I relish this time of year: my birthday is Jan. 7th (I’m excited to celebrate my big 5-0!), winter beckons us to nest, hibernate and slow down, I love the rich spiritual tapestry of the holy season and of course, we’re given the opportunity to begin anew; to start over again with a fresh clean slate. Everything about this time calls us to turn our gaze inward, reflect and connect with our Wise Selves (read more).
As essential as it is to connect with our inner world, we're moving so fast, this doesn't naturally occur. We have to consciously schedule it.
Here are four ideas to help you create space in your life for contemplation right now:
1. Plan to spend a day in nature devoted completely to reflection: hike, walk, journal, draw, sit, daydream in the great outdoors. Nature is the top way many of us connect to the sacred and our intuition.
2. Book a retreat. Get clear on what you most want from a retreat experience. Then, think about what natural setting most calls to you (mountains, desert, ocean), if you want expanses of unstructured time or you want to be in a facilitated/guided environment and how much time you can dedicate—a day, weekend or longer. Read 5 Reasons I Take Retreats and check out my Jan. 8th and Jan. 29-31 women's retreats.
3. Schedule an extended meditation in the morning, perhaps dedicating one day to releasing “the old” and another to envisioning what you want to experience in the new year. (I also like to keep a journal/pen next to my bed, especially this time of year, for capturing potent dreams or intuitive “nudges” I get upon waking.) Consider picking up a copy of my book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life-it’s chock-full of powerful exercises and tools to help you look at what’s working, what’s not and envision your best life.
4. Attend a conscious movement class or workshop (try yoga, qi gong, Nia dance) dedicated to letting 2015 go and reflecting on where you feel called to focus your energy/attention next. (Google to find a studio in your community.) The issues are in the tissues.
Most of us have an easier time getting perspective on our lives—where we’ve been and where we want to go—when we step outside of our everyday setting.
If the idea of belly-button gazing sounds daunting, be easy on yourself and don't be afraid to tap resources for inspiration (here’s a recommended reading list to jump start the process). For some, reflection may feel unnatural or uncomfortable—but it’s so worth the effort and one of the best investments you can make in yourself. Over time, you’ll find the more you create space in your life for pausing and inviting in inquiry, the easier it becomes and the more you’ll crave this. “From stillness comes discernment.” Let me know how it goes and don’t hesitate to email me at info at reneetrudeau dot com with questions!