Letting Go into the Darkness of Winter

I haven’t written a blog post for ages as life has been a bit full, catching up on office work and Ayurvedic study from when we were in the Outer Hebrides (and trying to land back to life here in Guernsey) and then finally publishing my book, Namaste! (You can buy it from Amazon here or Waterstones here).

It’s funny as the book publishing was a bit of an anti-climax having started it 11 years ago and giving up on it a number of times over the years, but always having it in the back of my mind that I really wanted to publish it, because it has been a dream and I like dreams to come true! I’d lived the thought of publishing my book many times in my mind, in my sankalpa repeated during yoga nidra, on healing mandalas, in my journal and in my prayers, so it was almost a relief to let it go, come what may. 

The planetary dancing the last few months has made it feel very full-on for people and I almost sighed of relief when I felt a shift a little while ago. While I don’t know much about it from an astronomical perspective, I can feel it; there’s been a slowing down. It’s more than that though, at least for me. It’s a gentle release into the darkness, into the unknown. A shifting from one way of being to another, and yet not really knowing what that is, but also not needing to know, because there’s a need to trust the process (as the caterpillar trusts in the process to become a butterfly perhaps). 

It’s happening in nature right now anyhow and I have noticed that the more I attempt to acknowledge the turning of the wheel and the changing seasons, let alone the moon cycle, then one can more easily see how our lives are a reflection of that (the micro and the macro). We’re moving further into the darkness as the winter solstice approaches in less than a month, and the trees continue to shed their leaves as all of nature lets go. 

Thus all around us is a closing in, a hibernation, and as a reflection I feel this within me too - a need to be even gentler in my yoga practice, with candlelight and eyes mainly closed, dropping forever inwards, deepening the breath and lying silently on my mat, resting. I’ve also been enjoying nurturing yoga nidra, thanks to Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and the free yoga nidras on the Yoga Nidra Network (thank you Uma!). There are also some yoga nidra audios on our website that we’ve recorded too - you can find them here.

It’s certainly a time of endings and letting things settle before the new beginnings, as Imbolc will approach on 1 February, bringing with it that spark that gives life to the first buds of spring. It can be uncomfortable, the not knowing how the new may enter in, but trust it we must, because forcing it will do us no favours in the long run (trust me, I’ve tried that many times previously).

Of course new year will bring with it the pressure to will it in, to force the new, what with new year’s resolutions (sigh) as many try to force themselves to be someone that they’re not and never will be. And so they’ll berate themselves for a while for not losing weight or stopping drinking or truly making the change that they’ve decided they must make. But actually all they need to do is stop the trying, and just step more fully into who they are to begin with, even if that means still drinking the wine and eating the milk chocolate.  

Perhaps it’s in the authenticity that we find the balance so the bad habits drop away naturally, without the need to force and be unkind to ourselves in the process. Much better if you ask me to begin the new year being even kinder and more loving to ourselves than we may have done previously. Maybe that’s where the true shift really needs to begin – in the positive, rather than the negative. I’ll be teaching a yoga class on new year’s day (click here for details) for this very reason. I’m reminded time and time again that there’s nothing wrong with us really, only in how we perceive ourselves in the first place.

Less is more I’m also reminded, so all I really wanted to say was that I hope you’re all well and navigating this autumnal fall with a smile on your face. It won’t be long until Christmas, and that will distract us enough to get us to the new year and then who knows what that will bring but I’m pretty excited about it, and the retreating between now and then. So enjoy the ambiguity and the letting go and the darkness and the insights this provides. And enjoy my book too, if you can find the time!