Winter and self-containment

the-most-expansive-landscape-i-ve-ever-been-in-early-winter-at-maelifell-iceland--768x432

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

Three wishes for Yule

Winter Solstice

Mind is our biggest ‘prison’. There is nothing more our mind wants is to be stuck on the same track over and over, go in one direction. It doesn’t like change, it doesn’t like upgrading, it is in that sense primitive and when questioned will rebel in strong ways. However, we all want to be free, flowing, silent and not-attaching to anything that brings us worries and restlessness. Freeing yourself from thinking patterns is a way towards reclaiming some of our freedom. Thinking also causes our feelings and if you don’t like feeling a certain way and get trapped in a cycle, attend to your thinking. Challenge it, avoid engagement, refuse to listen, give yourself more than just following what the mind says. Remember, the mind doesn’t know any better, only what had been programmed and practiced, it is its familiar territory and until the course is changed, it will continue on the same track. Thoughts and feelings are entwined. If you believe or choose to think something, as it comes, you will feel a certain way every single time as a result of that thought. As you become aware of some of the ways you think, you can then choose how to proceed. Particularly with things that are ‘historical’, i.e. past-created patterns of thinking, you must be careful not to keep repeating the same way of thinking, as it will only bring the same way of feeling.

Ever since I was I was a child I remember wanting nothing more than a peace of mind.  I knew on a physical level that it is my thinking that had been causing a lot of things, yes I had to wait to become an adult to figure it out. As an adult through years of practice and healing I have understood what it does and why and have explored ways of reconciling with it, making it work for me. It has not been easy. The reason why I love Buddhism is because it shows us not just what the mind does, but how to become skilful in working with its patterns through observation and letting it be, choosing not to engage at all times. Read my post of my findings related to this Lessons from today’s meditation

The reason why I love earth-based spirituality is because it involves working and being with ‘the whole’. It includes our physical bodies, emotions and spirit and mind becomes a supportive vessel for all the other parts and vice versa. There is less struggle. Mind is not alone and other senses have great value.

This Yule I am wishing for three things:

  • A peace of mind
  • A clarity of mind
  • A quietude of mind

It is possible to ‘master’ your own thinking and there is a distinct sense of satisfaction and control when it is successful. Even if it might often be temporary the fact that it was once possible provides hope for all future attempts. Practice makes perfect. When a change in thinking is introduced, the edge is taken off patterns and beliefs. They no longer rule over everything. One way of thinking that helps is understanding that some things can’t be controlled and any worry or overthinking is futile and, for me, anything that becomes heavy to carry or be with is pointless, as it only adds to the overall hardship of existence and a state of things life often presents. We must quieten does, lighten the load and connect more often through other senses cultivating a sense of peace. Effort is always met with reward in my experience. Continuous striving is what life is and we must never give up on ourselves. We can always choose what we think and what we focus on remembering not to make it ‘heavy’, but make it easier wherever possible.

I am off to find a Yule log this week and will bear my three wishes in mind when being with the log, decorating it and then burning it for next year.

I hope you too will become aware of things you want to come more into your life during this celebratory time of welcoming back the light and go on to manifest your goals with authenticity, passion and integrity.

Blesses Yule, everyone!

New spiritual

Yule log

In the last two months I have found my new ‘spiritual’, ‘other than’ space through writing. I have loved every second of my passion and particularly how it feels when engaged in it. It feels otherworldly and like nothing else. For that I am immensely grateful and feel joyful knowing I can step into that ‘dimension’, yes, it feels like another sphere all together, when I want to. It is not, of course, as simple as just sitting down and write, but I love that complexity, a challenge, which stretches me intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

As Yule is approaching I can feel my energy shifting into 2020 goal setting, or a visual and sensory plan I like to envisage. I usually go about this by tuning into my energy and how I feel, which is around, rather than purely looking at physical needs and demands of the outside world, so to speak. What I am discovering is that I feel I would like to step more into my Fire energy. Again, this is not unusual for me with the season of winter, but I think I have forgotten how much I missed it having spent a lot of 2019 in a place that explored more soft, sensitive, quiet ‘me’. You see with writing both are required and I love that. In terms of going forward I would like to step into the Fire of my own inner qualities and run joyfully with that. In the last few days I have had a pep talk with myself, got angry with myself (in a good way) and said ‘enough is enough’ in relation to many things in my life. It felt like an existential shift where I have come to more acceptance of belonging to this earthly world, whether I want to or not, and that I don’t always have choices and neither I should have. There is less discussion, introspection and analysis needed for me at this time and more being present in the physical that I need to manifest. Winter is the perfect time for me to do that, as every year my energy escalates, my mind clears and I become very productive and active. I love it.

In terms of my spiritual practice I would like to implement the elements I am referring to above, e.g. creating more of a routine, consistency and commitment to things I need to be doing. Arriving at what that might be will, of course, be done intuitively, as it is my most natural way of discerning things. The rest will be done in a clean, precise, organised manner. At least I would like to try. Many things have sort of disappeared into the background in terms of practice and I would like raise my awareness more and bring things back into practice, but with a new vigour, in a new way.

My plans are a lot about writing in 2020. That includes literary fiction and poetry and non-fiction on subjects related to earth-based spirituality. I feel excited to have a few projects in the pipe-line. My poetry book ‘Soul Land’ is coming out next year and I am extremely touched and passionate about that collection and in awe of how it came about all together. It was meant to be, the only way I can describe it.

My first step on the way to reawakening traditions will be searching for my Yule log and decorating it for the 21st December celebrations. I love Yule and I love darkness, which always feels super nourishing and comforting to my soul and my body adores cold temperatures. I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating Nature and all her beautiful gifts.

Blessed Yule!

Winter time

A virgin bride or a silver-haired crone

Who rules the stillness of the white majesty

Perhaps both

The elegance of lace and ice that envelopes nature brings such quietness, such pause to a restless soul

Majestic awe of land covered in white purity

Like a fresh breath of spirit rooted in landscape

Orange and pink sunrises and sunsets bring immense uplifting to all senses

Only in winter nature one feels reborn from the depth of darkness emerging brand new and wise in knowing true appreciation of life and death

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.