wants to be practiced on a collective level almost due to how it feels and effect it has on everything. I invite you to try finding your way of finding inner silence and truly feel it.

Go ‘outside’ to come back ‘within’

By going outside one goes deeper within whether it is outside in nature or outside of your comfort zone or out out into a company of people that you might never do.

Sometimes we have to challenge ourselves to ‘step out’ to come back to the core of things that matter. I took a trip recently that reaffirmed me further into myself, what I am, what I want and don’t want and most importantly what my soul needs. Solitude and quiet have become essential parts to my everyday everything. I almost feel I will not be able to survive and certainly won’t thrive in conditions other than what my soul needs. My body talks loudly to me now as over the years through a lot of work we have finally made friends and my body and soul are good pals too these days. Mind is a useful companion but it also knows when not to interfere with a voice that is always louder being it my body or my soul.

I feel I am becoming more and more inward-looking and my preferences are always away from noise, crowds and rush that happens everywhere. I feel my whole body constricts to a point I can no longer tolerate and before I could but at a high price. Switching off amidst chaos is a tough gig as everything in me absorbs things instantly and getting rid of it takes time, so I aim for minimum exposure.

Being on this trip I felt like I froze and now understand it as a defence that drowns the noise and protects my shell from being penetrated. It is protective. There’s a lot of energy and vitality on the inside yet i found this time it didn’t get affected and I became more of an observer than a participatory partner in it all. I don’t mind observer, it is my other state that somewhat helps me keep calm within, but curious on the outside. Observer state can teach us so much about ourselves, others and how we all fit. I noticed things I never had before and that’s been wonderful.

It has been a year of settling back into yourself but on a much deeper level or one might say yet another spiral downwards got revealed and reaffirmed. There are many cycles or spirals on our journeys towards what we seek. It has not been without challenges but one thing for sure is that it is much harder to know what’s really desired without it being challenged. I find the work interesting as once you know what you don’t like you immediately know what you do like very often.

I enjoyed spring this year immensely and through the years of building a relationship with the seasons I can now say it is my favourite season starting from very early spring to the end of May and beginning of heat. Now as we are building up towards Summer Solstice my retrieval into myself (more than usual) feels like an intentional preparation for my seclusion for summer, which is my least favourite season. It makes sense. I go into hiding, so to speak when the sun rises high and peaks at Litha. I learnt not to rage against it, which I had done for years but to soften instead and focus within giving myself exactly what is needed. I concentrate on early mornings and watering my plants. Enjoying bike rides in the cool evening air when the sun goes to rest. I learn to use water element when fire rises just like in nature. Nurture and compassion instead of rage and harshness, coolness instead of heat. Rather than ‘instead’, perhaps we go for ‘in addition to’ or ‘in compliment to’, as we always aim to balance elements out rather than dominate one over another. I have created a set routine for myself, it seems that neither judges or forces, but flows instead and here I am staying for now watching the year unfold further.

Winter, anxiety, death…

It has all been rather grey and moody this month as if life stopped at this place of no particular interest, a downward mood yet not particularly depressive. Confusion, uncertainty and anxiety have been at the centre of the feeling of it all although with a clear awareness of everything actually being all right. There has been motion yet it felt dragging. There has been laughter and warmth with odd moments of grief flying in from nowhere. Most peculiar presentation of the season I’d say, however thinking about it there is nothing really surprising about it. Winter and grief go hand and hand and death and anxiety are good old friends.

I have experienced it all it seems in just one month and something in me can’t help but wonder what the next month could possibly bring.

My body has thrown up another mysterious ailment. Usually these happen in spring for me, but this time it came in winter and I believe it is linked to both grief and anxiety. Those two human issues have been present in my life always and I have come to take it for granted and somewhat my body, the wise old vessel that it is, decided to remind me or rather slap me in the face with asking me to revisit what both of those mean to me. Is it actually good for me to be exposed to it all the time or is it time to admit it is not always the best? I realised that I abandon myself over and over again when faced with grief and anxiety and not only that both signatures go right through my body and always manifest in curious things. I am completely disarmed by them, it seems.

This time I was faced with not being able to breathe. That tapped into my death anxiety and having to face that and look underneath of what that presentation meant, not to mention lung being directly linked to grief and death. How vulnerable I am to it all and how clever my body is to jolt me into considering the consequences.

I don’t want to die gasping to air and I don’t want to live my life waiting for the moment when I can’t take another breath and die. I can’t placate my anxiety or avoid it with doing the exact thing that takes my breath away in a sense of killing me. There is so much connection and meaning to it all. All quite sad, dark and paralysing.

What I am trying to say here and learn from is that our body is so wise and knowing if only we listened to it and for sure there will be consequences if we don’t. That much is clear. I know my body for being friendly and always on my side despite a life-long abuse thrown at it. How much it had to put up with yet never left me and when the ultimate function of air in my lungs became compromised suddenly death stepped in with a possibility of taking me. Truly awakening.

What a month it has been so far. Scary, up and down and everything in between yet nothing at all. In the stillness of winter, indeed, we are often faced with the darkest faces of existence. It is stark in my mind the true meaning of the season this year. There’s a certain old and murky wisdom taste to it this year. Perhaps this will only amplify with myself getting old, who knows, but one just never knows what awaits us.

The Element of winter

water element magic

My way is the Elemental way. I see the world through the five elements and work with them the most in my nature communication, magical weaving and spells and when relating to others. I have a power and a shadow element and the world makes sense to me in a way it is made of the elements all around me.

The season of winter has always been a Fire element season for me, full of creativity, drive, focus, enthusiasm and passion. It has always been a time when my inspiration would be present and my mind clear and full of ideas. I would complete a lot of projects during winter usually. Many writers report the same thing. This year it is different. This time it feels softer, smoother, slower accompanied by quiet, silence and a peaceful retreat into inner spaces.. In dreams I am met with a lot of shadow material and crying physical tears. The season feels closer to the element of Water. As water here doesn’t freeze in winter it is very much present, but in a state of quiet still standing. Perhaps, it depends on where we are at any given point and what our intentions are and currently my preferred state is of slow motion in silence and solitude with no need for many words or interactions. It is a very relaxed state of being with nothing to do and nowhere to go, quite the opposite energy of my usual winters. Water element is in this year’s signature I also feel regardless of what the season is now and yet to come, as we are in the feminine rising energy, but not for the first time. The archetypal flow is quite advanced this time and more powerful than ever. It is very consious and knowing ready to share its wisdom with us all. What would be interesting to explore this year is that contact with water whether we like it or not. Like for many water is my shadow element and a lot of us have grown up with supression of our emotional states (water energy). If we decide to engage with the element purposefully tt will sure take us on a transformational and insightful journey, no doubt about it. There is that opportunity this year in abundance. I am going to embrace it and put some water magic into my practice more. For the moment, stillness and calm are the energies of the month for me and it feels just how it should be.

What’s your element for the season of winter?

When they’ve seen your darkness…

When he’s seen your darkness and he still held you tight in his arms

When screams and tears tore at his soul yet he stood tall with his shoulder over your trembling body and his voice contained

When words of pain penetrated his being, but he received it with gentle calmness

One knew they were ok, they were allowed and they were held…

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Addiction is a way of holding on

autumn and addiction

We are in autumn, a season perfectly aligned with the energies of taking stock, harvesting our gifts, desires, throwing away what is no longer needed and releasing through letting things go. It is reflected through trees unrobing their delicate bodies off foliage and exposing to the elements for better or for worse. It is a state of surrender and an act of acceptance in nature that always touches me deeply. What a perfect example of vulnerability and strength – a combination I admire so much.

Addiction, as a condition, is a way of holding on, keeping ourselves safe and hidden, partaking in activities that fill the void we feel inside, but scared to expose. It is a safe place and a defensive position against overwhelming feelings, life, connection to ourselves and others. It is an escape into seemingly blissful abyss, yet temporary. The pay-off is often high for that hiding that we adapt as a way to survive, a way to cope with what otherwise would feel unbearable. The price we pay for this way of trying to keep ourselves safe is always high and we pay with our bodies, minds and lives. Recovery requires tremendous courage. It asks us to wake up not just to becoming aware of our patterns of behaviour, but to our wounds that we are protecting with an addiction of our choice.

When is that time to wake up?

This year’s signature, as a goal for our growth, includes facing and dealing with our addictions. The year began with a clear sense that old ways no longer work. Our comfort zone is no longer comfortable, things don’t fit as they used to and patterns that we adopted started to show cracks in how we executed them. On one hand, one could panic and despair and begin searching for new replacements. On the other hand, it felt like an opportunity, a ‘no choice, but’ to start thinking of a potential change. What would that look like and feel like? The year progressed with addictions’ patterns and behaviour manifesting not just within us, but around us through people we care about, our loved ones. It began to open old wounds. Those behaviours that we had been in denial of in ourselves and others came in and slapped many into a full view of not just how ugly and unconscious it had become, but a fear of a potential outcome also hit hard.

Now, as autumn is at our door, I feel there is a chance to look at it again and become curious and open to the opportunity of release. I find vibrations of early autumn is similar to those in early spring, as with the new planting there is hope for potential, with dropping the old there is also a potential for something new coming. Purification (another signature for this year) is deeper in autumn though, because as we throw off our protective layers, surrender to the elements in our own way we are challenged to go through the ‘cold’ of winter and the bare state of the earth. We are challenged to withstand hardships to come out stronger on the other side.

Addiction recovery is no easy matter and very often a life-long process. What we are faced with this season is an opportunity to begin and this year’s signature for dropping the old, as something that no longer works. To give an example of that manifestation I would like to use the body. With addiction often it is the body that would have taken on years of abuse. The sign that addiction is, perhaps, has gone into dangerous territory and it is time to wake up would be body not coping with it, e.g. with smoking lungs become affected in a way of developing severe difficulties with breathing and your cough becoming chronic with discharge. The body begins to bark at us literary to stop. With food addiction a point to wake up would be when there is a degree of awareness that one can no longer ‘eat themselves better’, as the body has grown so much in size it is no longer functioning. We become hidden under flesh so much we no longer feel in touch with ourselves. We might as well be dead.

I feel deeply saddened writing about this, but I feel it is necessary to make that call to be brave, to be present and conscious and I understand that it is no easy task to ‘stand in the cold of winter with no clothes on’, just as we no longer rely on drugs or food for comfort. Exposing, painful and a lonely place to be, yet one must not forget that there is a fire that burns within each of us. That fire is called spirit. We are stronger than we think most of the time and trying to save yourself is an honourable task. Loving ourselves the way that we are, broken, is an act of heroism and immense growth. Imagine if you can do this, you can do anything. Imagine the potential life you can have if only we decide to stop hiding, escaping and facing that wintery wind with your bare skin, vulnerable yet so heroic.

What lies on the other side is freedom and it is always worth fighting for.

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