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The Winter Solstice

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Happy Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year, the day with the least amount of sun. Darkness. A time when the earth rotates slower, animals hibernate and like the earth, our bodies tend to want to slow down too. A reminder that growth and transformation can only happen when there are periods of rest, nourishment, and taking breaks. 

Reconnecting to the rhythms of seasons has been an intention of mine over the past years. In some ways, it's very intuitive and in others very challenging to go against the always busy, always bustling New York City life, and our culture at large.

Slowing down can feel counter to addressing the very urgent, complex, and challenging issues we face in the world right now, including climate.

The Burnout is real. In addition to the stressors of everyday life, being alive on earth during this time of great change is a lot to hold. The need to take intentional breaks has never been higher, and burnout takes us further away from ourselves and the very thing we are trying to work towards. Burnout only serves the extractive systems it was designed to uphold

To make space for what we want, sometimes we need to break the pattern of the status quo

Part of the work in unlearning systems of harm is interrupting patterns of the status quo, and looking for different models, models that support life on earth. Lucky for us, we have examples all around us, starting with the rhythms of nature. 

Over the past year, I've been deep in learning mode, completing accelerator program, Learning For Action. I'm also about to wrap up my second coach training program, Sacred Depths with Joanna Lindenbaum. One component that I've found important to integrate into my own life, and invite clients to embrace, is honoring the natural cycles of any life span, job, relationship, project, etc. Nature demonstrates how cycles work and that a 4 part cycle- spring: planting seeds/summer: growth/fall: harvest/winter: release can be applied to anything. Embracing these cycles allows for more alignment and integrity rather than rushing and pushing through to the next thing. It allows for deeper learning and integration. One phase that many of us tend to want to skip over, myself included, in transition or making a life change is the winter phase.  A winter phase is often a period of pause- slowing down, tuning inwards, processing, and releasing.  Just like the seasons, for rebirth to happen, letting go has to happen first. Being in the space between no longer and not yet. A winter phase might align with the season itself, it might be a week or a few weeks, or a longer period. From the outside, it might look like not much movement, but there is deep inner work that happens when we allow ourselves to be in the mystery, to not know what's next. The unknown is where possibility lives. This doesn't necessarily mean escaping to the woods to hibernate, although you can! or dropping everything you have going on, but where can you create space with the time you do have?

As we enter the winter season in the northern hemisphere, we have an opportunity to grow still, to practice being in a winter phase, to pause, reflect, and to release.

Some questions to consider on this solstice:

Looking back at 2023, both in your inner and outer life, 

What are you celebrating?

What has served you?

What hasn't served you?

What goals or intentions still feel aligned? what doesn't feel aligned?

What's one thing in your professional or personal life that's ready to be released? 

What values do you want to prioritize moving into 2024?

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