happy winter solstice

'in the depth of winter, i finally learned that within my there lay an invincible summer.' -albert camus

this is definitely one of my favorite quotes of all time, and something i think of often in the wintertime.

my mind and body are in such a different place in winter, much more internal and introspective than in the bubbly and energetic summer.  winter, to me, is like getting up really early, confronting something or someone that scares you, cleaning the entire house, drinking mustard greens juice, or going for a very long run (in the winter may i add).  all very difficult, but also extremely healthy and natural.  it is so true that the things that scare you and cause you to really search deep in yourself for a little strength, are the things that end up bringing the most joy and satisfaction in the long run.

winter is special because there is no external place to draw your warmth and energy.  the sun is low, the days are short.  the body wants more rest, more warming foods, more love, and  more light.  we must pay attention to our spirits, and listen more closely to what our bodies are telling us.

summer can be just so incredibly easy.  extra layers of clothing aren't needed, doors and windows are open,  the long days of sunlight  flood you with energy and take you out of your head.  the extra effort is often not needed, and there's much to do outside of yourself- swimming, playing outside, sunbathing, biking, etc etc etc... so much fun to be had!  winter, on the other hand, requires your energy and strength, and forces you to create your own fire.

when it's 24 degrees out and dark by 4:30, here lies the perfect opportunity to go within and find all the abundance of summer within your body and mind.  taking time to practice yoga, to meditate on your inner light, to hug yourself, drink tea, snuggle with someone you love, is crucial in these dark times.  to cultivate warming disciplines in the winter is such a huge accomplishment in itself, because it's definitely easier to just be lazy and give in to the dullness of winter.  taking shortcuts though, and simply doing what's easier is not going to bring out those much needed endorphins!  we must practice bravery and take the uphill road!

getting outside, running/hiking/snowshoeing, are great ways to beat the blues, though again not the easiest route.  you gotta be tough to bundle up and be out there braving the elements!  but, like i said earlier, the more difficult the task the greater the reward.  the trees and many animals bare the cold all winter long, so we must look to them for inspiration!  plus, you will feel SO good about yourself once you get out there and start heating up, even shedding some layers as your heat builds during a winter workout.  added bonus- you get the reward of coming home after, to return to the warmth and light you've created indoors.  i like to burn lots of candles in the winter, really keeping my home bright and alive.

the solstice is also a great reminder to plan for the YOU of the future.  i've been finding recently that often i have to sacrifice the present hayley for the future hayley, perhaps pushing myself to work harder and plan better for the hayley of tomorrow.  winter is just like that, preparing yourself and getting the work done while facing the wind and the low setting sun.  spring is in the near future, and always returns.  we must see the big picture, and where this entirely brief moment of adversity fits in the grand scheme of the universe.  we are alive for the blink of an eye in the universe's body.  why not at least live and work for the person you envision becoming in the spring?!  accomplishing much while you can on these winter days may not be what you want to do right now, but i can guarantee the you of the future is going to thank you for it!

winter reminds us of how much love surrounds us and is within us, totally independent of what the weather is doing outside.  it's cold and dark and grey... who cares?!  we are so blessed to have heat, to take a hot shower, to be surrounded by people that love and support us, to have the privilege and the time to take care of our bodies and hearts.  and finally to top it all off, we find the satisfaction in doing what scares us and in braving the elements!  winter has it's own source of internal abundance, and this spring garden is blooming within YOU!  you can grow it yourself from the light of your love and the rain of your courage!  what a blessing!

and the icing on this delicious winter cake is the days are now getting longer again!  so much to look forward to, yet so much to enjoy and absorb in this naked and exposed solstice moment.  let's all be as present as we can, and find the joy and light  we each have burning so brightly within us all!  namaste to my friends this holiday season!  wishing you so much love and abundance!


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