Boy, time is moving! Here we are, already facing the mid-point
of the year. Each season gives us touchpoints and signposts to
prepare us for what’s in store for us in the months ahead.
Winter and the Winter Solstice gave us an excellent time to
cocoon, rest, slow down and most importantly, dream and
vision. Spring and the Spring Equinox gave us the gift of
clearing, planting, and seeding every aspect of our lives.
Now, as the earth continues its annual journey around the sun, the Summer Solstice (Monday, June 20) marks the longest day of the year and the turning point after which the sun starts rising later and setting earlier. The paradox of this solar turning point is that there is ample daylight, yet there’s the reality that it’s fleeting.
So, how can we take advantage of this time when the sun’s batteries are fully charged? We can take our cues from nature by using the life-giving sun and long days to get moving and take action.
What an amazing gift! The earth is gearing up for nature’s tremendous talent showcase as we witness it bringing forth its very best. Mother Nature rolls out a green carpet for us to lay, sit and play on. Plants and the earth are bearing succulent fruits and vegetables, the water is warm and inviting, and the blue sky is full of birds and butterflies. Music is in the air. It’s a time of fertility in nature — making it a time that is pregnant with endless possibilities. So, how can we take advantage of this wonderful boost of solar energy?
Here are five ways you can embrace the fullness of the season and get in alignment with this wonderful surge of energy when the Sun’s power reaches its zenith:
1. Honor body, spirit and the sun.
If you have always wanted to practice yoga, and didn’t know quite where to begin, there is a set of postures known as the Sun Salutation that you can perform. These postures are intended to shift both your body and your soul, balancing both in harmony through meditation and physical movement in one. Begin this exercise on the morning of the Summer Solstice and aim to make it a daily ritual from this time on.
Here are some basic instructions to get you started:
2. Get outside.
After many days of rain and gray or overcast skies, it is easy to forget that our bodies are like individual solar panels that can be activated by the sun itself. Being out in the sun, particularly on the Summer Solstice, it can remind us of the importance of self-maturation. Ask yourself: “Am I still in alignment with the goals I set at the beginning of the year?” If not, this is a good time to add some energy to them; get outside and get moving.
3. Be bold.
This is the season for bright, bold colors, bold thoughts and bold actions. Don’t hide your light. This is a time when you want to put your best foot forward. Ask yourself: “What areas of my life are not in full bloom?” “What parts of me are hidden from the light?” Take action and be fearless.
4. Create your own purifying ritual.
Use the powerful cleansing energy of fire or the heat of the sun to cleanse, purify, and activate. For instance, you can build a Summer Solstice bonfire and invite friends to write a wish on a piece of paper for something they either want to release or attract to their lives, and then burn it in the fire. This is also a good time to burn away negative thinking and habits too.
If you can’t build a bonfire, light a candle outside and then burn the paper over its flame. Also, take your vision board, dream journal, or just a piece of paper with your wishes on it, and put them out in the sun at high noon on the Solstice. Pray that the energetic rays of the sun will activate the power in your wishes.
The power of the ritual (regardless of which you choose or if you create your own) is not diminished by the size or use of fire, or if you use the energy of the sun directly. It’s all about your intention.
5. Take a spiritual bath.
Draw a bath and then take a full body plunge, symbolically diving into emotional depths and emerging renewed. The Solstice is also the first day of the water sign Cancer, a good day to welcome and cleanse our physical and emotional bodies.
Don’t miss the gifts that can be afforded by aligning with the energy of the Summer Solstice and the life-giving sun. Again, this is the peak of sunlight and the sun is generously distributing its radiant manna on all that grows. This is the time to step out and step up, be bold, and aim high. Seize the day and its light.
Written by: Niambi Jaha-Echols
It seems like just yesterday I was snuggled up under my blankets reveling in the cocoon-like nature of winter. And here we are already facing the beginning of Spring. Buds are beginning to form on the trees, new grass is pushing through the earth and the flowers are slowly making their appearance.
As the earth continues it’s annual journey around the sun, the Spring (Vernal) Equinox marks when day and night are equal in length. Next Sunday (March 20) will officially begin Spring, after which the days will finally start to get longer and the nights shorter.
Throughout the world, the Spring Equinox is symbolic of new beginnings and a season filled with birth, transformation and growth. As we take our visual cues from nature, how can we truly take advantage of the distinct energy shift ushered in through Spring? One way is to Consciously Allow it. If we are not mindfully aware, we may miss the energy boost that spring can give us and merely just switch from our winter coats to spring dresses, never really shedding any of the external, emotional and internal baggage we may have accumulated over the dark winter months.
I refer to Spring as the season of Consciously Allowing, because change is inevitable, but transformation is optional. Change is going to happen, regardless of our response. It is however, an individual choice you can make to align with nature and plant some powerful seeds in your life during this season of renewal.
For instance, when planting a garden, you have to remove any debris that may have accumulated over the earth, tilling the soil to cultivate it for the new life that will spring from it. This allows the flowers, room to grow to their full potential. If we don’t remove the debris, it won’t stop the flowers from pushing through, it just makes it more difficult and more energy has to be expended. Many times we can be so busy with our everyday lives and become stuck in emotional patterns that we don’t allow any room for renewal, and before we know it, the sun is shining full force and yet we still feel sluggish and uninspired with no real transformation, just a shift from one season to the next.
Here are 3 ways you can Consciously Allow the gift of Spring to help align you with this amazing gift from Mother Nature.
1. Spring Clean your Home. Spring Cleaning is more than just a traditional activity, it is a wonderful time to not only get rid of anything that no longer fits, is broken or is no longer needed, it also is a wonderful way to consciously allow a shift in your physical environment by removing all the clutter and negative energy that may have accumulated in your home over the dark winter months.
If the thought of cleaning your entire home feels overwhelming, allow yourself to take advantage of the season by doing a ‘mini clean’. For instance, you could go through all of your clothes, shoes and accessories and give away those things that no longer fit, are no longer a part of your fashion palette or current style profile. When you hold on to material things that no longer serve you, you don’t allow space for new things to materialize .
Consciously Allow yourself to get rid of any unnecessary paper and clutter. It is amazing how much paper can be accumulated in just a few months! By letting go of paper clutter, you Consciously Allow space for new solutions and inspiration.
2. Spring Clean your Emotions. Are you holding on to old emotions that no longer serve you? Are you plagued with anger, self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness? Spring is a wonderful time to release any emotional toxicity and create a new beginning. Some practical ways to Consciously Allow space for new emotions is by attending a personal development retreat or by joining a women’s circle or support group. By finding ways to let go of emotional clutter, you consciously allow space for new perspectives, ideas, friendships and connections.
3. Spring Clean your Internal System. Spring is a wonderful time to Consciously Allow your internal organs to cleanse, detox and be renewed through the removal of accumulated waste from your body. You will feel the energy shift as you lighten both your physical body as well as your vibration. One way to detox your physical body is through fasting as well as increasing your water intake while decreasing your sugar and salt intake.
Every time I Consciously Allow myself to be presently focused on the season of Spring, I realize that just like a gardener. I am given an incredible opportunity to properly cultivate and till my soil in order to yield the most from my idea seeds that were planted in prior seasons.Just as a gardener has to allow the seeds to grow, we have to consciously tend to our physical, emotional and spiritual systems in order to allow for our maximum growth as well.
As we can turn our faces to the sun and the shadows fall behind us, are you ready to Consciously Allow your full potential to manifest in the garden of your life?
~ Niambi Jaha-Echols
I forget the advertisement, but I certainly remember the jingle. This old Andy Williams classic has been repurposed by many creative marketing teams in recent years to infuse the air with thoughts of holiday spending and the hustle and bustle of the season. Many people miss out on the wonderful gifts that winter itself brings because of all the distractions – getting lost in the holiday spending frenzy with all its festivities and cheer. This time of the year can be exhausting with year-end closeouts and increased shopping. It can certainly leave us feeling overextended, overworked, over-committed and ringing in the New Year overwhelmed and stressed out.
In spite of it all, I love this time of the year. I am a winter baby (born in January) and I truly understand and appreciate the gifts of the season – the intangible ones, that is. The first day of winter (The Winter Solstice) has over the last several years, marked the beginning of a magical time for me to recalibrate my internal frequencies to be in tune with Mother Nature. Over the years I have learned to mimic nature and move within its natural cycles and seasons. Trusting that Mother Earth knows best, I like to model my life after hers. Many times when I’m feeling the stress of the season, it’s because I’m going against the natural flow. It’s like running up an escalator that is going down. On the other hand, when I’m tuned in and in sync, I relish in all the wonderful gifts this season brings. Ritualizing the beginning of winter (as well as the other three seasons) is a wonderful way that I personally have found to be beneficial in maneuvering through the dark days of winter.
This year, December 21st /22nd, will mark the first day of winter (The Winter Solstice) for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere. It will mark the longest night and the shortest day of the year – particularly because on that day we will be the furthest from the sun. Each day after that will be a little bit longer and each night a little bit shorter as we make our way to the Summer Solstice (which will be the longest day with the shortest night).
While it isn’t clear just how long people across the planet have been observing and celebrating the Winter Solstice, we do know that ancient cultures created sacred rituals around it, especially during the darkest days. It was a time for reflection and renewal. Our bodies are closely tied to the earth, the sun and the moon, so it just makes sense that ancient cultures would attune their senses to the subtle changes and cycles of the seasons. In this modern, technologically driven, fast-paced society, creating our own seasonal rituals might help us attune more lovingly with the lessons Mother Nature can teach us, bringing us more in harmony with the subtle changes and cycles within ourselves.
Just as the earth is quiet, in the darkness of the night, and is resting as it prepares to bring forth new life in the spring, I too use this season to prepare for the exciting days ahead. As the earth covers itself with a blanket of snow, we will witness the most amazing model of self-care - if we are paying attention.
In the winter Momma Earth closes her kitchen and we’ll just have to wait until the spring to delight in her luscious fruits, succulent flowers and abundant greenery. As she shakes the leaves off her trees, she has no problem shutting it down. She knows that this is the time for her to slow down, rest, dream, reflect and plan for the future. She is the epitome of self-care. She’s resting because she knows that during the other three seasons, she is outwardly giving to everybody and sustaining everything. (Sounds familiar?) This is the designated time for her to rest, rejuvenate and replenish. She would be foolish to not take advantage of this season - which is designed specifically for her self-care. It’s an excellent time for us to do the same.
Use the winter to slow down instead of speed up. Here are just a few ways to make the Winter Solstice and this season work for you:
By creating even simple rituals with personal meaning in observance of winter and the Winter Solstice, can serve as touchstones to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, love, connection and appreciation that can carry you through the holiday season and the dark days ahead, with more grace and ease. It can also be a time when we feed our spirits and nurture our souls.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to continue to take my cues from Momma Earth. I’m slowing my pace, wrapping myself in warm blankets as often as I can, lighting my Winter Solstice candle and pulling out my vision book and dream journals as I rest up in preparation for all the magical moments and wonderful seeds that I will be planting just ahead in the spring. What an amazing gift.
This truly is the most wonderful time of the year.