Looking to bring stillness into the season?
Christmas can be a time of paradox. On one hand, the natural world is slowing, the days are short and dark and there can be a pull for stillness and quiet. Yet all around us, the lights are bright, the music is loud and the demands of the season can keep us from dropping into the peaceful pace of the natural world.
Here at the Sanctuary, we have a few tips for bringing stillness into the season.
- The days may be short and the nights may be dark; however, this means that the sunrise is happening at a manageable time for viewing. At the moment, the sun is rising around 8:30am. This is the perfect time to pull out a chair, grab a cushion, open the blinds and notice all of the colours, the sounds and really savour the coming of the light.
- Feed the birds! If you have a garden, or if you have a balcony on a flat, you might like to purchase a few suet balls of bird seed and hang them from a tree or a window sill and take a few moments every day to notice the birds that arrive.
- If your days feel busy, set/schedule a time in the evenings to sit quietly in a candle lit room with a cup of tea for as long as it takes you to drink the tea. The Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that simply drinking a cup of tea can be a wonderful meditation practice. As you pick up your cup of tea, you might like to breathe in fully in order to bring your mind back to the body so that you are present in the here and the now. Feeling the warmth of the cup in your hands, the warmth of the tea as it slips down your throat, not thinking of the future or that past, instead meeting and being with the sensations of the tea in this moment, where joy, happiness and peace is possible.
- If you have a fireplace, decorate a Yule log with bits of ribbons and trinkets that represent the year that’s passed. You might even like to tie little notes of things you would like to let go of- an old resentment, an attachment to a specific outcome, etc… Once your Yule log is created, throw it in the fire! Letting go of all that is no longer.
- Schedule in time to sit and practice meditation, or at least to turn off radios, devices, televisions and spend time (30 min) each day in a digital detox.
Most of all, give yourself permission to rest when needed. Christmas season is often expressed as a time of goodwill and this goodwill must include YOU!
If you would like to explore mindfulness more, the Sanctuary has a number of courses starting in the new year. Please visit our website www.sanctuary.ie