Monthly Columns

Create a Mindful Life to Know Thyself

Mulled wine with orange slices and cinnamon stick on a dark wooden background

The wheel of the year turns to Yule or Winter Solstice. In the Northern United States, we have watched the leaves fall, our daylight grow shorter while our nights have grown longer. Frost has covered the ground and remaining leaves. We may or may not have had snow and ice. But we have the return of darkness and the natural introspection that comes with this time of the year. Our ancestors would gather around fires and practice rites and rituals to encourage the rebirth of the Sun and the return of longer days.

We can connect with our ancestral wisdom by honoring the old practices. Turning off the lights and safely burning candles for a short period each day can allow us to connect with light and invite it back into our home. Meditating with the firelight will allow for slowing down, calming our systems and connecting with our inner wisdom. If fire is not a viable option, you can use LED tea lights or smart bulbs that can be changed to different colors via the phone app, or simply arrange your lights so you are not sitting in bright light.

Rest is the message of Winter Solstice. This is the time of the year when the natural world slows down, hibernates, draws within and prepares for the next phase of life. Rest is a natural part of our life, but we live in a society that praises constant movement, activity and work. Setting time for rest, relaxation and recharging our body, mind and spirit.

As we recharge our body, mind and spirit this is the time to evaluate the boundaries in our life. Especially the ones regarding time and money. You have permission to give yourself an honest assessment of your time, energy and finances. When you are honest with yourself you will find that it will be easier to set the boundaries that are healthy and necessary for you concerning Mental, emotional, physical and financial self-care.

Do you need boundaries in your life? Probably, most of us do in some way. Often boundaries are associated with time. However, any demand on your personal resources (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, material or financial) can necessitate a look at boundaries to see where and how they are needed.

What do boundaries have to do with mindfulness? Mindful living means listening to ourselves and how we feel in the moment. The winter and specifically holiday season is associated with stress, obligation and wanting it to be over for many people. Add in the emotion of guilt because of an inability to spend money as advertised in our society and what should be a time of healing, joyful gathering and shared love turns into a time of stress, depression and anxiety.

How do you know where you fall in this? Mindfulness of course! Listen to your body as you look over the calendar of events. This is a season of abundance and abundant opportunities to do all the things! Consider 1-5 things that bring you the most joy and how that would fit into your life. What can you do that will foster joy and bring you closer to how you want to be living your life? That is what should be getting priority in your life, over the things to provide for your base necessities (food, clothing, shelter, transportation, etc).

The most difficult and stressful one for folks is gift giving. When you decide that you are going to be responsible with finances and the way holidays affect that part of your life, instead of going into debt or a variety of other choices that will stress you out, you can implement a plan. Will coming up with a plan and implementing it be uncomfortable?

Perhaps … the first time. Maybe even the second or third, but it will get easier if you implement the boundaries you need to be healthy. If you do not make the changes, it will never get easier.

But aren’t things always more difficult the first time? And if you are anything like me, you have most likely walked a step out of sync with most folks for most of your life. Those that are part of your daily tribe probably get you and won’t be as startled by your changes.

If you enjoy working with your hands and creating, bring in some evergreens and weave them into a wreath. Wreaths were traditionally created to symbolize the wheel of the year. Evergreens were used to symbolize life, rebirth and renewal because they do not fade as the light fades.

Be creative with the abundance and opportunity around you. Listen to yourself as you look around your immediate environment. What can you do to celebrate the season? Thinking back on your life what sights, sounds, textures and smells do you associate with this time of year? Be mindful of past and present joys to weave the life you want.

Food and beverage such as Gingerbread and wassail can be made and consumed to honor this time of year. Ginger was difficult to come by and produced as a specialty item. The warmth and color of ginger make it an excellent choice for encouraging the sun to return. Wassail means be well or good health. Traditionally it is a mixture of ale with honey and spices. You can also make a non-alcoholic variety with mulled cider and oranges. What favorites reside in your memory or personal traditions?

Is there something you have always wanted to experience? Try? Learn? Is now the time to research this or perhaps even try it? This time of introspection and rest is wonderful for reading, meditating, moments outside in the stillness and journaling. Either the written word or artistic works can be very enlightening for bringing out subconscious self to light.

For rest I highly recommend a breath meditation or the practice of yoga nidra. Sitting in silence with your favorite beverage. Listening to a soft piece of music that uplifts the soul. Reading. Writing. Drawing or painting. Do nothing. Daydream by staring at the Winter sky. Rest comes in many forms. What do you and your body need for seasonal rest?




About the Author:



Irisa MacKenzie joined PaganPagesOrg in 2022 writing the Mindful Living: A Connection of Body, Mind and Spirit column and book reviews. Irisa has taught meditation and mindfulness for 25 years. Her blog continues her discussions on mindfulness, meditation and living a purpose driven life.

Viking Woman Creations has eclectic creations for authentic self-expression. Our holistic services support meditation and mindfulness practices plus the magic that support our body, mind and spirit connection to the Universe. Viking Woman Creations is a small woman owned new business that will be growing over the coming years. Please look for us on Instagram and Facebook.