Harnessing the Magic of the Winter Solstice

F rom the time I was a little girl I felt the innate magical quality of solstices and equinoxes. In my mind, the mythical Mother a_put_up_jobNature turned a special dial to officially change the season.

I still feel that magical pull on those days.

As I’ve aged, I’ve learned that my childhood view of magic has allowed me to harness the belief that there is magic to be found all around us. When I chose to begin living a more conscious life, I found traces of magic in the everyday.

Pucker up, buttercup!  There’s lots of love ahead for you with a dash of truth.

You see, kitten: if you want to a life that you love, you have to be willing to do the work to create it.

Want to love your daily life?  Then you need to get clear around what you want (and what you don’t).  You create a big picture view of what you want life to look like.

Then you follow through and put supportive routines into place to help keep you on track. This includes tasks like daily writing, meditation, exercise, prayer, adequate sleep, and good food for your body.

The paradox of conscious living is that you also have to be willing to surrender when things don’t go as plans.

It’s part of the human condition that unexpected stuff pops up. We have a flat tire or get an unexpected visitor. We plan to have a writing day and a client has an emergency. We plan to clean the closet and the basement, and the chance to accompany our partner on a business trip. We have to bend and be flexible.

Now, kitten, before you begin to ponder ways to get out of doing the work and blame them on flexibility and serendipity, let’s be frank:  there’s a difference in serendipity and outright distraction.   I’m not the first woman whose head has been turned by a pretty bauble or a luscious pair of shoes.

The reason I brought up magic of solstices and equinoxes is that we are approaching the Winter Solstice. What this means in general terms is that, in the northern hemisphere, it’s the shortest day of the year. What this means for living a conscious life is that I choose to harness the inherent magic of the solstice to take a good hard look at my daily routines, personal rituals, and hone in on what i want to create in the months ahead.

Let’s get something straight right now, darling. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. 

The last time I made Resolutions was in 2004. I believed that if I could get skinny and keep perfect house, then I could fix my failing marriage.  Well, I did lose weight – about 190 pounds of weight by the end of the yearI finally realized I couldn’t tolerate living a half-life any longer and finally got a divorce.

Besides, most New Year’s resolutions are broken before the calendar page is flipped to February.

Instead, I choose a focus or “touchstone” word to serve as my guide for the year. It’s like creating my own theme song. (Don’t we all need a theme song?) And, as I make those big and little decisions in the process of work and play, it keeps me on track and guides me towards what my heart truly desires.

The time around the Solstice is the perfect time to choose my touchstones. Sometimes, those words have come to me like an angel’s whispers. Sometimes, it feels more like prying their little angel lips apart and begging them to speak.

To help me along, before choose my touchstones, I close out the previous year.  I assess what isn’t working, what I’m tolerating, and I celebrate the good stuff.  This is an extension of the questions I ask myself in my Weekly Review.

Celebrating the triumphs of the year – on paper – is super important to the process of living consciously. It forces you to look for the successes while you’re acknowledging where you fell short.  It’s also a good way to bring gratitude into the process.

I look ahead to what I desire in the coming months. What do I want to be? What do I want to create? What do I want to stop tolerating? Since I’m a planner by nature, I usually do some of my business planning around the time of the Autumnal Equinox. After I close out the previous year, I tweak the business stuff and lay an nice foundation of my personal desires into the mix. Yes, I set some goals, but goals are different from resolutions.

To be totally transparent: my personal life gets the veto power over business stuff. Because, baby, I don’t believing in living to work any longer.  Been there. Done that.  The T-shirt no longer fits.

Then, my darling, it’s time for the important parts: how am I going to bring my dreams into reality?

It begins with the details of daily existence.  Are my daily routines supportive of what I want to create? Are those actions not only nourishing, but do they reflect the heart of my touchstones? Where am I slipping into auto-pilot actions? What do I need to ditch? What do I need to add?

I see where I can bring more ritual into my routines. This changes seasonally, which is another reason I pay attention to the solstice and equinox dates.

As we approach the Winter Solstice this year,  I find myself leaning into new routines and craving more sacred moments in the everyday living.  I’m adding a lot of candlelight to both the beginning and endings of my day because, not only does it nourish me, but each candle flame is like a little prayer connecting me to the sacred.

It also means a little less screen time and a lot more time focusing on the beauty around me, like sunrises and sunsets and the soft moonlight on freshly fallen snow. I’m spending more time with my journal and my books than I am with my computer.

Creating a life you love is about the big things, like a plan and touchstones. And it’s also about the little things, like Christmas China and candlelight dinners and sitting on the porch in the freezing cold to watch the sun rise.

It’s about everyday magic. It about faith and belief. It’s about love. It’s about choosing yourself and keeping your deepest desires as priorities.

What about you? Do you see the magic of the season? Do you make resolutions or do you choose touchstones? What do you want to leave behind this year?  What do you want to celebrate? What routines do you need to add or tweak?

What can you do to choose yourself in the coming months?

How can you harness the power of this winter solstice to support you in making 2014 your most amazing self?

Need some help with this process?  Want to close out the year but not sure what to ask yourself? Need some help choosing your touchstones?  Snag my new eBook: Create a Life You Love: Choosing Your 2014 Touchstones.

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Debra is a life coach, writer, and tarnished southern belle. She resides in Dayton, OH.
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