Welcome to day four of our winter solstice journey!
Pour yourself a mug of tea, light a candle, settle into a cushion, and let's get started...
Begin to pay attention to your breath. Imagine that every exhale is hollowing you out completely, starting at the base of the spine.
Hollow out your belly, your chest, your lungs. When all of the air is completely squeezed out, let the inhale come naturally and fill you back up again.
Allow yourself to fall into this rhythm, concentrating on the emptying-out of the body on the exhale, the filling-up on the inhale. Notice the moments of stillness in between the exhale and the inhale, when there is no air, just stillness.
When you feel ready, gently open your eyes. Notice any subtle shifts that have taken place in the quality of your attention or the sensations in your body.
Have you given any thought to yesterday's question?
This one gets me every time.
For example, I've been saying this year that I really want to be more present with my family and friends. But I tell myself I can't because I'm way too busy.
Which sounds more compelling?:
I cannot be present with my friends and family because I am so busy.
Because I am so busy, it is imperative that I be present with my family and friends.
But they aren't all that simple. What about this one:
I can't take myself on a vacation because I don't have enough money.
Because I don't have enough money, it is absolutely imperative that I take myself on vacation.
Well, yes, financial stress is incredibly exhausting, but how are you supposed to take yourself on vacation if you don't have any money?
What if you put your intelligence and creativity in service to your desires instead of in service to explaining why you can't have them?
Remember Mary Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life, and how she made a honeymoon out of travel posters and singing neighbors?
Do you have a friend going out of town who needs a housesitter? A family member who can stay with your family while you take a one night camping trip in the mountains?
One of the best vacations I ever had consisted of a friend's borrowed bathtub, a mug of cocoa, and three hours of guaranteed solitude. I still tear up when I think about how necessary and perfect that vacation was.
I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this.
Get out your journal and look at the five words you wrote, describing how you want to feel this winter.
Choose one of these words, and write. Write every possible way you can think of to experience more of this in your life. Write every single idea that comes up, no matter how silly or trivial. Write stream-of-consciousness for one full page, and then stop.
If all of your reasons-why-not crowd into your consciousness, choose to think of them as reasons-why instead!
That's all for today. Just let your word, and all the ways you might be able to experience it, percolate through your head. As other ideas sift into your consciousness, jot them down. You don't have to act on anything yet. Just let yourself dream.
I'll see you tomorrow!