The winter solstice is only a week away on 21st December. A special space before Christmas to stop for a moment of contemplation:

To light a candle in the dark or go outside and if it’s a clear night look up at the sky beyond the earth to connect into the beautiful, velvet view. Stand and sense something much bigger and boundless: universal love, freedom and spaciousness are just a breath away for all of us.
Coming back to earth, feet on the ground we arrive at a turning point in the year, when the sun is called back. The Celtic traditions honour the beginning of the sun’s return and the gradual journey back to light. So shall we. naturally decorating with mistletoe, ivy and holly that represent everlasting life, prosperity and growth. Branches were carried inside bringing the outside world inside.

A time to shine in a flickering flame: around a fire, a lantern or a candle, reminding ourselves of the warmth and light to come sooner than we think in January to illuminate our lives again.

It may seem imperceptible at times in the hurly burly of modern life, fluorescent lights, phones and screens but if we pause to perceive the difference at the solstice we can anchor ourselves in the dark to recognise and thank the light returning.

Gathering together in gratitude for the cycles of nature is a wonderful opportunity in the hurly burly to make some decorations, cook some cakes or biscuits, or share some berry based hot drinks and laugh together. Preparing for yuletide/Christmas fun is a connecting and mindful thing to enjoy.

Drying orange slices gently in the oven whilst you are cooking something else smells amazing and creates a gift to make. Cutting stars was a tradition from my childhood out of white paper to hang on branches to glitter over a mirror. The smell of the pine trees decorated for Christmas is such an evocative aroma of joy and anticipation.

Music, carols. singing and dancing are a tonic for the mind and body too: stimulating our vagus nerve into its relaxation response, easing the stress away with joy. Our ancestors knew a thing or two about how to balance their lives. Bringing laughter into the dark lifts moods as we gather, reminisce and celebrate.

Wishing you all a warm light in your hearts and minds.

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