Rejoice that You Are Still Standing

A lovely friend sent me this piece, and I shared it in class on Monday, only to learn that my friend had edited the first line! I had to laugh, and wonder once again, at the way the world works – never the way you expected!
Check out this offering from ullie-kaye (with an amendment from my friend):

piece of fire.

i have no new expectations for the year ahead.
just let me live the way that i know best.
let me feel the earth on my feet and rejoice that i am still standing.
let me listen to the waves of the sea and find peace in knowing that the tides always return to wash over me.
let me dream about sunsets that are not promised
and skies that are not always blue.
let me make love to conversations that bring me closer to knowing myself and closer to believing in something much bigger
than the four square walls of my own chest.
and let me rest.
oh lord, let me rest.
and should i be so blessed to have this place where i can grow, let me remember to give more than i receive.
to listen more than i speak.
and to understand that everyone is searching
for a little piece of fire.
may i take part in building that.

We are all longing for a little piece of fire, but our central source of fire, Senor Sol, is on winter holiday! The plants have withdrawn to the underworld, where Persephone has apparently retreated.

We, too, can benefit from inward practices during this phase of darkness. We’re not quite cooked and need more time in the oven.

Here are Five ways to encourage and savor inward time this winter:

Sleep more. Go to bed earlier – it’s already dark, so why not? I find that staying up later usually means more screen time, which can interfere with healthy sleep. To awaken fully rested can feel luxurious, revealing this as a unique experience! All of your systems work better when you get enough sleep. In the darker times of the year, even more sleep than usual might be needed. (It is for me!)

Take a bath! Soaking your body in warm water is soothing in itself, and you can enhance your experience by adding essential oils, epsom salts, candles and even music to your bain. When I had young children, the bath was my only escape, and it had to feel super boring to a little one, so use this as your guide: a toddler would hate this!

Practice restorative yoga. You can keep this very simple, by lying with your legs elevated on a chair, couch or extended up the wall. Make your practice space warm, soft, and inviting, so do not recline in a busy room, amid your household. If you want a full, yummy emersion into a guided restoration experience, come to my Thursday evening classes at 3 Oms. We have all the props, the cosy, designated practice space, and my 25+ years of teaching expertise.

Drink warm drinks. If you’re going for true relaxation, skip the caffeine. There are many herbal teas whose plant magic can soothe and calm your nervous system. Experiment with chamomile, lavender, valerian, skullcap, passion flower and ashwaganda (avoid those last 3 if you are pregnant).  I also like to drink warm milk with a little honey and nutmeg to get me relaxed and sleepy.

Get a massage. Receiving healing touch is beneficial to your whole self.  If your body is sore, your pain and tension will decrease, your circulation and immune function will improve. As blood pressure and heart rate go down, and you’ll be more relaxed and at ease. If you prefer self-massage, learn about abyanga massage. This a self-care practice from the ayurvedic tradition, using warmed oil to care for your whole body. Here’s a great introductory video

We need to stay warm and hydrated in these cold, dry months. Many plants and hibernating animals take the whole season off, focusing on nourishing their roots and refusing all activities.

Take time for yourself and wait for the urge to act, speak, or even think! Much great beauty is on its way. Let’s not take the muffin out of the oven before it’s fully baked!