Welcome to the inward-turning journey toward winter solstice!
Most days, I'll record these experiences (just press play below) so you can sink into the breathwork uninterrupted, but there is also a transcription for those of you who prefer the written word.
Before we jump into today's exercise, find a space that is just yours, where you can feel safe moving and writing and lighting a candle if you want to. If that's not possible right now, set aside a time later in the day that can be yours alone. I'll only take 5 minutes of your time, but it's important that those 5 minutes have your full, spacious, embodied attention.
You deserve five minutes of your own day, don't you?
Now, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stand up. Shake out your arms and legs. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down a few times, until your body feels loose and awake.
When your body feels tingling and alive, take a deep, three-part breath: sip in air to fill your belly. Sip in air to fill your chest. Sip in air to fill the tops of your lungs. When you are full to bursting with this 3-part inhale, exhale it all out in a long sigh.
Do this 5 more times, at your own pace.
Notice any subtle shifts in your attention, in the way your body feels, from this very brief focus on the body and breath.
Take a few moments to set a sacred space for yourself. Light a candle, burn some sweetgrass or palo santo, or settle into a fuzzy blanket. Get your journal or a paper and pen.
(Many of the exercises will build on each other, so you might want to devote a new journal or composition book to this 21-day adventure!)
Once you've settled in, close your eyes for a moment. Think about this time last year. Think about how you spent the winter, and how these cold days make you feel. Notice any images, emotions, or sensations, positive or negative, that flow through you as you think about winters past.
When you've taken some time to drift through several memories of winter, write a five-word portrait that describes your current relationship with the dark days of winter. You might want to choose one word that sums up each memory that emerged, or one word for each of your five senses. Here are some examples:
dark. heavy. dry. peppermint. woodsmoke.
quiet. full. nostalgic. isolated. drowsy.
tired. bleak. immobile. stuck. contemplative.
cluttered. sad. disjointed. cold. impatient
sparkling, warm, curious, fragrant, grieving
Sit for a moment and look at your five words. Continue to breathe deeply, and simply notice what you feel when you look at them.
Ask yourself: are there words in this portrait that I want to keep?
Are there words in this portrait that I want to change?
That's it for today---just keep those five words in your journal and let yourself percolate on your current relationship with winter.
As Rilke said, sometimes loving the questions themselves is more important than finding the answers!
We'll build on this tomorrow...until then, I'm wishing you a warm mug of fragrant tea and a perfect winter playlist.
Feel free to share any questions or comments below, and if you're feeling brave, share your five-word portrait!