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Embracing the Winter Solstice: A Time for Reflection, Rest, and Renewal

As we approach the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, there is a unique opportunity to embrace the darkness, turn inward, and find solace in the quiet moments that this season offers.

The Winter Solstice, occurring around December 21st in the Northern Hemisphere, marks the point at which the sun begins its gradual return, bringing the promise of longer days and the warmth of sunlight. The Winter Solstice holds a profound symbolic meaning for many cultures, signifying a time of reflection, rest, and rejuvenation.

In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, it's easy to overlook the importance of slowing down and honoring the natural rhythm of the season. This is a time to shed the burdens we carry, both physically and emotionally. Like a tree shedding its leaves in preparation for winter, we can let go of what no longer serves us. The Winter Solstice invites us to take with us only what we can carry with ease and to release anything that weighs us down.

Turning inward, however, requires a deliberate and mindful effort. Take time to reflect on the past few months—what inspired you, and what let you down? Become a witness to your experiences, pay attention to the emotions that resonate within you. Notice your breath and the physical spaces where these emotions manifest.

The heart center, holds feelings of love, connection and joy, while the solar plexus, is home to fear, anxiety, and insecurity. Be curious about your internal landscape, as it holds the key to understanding and growth. When you think back, notice where your emotions settle, is it at your heart center, your solar plexus (above your navel), or somewhere else?

Somatic work is a practice in letting go of emotions, a powerful and transformative process that involves tuning into the body to release stored emotional energy. This approach recognizes that emotions are not only felt in the mind but are also physically experienced in the body. By mindfully engaging with the body, you can facilitate the release and integration of emotions, leading to a greater sense of well-being and emotional freedom.

This reflective practice is not easy, especially in a world that often encourages constant motion. Yet, it is undeniably worthwhile. If you find yourself grappling with insecurities, endless comparisons, or a sense of inadequacy, allow yourself the time and space to navigate these feelings, be curious and non-judgemental; journal about your what comes up. Making changes, setting boundaries, and letting go are gradual processes that demand patience and self-compassion.

Life occasionally presents us with unforeseen challenges, and, in my case, it manifested as a knee injury. For more than four weeks, I've had to distance myself from two of my most beloved grounding rituals. My asana practice, a sanctuary where I discover strength and release through the harmony of breath and movement, and my dailywalks, which offer the mental freedom needed for creativity to flourish, generating new ideas and perspectives. As I navigate this period of physical limitation, I am reminded that life often demands adaptation. Perhaps, this injury is a nudge for me to slow down.

The Winter Solstice serves as a poignant reminder to listen to our bodies, pay closer attention to our surroundings, set boundaries, and let go. As we approach December 21st, let us embrace the darkness, for it is in these dark and quiet moments that we can find our inner light. The winter season beckons us to find ease, to rest, and to prepare for the return of light and warmth that inevitably follows the longest night.

May this season be a time of reflection, healing, and renewal for us all.

Lisa Ostler


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