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  • Susan Conrad

Going Inward


"Winter takes away the distractions, the noise, and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb-like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth." ~ Brigit Anna McNeill

Lately I wonder if I haven't contracted some sort of incurable disease. Then I remember—it's December. I, along with millions of other people, feel this deep sense of imbalance, if not depression, this time every year. The Winter Doldrums have returned. Thankfully, the Winter Solstice is fast approaching, and this awareness gives me comfort and hope, as if some portal with elixirs labeled "vim & vigor" and snacks tagged "inspiration & motivation" await on the other side.

Seeking that elusive inspiration and motivation, a few nights ago I packed up my yoga mat and various props and drug myself to a yoga class. Ironically, the instructor began the class by sharing how much she loves this time of year. How it's such a wonderful opportunity for going inward, to rest and reflect and rejuvenate. (Laughing, she tells her students that her family cringes when she says this because they all detest winter.) Like many yoga classes, an intention was set, and our intention that evening was to go inward and revel in our new slowness of being. To feel gratitude for the shorter, less demanding days and to focus on whatever comforts come to mind. Hello?! How flabbergastingly timely this little message was! Dutifully I steered my thoughts toward my cheery Christmas tree that I made out of driftwood, standing in all its funk and modesty in my warm living room. I smiled at the mug of hot cocoa, possibly spiked with dark rum, that I would sip while admiring the tree after class. And I felt immense gratitude to be going back to a solid, incredibly well-insulated house that has been withstanding the 60mph wind gusts that have been blasting the west side of my Pacific Northwest island for days.

Going inward! This was exactly what I needed to be reminded of. Coming home from that class I sensed a shift: in my awareness, in my clearheadedness, and in my energy. I've given myself permission to slow down, to descend into my own body, and appreciate my own light. To grieve, to cry, to laugh. To recharge and reboot. To face what I need to face and do what I need to do to hit the ground running come springtime.

I work seasonally, with an often frenzied schedule March through October. As wild and hectic as it can sometimes be, this is a reality I have willingly created. I'm amazed and grateful that I'm able to use my Inside Passage expedition, and resulting life transformation, as a springboard for my work, focusing on inspiring people to not merely survive, but to thrive. And, because I'm human, I need to remind myself of that too! We all know that our thoughts create our realities and oftentimes a shift in our realities is simply about re-framing or re-packaging things. Like winter. I just needed to shift my perception and repackage winter into a different form—and it became a gift to myself!

This time of year I'm drawn to many things including color, light, warmth, quiet, solitude, gentle movement, good books, and wholesome food. Appreciating all these things helps me through the long dark days of winter. And much like life, setting an intention to celebrate this seasonal journey instead of merely riding it out until its over.

What are you drawn to this time of year? What do you do to stay inspired and motivated, and to find your light?

**Illustration used with permission from the artist Jessica Boehman. To see more of Jessica's beautiful artwork check out her websites at http://www.hansmyhedgehog.com/ or http://www.jessicaboehman.com/

P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for the Winter Solstice full moon as December's full moon also appears on the 21st!


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