Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finding Stillness - A Winter Solstice Ritual

candle flame
Find stillness and let your inner light guide the way.

For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, today marks the winter solstice - the beginning of winter and the longest day of the year.  It comes at a time when many of us feel completely stressed and overwhelmed with the holidays approaching, as there can be a tendency to overcompensate, overspend and overindulge.

Today, let's give ourselves permission to stop running and to be quiet long enough to hear our inner calling - that voice that is saying enough!  Slow down!  Rest!

Where are we going?  Why are we moving so fast?  What will we do when we get there?

Do you give yourself moments of stillness throughout the day - a time when you can check in, find your center, and get to a grounded place where you feel calm and at peace?  Today, the winter solstice, is a gift - a special day where you can honor your deep need for stillness.  Give yourself 5 minutes to perform this very short ritual and see how it makes you feel.

journaling with tea

A New Year Reflection - Winter Solstice Journaling
What you need:
a pen
a warm drink
a quiet space
5 minutes (or more)

Light a candle.  Sit in a quiet space and get comfortable.  Close your eyes.  Take a nice deep inhale, and a slow exhale.  On your inhale, feel every cell of your body expand.  On your exhale, smile as you release any tension.  Do this several times.  Sit in silence.  Soften.  When you feel moved to, open your eyes.  

Grab your pen and journal and begin to write.  Some of you will need no prompts; simply write whatever comes to mind. Let your heart guide you.  Try not to edit yourself.  Don't worry about spelling or punctuation or even writing in a straight line.  Just let the words come out.  No judgments; just kindness. 

If you feel like you're having trouble, ask yourself the following questions:

How do I feel in this moment?
What were my biggest celebrations or highlights of the past year?
What have I learned?
What is bringing me down?
What behaviors do I need to change or let go of?
What am I ready to release?
What do I want to bring into my life?
What am I grateful for?
What are some of my intentions for the New Year?

The light of your candle symbolizes your inner light - feel its warmth, see its beauty and know that it will lead you in the right direction.  This is a new moment - a fresh, clean slate.  Savor this gift of stillness and see if you can carry a sense of calm and peace with you throughout the rest of your holiday season.  You are right where you need to be in this moment and you are enough.

Your Personal Reflection:  Give yourself the gift of 5 minutes of stillness today, and every day, and notice how it makes you feel. 

Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness.  This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form. -Eckhart Tolle


  1. Loving this and needing this. Now to remember this. My day today is already set up to be quite hectic and full. Last day of school for kids, Christmas programs to attend, cookies to decorate, laundry to finish, errands to run. Yup. Need some centering. Going to try to remember to do this.
    I love Tolle! Thanks for the reminder to slow down.

  2. LOVE this... and I need this right about now. Thank you for always encouraging me in the right direction! :)


  3. Wow, I'm SO going to start giving myself this! Thanks and Happy Holidays to you. ;)

  4. I enthusiastically support this as a practice. It is something I like to do but at this time of year it can slip in favour of faffing like a lunatic. Lol. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement. As always you're an inspiration.
    Kat Xx

  5. Wishing you and your beautiful family the very best of the holidays and blessings for the new year.


  6. Thanks for this Shannon, just what I needed to read today. I am going to take 5 mins of reflection. I have a quiet house and just me here, it is so lovely!

    Wishing you the merriest christmas ever and I hope we get to meet/work together in 2011 :)


  7. Ah this is wonderful and so needed! I am going slower this season, but still find myself running. I can relate to what you say about overcompensating-that is so incredibly true. You are spot on. Thanks for this guidance. I will definitely do this, even a day later.;) You are a blessing!

  8. May I just tell you that so much of what I learned from you is now infused into my daily life? I keep going over the simple steps you gave us and I simply create another page. Thank you. May you find an abundance of peace and joy this holiday season.

  9. Warm blessings to each of you...


Thanks for sharing!