Every winter time as the cold comes, the frost and the loss of leaves comes… there is a natural pull to go inside and down….
Some people find this depressing. When I was living in hot tropical countries I never understood that much-spoken-about winter challenge. And yet, since living in Europe, I get it. The winter pulls us inside in a very real way, as it’s literally too cold and wet to go outside often.
And yet, who said that going inside is a bad thing? When winter comes the pull in and down can be a blessing and an aid for our personal evolution, and it can highlight any deep pain in our heart. That pain is a helpful sign, revealing there is something important to be listened to, to be fulfilled. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away forever.
Meditation welcomes us inside. It’s here we develop our Awareness and Compassion. Only one is not enough. The Sufi tradition illustrates this by saying our soul is a bird that requires both wings to fly – one is awareness and one is compassion.
Compassion and awareness go together as it is normal and natural to become aware of a range of inner pain. The reason is simple – so many of us have a lot of internal pressure to utilise for our growth. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away, it just gets suppressed – pushed under.
HOLDING THE STONE – Wintertime Meditation
Going with the season, receiving it’s hidden blessing, means giving time to go down and in.
The deeper we go in, the more we feel ourselves in the dark space of our becoming. Of what hasn’t happened yet.
(this is often a scary space at first, but only because we’ve never been taught how to be comfortable here. It’s a space that is full, and yet we cannot ‘see’, only ‘feel’ what is here in the darkness)
Go as deep as you can. Find your deepest desire. One that feels ready and ripe, that you’ve had ENOUGH of not being this. Something, that you want so much, but haven’t dared to be yet.
Hold what you want close to your heart. See it. Feel it. Bless it. Become it in your imagination.
Hold it in your hand like you would hold a small smooth stone.
Bringing it into Being… from the dark into the light of day.
Welcome whatever feeling comes, especially all the difficult feelings that come as you notice you aren’t ‘there’ yet. You may be washed with grief, despair, anxiety and distrust. anything. Feeling these difficult feelings with compassion for yourself, for the suffering. Become aware of the storyline behind the feelings, the self-limiting beliefs (‘this is just how I am/how it is’ ‘It’s never gonna change!”).
Open your heart to your own sorrow, of hearing this limiting stories, of experiencing this limiting environment that doesn’t contain what you want so deeply. Feeling compassion (not self-pity) for our suffering, and awareness of the stories and practicing NOT BELIEVING THE STORIES. This time we just feel the feelings they bring, and we feel compassion for ourselves for this pain.
When you do this and still hold the your desire, you start flying. It happens precisely in the moments of discomfort, that we remember to be compassionate. Though it feels uncomfortable, you are starting to move towards your intention. The sufi bird flies with compassion and awareness, your ‘stone holding’ clear intention and desire gives direction to your flight.
Do this for SHORT amounts of time – 1 min. is enough. 30 seconds is enough.
And repeat anytime and every time you remember to. That means, anytime your mind remembers that you want this, or feels pain about not having it. Whenever you remember to, grab hold of that smooth small stone in your hand and wish from the depth of your heart – pointing yourself in this direction you chose.
Keep doing this throughout the year. It can take time, sometimes a year, sometimes more. You will eventually arrive though. It will simply be there in your life, rising from the natural fabric of living without needing to be created mentally or planned in artificially. Esther Hicks of ‘The teachings of Abraham’ calls this ‘following your nose through the desert’, and says don’t stop to check where you are, see you are still in the desert and decide it wasn’t working and you better go back to the start. You’re just halfway there! You need to keep going.
The first time I did this, I wanted FUN. I was a busy parent of a 8 year old.. the fun had oozed right out of me. I’d been pretending to enjoy playing with my daughter for years, but really was thinking about the tasks I needed to complete once she was in bed! She kept pulling me to have fun, I kept resisting thinking ‘I don’t have time for fun!’. Then finally I realised, I would love to have FUN in my life, with my daughter, I need FUN in my life. And I had no idea how to get it.
I felt my deep sorrow and hopelessness, feelings that went with an inner story that said I would never have fun again ever, that I’d somehow lost my capacity or that my fun times had just run out!
That first year as I held my desire to have fun, I felt a lot of pain as I suddenly noticed every single moment that could be, but wasn’t fun. I just wan’t having any. It was excruciating. But I kept holding my desire for mothering to be fun again.
By the next winter I started noticing I was playing a lot more, I was getting down on the carpet for an extra game of ‘Slam’ or ‘Pictionary’. My daughter and I were smiling at each other and giggling a lot more as we made getting to the toothbrush after breakfast a race, I was all of a sudden seeing a lot of things that made me smile throughout the day. I was laughing deeply again. I was having fun.
It took me a year, and proved a point. It didn’t just come on it’s own, I realised I’d led myself there consciously, with intention.
The following winters I asked for additional seemingly impossibilities, such as ‘healing the field relationship with my father’ (in order to improve my relationship with men in my life. Sound familiar anyone?), ‘experiencing what is possible in relationship between women and men’, and ‘living daily my true work-life balance’. In each instance I received what I asked for.