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December’s Gifts: Refuge and Reflection

Take time to rest and reflect. The way you finish your year will determine how you begin the next one!

Of all the things I love about New Mexico, the relatively short winters hover near the top of the list (hey, I grew up in Nebraska, and spent a few years in Buffalo, NY. Winter temperatures that stay above zero are a very special thing in my life!)

However, even I must admit to appreciating the qualities that the shorter, darker season presents. The invitation to slow down, rest more, and reflect on the previous year before moving on to a new one is one that I accept more happily every year.

It seems especially important right now. 2016 was, to put it very lightly, a hell of a year. We lost heroes, artists who had described our dreams in their songs. We witnessed a national election that by almost every measurable standard was unlike anything we’ve seen before, and as such the world started to feel less predictable.  Amidst so much change and loss, it becomes ever more important to turn toward the things that keep us strong. Simple, necessary things, like sleep and food and movement and good company.

Looking around right now, we’re seeing the end of the growing season. Tomatoes and chiles have been harvested or left on the vine to wither and return their seeds to the earth. The cottonwoods are beginning to drop the leaves that were so beautiful just weeks ago. They seem to know: we can’t live in our attachments to even the most beautiful parts of the past.  Now is a letting-go time, and a time to gather our resources and direct them toward the roots. It’s a time for refuge and reflection, and for nourishing ourselves and each other for the new cycle to come.

The traditions of yoga and Ayurveda offer tons of options for this. Maybe now is the time to begin, or re-kindle, a simple meditation practice—and truly, keep it simple. Five minutes a day is a good place to start. See what comes of it. Or, when you find yourself so overwhelmed with end-of-year tasks that you barely know what to do with yourself, take a time-out and lay over a bolster for a few minutes. As the musician John Cage once said, “find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.” Just get quiet enough to sense the presence of that trust, in your breath, in your body. This is the season to feed it.

We wish you all a peaceful final month of the year—and a happy transition into the new one!

Much love and thanks for reading,

Erin H/Grassroots Yoga







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