“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
"Sing along if you like..... ........... ..... ... ... A lot of this work is about learning to hold your own ground. About hearing the noise all around you and still being able to maintain your own song & use your own voice."
We were seated before the joyous throng of kindergarteners. Happily expelling their holiday songs for all those assembled. ...Christmas is Coming!! The Goose is Getting Fat!! Please put a penny in the Old Man's Hat!!!... And as we watched, awash in the certain glow that accompanies such things, I heard a few tentative adult voices start to join in the round. And then fall out. Maybe because it was all too cute and perfect to stymie with the din of adult voices. Maybe because, as a culture, we've forgotten how to sing. Maybe because, as their own Zen-slingin' music teacher had just shared with us... We - the grown ones - had yet to learn what these small, vociferous ones had already ascertained::: The thing of how to hold your own inside the din. The thing of how to sing it out when there is so much noise all around. The thing of how to find the magic thing it is you wish to offer up into the world... And to see it live.
To wave your one, small light into the dark & trust that it will play it's part. .......
When last I wrote, we talked about the notion of Slowing Down. Of getting quiet. Greeting the dark. And going in. As necessary. As a solid pre-requesite for any movement, growth or transformation in the year to come. The Great Silence that comes before the Song. How did you do inside of this? What were you able to try? What did Slowing Down, or Holding Space look like inside your world? For me, it looked like...
*NOT the several days off in a row that I would have enjoyed, but rather, taking tiny little pockets (10-15 minutes or so) and letting myself BE. Super-Bitti-Micro Retreats that looked like... ~Ditching the phone. ~Closing my eyes and finding 10 deep breaths. ~Reading 4 pages of a book. ~Sipping the tea. ~Taking the walk in the woods behind my house (even though I had several gazillion other things that needed to be done.) ~The bath. Oh my, the BATH. <3 ~The Sleeping In. ~The giving myself PERMISSION to give a solid B+ to the day's tasks and not the A++ I would normally demand. ~My kid eating hot lunch 5 days in a row because I'd rather spend the extra 20 minutes in the morning with her, rather than prepping the perfect crustless turkey-and-white-cheese-on-rye. It looked like singing in my car and 5-minute dance parties by the Christmas tree.
What did it look like for you? (I'd love to hear, you know. )
I wannna invite you to begin the work of steadily "crafting your own Song". The work of the Darkness is to temporarily step outside the clamor, distraction, noise & kerfuffle of the ever-waking world... and tap our own GREAT LIGHT. As Martha Graham said, To.... “....Keep in your mind some Image of Magnificence.” To turn inward - to craft a Vision of the year and Life we wish to inhabit.
In a stimuli & screen-laden world, it becomes critically important to nurture and strengthen this vital piece of interior real estate. WE are inundated with images of others’ lives, others’ agendas, ideas, plans, opinions, and highlight reels. In a noisy world, the process of getting quiet, and turning in, offers us a place of refuge and repose. To quiet the outer voices and let the Inner One speak.
Here's some ideas for Attuning to that Inner Vision:::
*Start a regular Vision-Board Practice - Once a month, on the new moon Or once a quarter, on the changing of the Seasons - Set a side an hour or so. Grab a stack of magazines or purloined images which feed your soul, a trusty glue stick and some hardy card stock. Put on your favorite music. Light a candle and take a deep breath. Allow the images and words to spill forth. What do you want to create in this epoch of your life? What are the images and ideas and words that will inspire you to step once more onto the path when you feel you have, temporarily, lost your way?
*Write It Down - Imagine what it would feel like to manifest your vision for your life. The body healed. The harmonious/re-invigorated relationship. The work or career path that speaks deeply to your soul. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in that place. What does it feel like? In your body. Your heart. Your breath. Can you distill this feeling down to a single word or phrase? Then. Write it down. On a post-it or something prettier. Place that guiding word in a place you will see it Every Day.
*Limit Screen Time - We’ve said it before. We’ll say it again. Just like you would limit the amount of media exposure a beloved child gets, do the same kindness for yourself. Allow yourself a daily practice of turning off all external stimuli for an hour or two each day. Let your inner well get fed the the Images you Create. Daydream. Read a book. Nap. Paint. Spend some dedicated moments being prompted from within. Yoga for the Third Eye::: *Child’s Pose - Also referred to as “Wisdom Pose”. Stay for 5-10 breaths. Or take a restorative version with a bolster and block at the third eye and stay for as long as you can. *Forward Folds - Wide-legged. Seated. Standing. Or even downward-facing dogs. Anyplace where the gaze is rested from the outside world and turned back in will help create an Introspective affect in body & mind. *Pranayama - Explore a few different kinds. Alternate-nostril to stimulate and balance the two hemispheres of the brain. Bhrahmari (or "Buzzing Bee Breath") is a powerful practice to wake up the inner Symphony of the brain as well.
Diet & Herbal Allies::
*Rosemary is a fabulous memory tonic herb. Rub some on your hands and temples before you sit down to work or study. Or any task that asks for prolonged concentration.
*Gingko Biloba has a much-renowned brain-fortifying effect as well. Improving concentration and bloodflow to the cortex, too.
*Mugwort either sipped at bed or woven into a little dream pillow (along with some lavender, if you choose, too) will open you up for some deep, lucid Dreams. (Note: So much so, that this herb is not considered appropriate for children - for it may make their dream state too intense.) Use with reverence and with caution.
Happy Solstice to you all. Thank you for reading these words. For doing the deep, Inner Work necessary to continue to show up... And do great things in the Outer World each day. May you enjoy the gifts the Darkness has to offer.
May you find pockets to pause, release, call in, rest, reflect. May you honor the cycle you are in as deeply integral to the next to come. And may you keep the conversation rolling. Share with me your discoveries, victories, surprises & missteps along the way. We're all in this together, after all. Here's to the Dark. And to the Light to Come. xo, ~a
PS - It's the Season of Giving!!!
*If what you read here has uplifted or aided you in some small way, please feel free to pass it along to someone who could use a lift! This is how the Light spreads. <3*