Monday, February 04, 2019

Cultivating your Inner Spark in Winter

Recently I was looking at a photo of mine taken this summer for my website; and, oh how she glowed! Yes there was make-up and a hairdresser involved, plus sunshine and a little perspiration making my skin particularly shiny. I remember it was a very hot day for a photo shoot. So it’s unfair to compare it to my face mid-winter, pale skin, and bags under the eyes.

But I do find that on these dark gloomy days that I am missing some radiance, and need to find that sparkle in the eyes. How do I do that, I wondered, when it’s -20C outside and even my dog doesn’t want to walk very far....going down south is not an option for another month. What to do?
My resolve this year has been to muddle on through winter, especially January, when my body just wanted to curl up and sleep. I decided to do just that yesterday,  nap on the couch with a book instead of berating myself for not having any energy. It’s that time of year when you think you should be planning ahead, at least for this self-employed workshop leader, it’s a good time to plan my year. However, my creative mojo was way down in the basement, and pulling up my socks was not helping.

SoulCollage(R) card: Seeking words

I realized my energy needed more pumping up or plumping up, like a duvet cushion that needs a good shake and thump. So I decided to attend yoga class more often – bump it up to twice a week and also hired a personal trainer to get me started with some cardio and stretching.  I vowed to stick to my small daily practices that I know work.

For me this means sitting down to meditate every morning, first thing, while it’s still dark. Breathing into the silent mantra of breath: rest, silence, breathing. Such a sweet (and sometimes challenging) practice that fills me up from the inside.  The benefit is immediate, and leads me to appreciate and be grateful instead of listening to the overactive whiney, critical voice. This morning in my restorative yoga class the teacher had us do a few heart opening poses, and hip openers, lying back on a bolster, breathing pranayama style, 4 counts in, 4 counts out. I looked at myself in the mirror once I got home, and I am feeling calm, less frazzled than yesterday.

SoulCollage(R) card Tasting the New

Beauty flows from energetic presence, the Yoga Journal article I’m reading says. And I believe. All of a sudden I have patience. I can give attention to my work, to my dog, to my friends in need. I have energy to share. Last week, I was a muddled mess of confusion. But after sleeping in, napping and eating lots of home-made chicken soup and slow simmered stews, pampering myself with good vibes and yoga, I am slowly coming out of that swamp of emptiness into a pool of fullness again. Soothing oils in a diffuser  like frankincense, lavender and rose also help me feel good and keep the cold bugs away....

It is true that building energy with quiet, calming practices like Creative Flow helps fill the well too. When I am really unable to work, plan or think, I head to my collage table where all my supplies are laid out: images, glue, cardboard. It helps that in an on-line class we had a vision board project to make, and that deadline got me moving. But before the vision could come, I needed to plump up the heart energy with some rest.  

What do you do to find your inner spark?