These are cold days here in Minnesota, and I am not inclined to leave the warmth and coziness of our house. Instead, I become a bear, which in Native American spirituality symbolizes introspection, and I willingly hibernate. My hibernation is not so much about escaping from the cold or taking a time out from life's varied activities, especially after the busyness of the holidays, but rather this is a time to reset my timer and my pace, and to guide me towards my intentions , direction and outlook for living in this new year.
Creating a Container of Space: A Meditation
Perhaps, you need a time of hibernation and introspection, too. Perhaps, you feel a bit muddled about direction for this new year or you may feel a bit reluctant to let go of what was and move to what is and what can be. If so, here's a way to begin.
Close your eyes, lightly, not tightly, and take deep cleansing breaths until you find your own easy rhythm.
Picture a square. Choose a corner of that square. Count to four as you slowly inhale, keeping your focus on the corner of the square you have chosen.
As you exhale, move to the next corner, reaching it on the count of four. Rest in that corner, inhaling to four.
Leave the corner on the exhale and move to the third corner. Inhale again. Exhale again as you move to the corner where you started this journey. Inhale again to complete the square.
Notice the space you have created as you gently inhale and exhale. Notice the boundaries and the space outside of the square. You have created a container of sacred space in which you can rest and restore and reset what needs to be refreshed.
Your sacred space is also a space of exploration. What is inside the square with you? What is there no longer room for in your space? What would like to enter the space with you? What is hovering outside the space, just barely within sight, but you know it is there, awaiting a welcome from you? What questions, images, sounds arise as you move within your sacred space? In what ways are you challenged to expand the boundaries of your own experience? Move into the center of the square and pay attention to what that feels like.
When you are ready, open your eyes and take a deep cleansing breath. This breath releases all tension you might be holding without erasing the sacred space you have created for yourself. This space can be a sanctuary whenever you need it, allowing you to connect with your inner voice, with Spirit, whenever you need it. You can breathe yourself into awareness of the holy. You can breathe yourself into deeper understanding of who you were created to be.
If we choose to believe that there are many questions
to life, we must also believe that the answers to these
questions reside within us. Each and every being has
the capacity to quiet the mind, enter the silence and
Jamie Sams and David Carson
Medicine Cards, The Discovery of Power
Through The Ways of Animals, p. 57
Working With My Square
I spent time at the beginning of this week responding to a New Year's Exercise for Writers posed by Mary Carroll Moore, the facilitator of the online writing class I took this fall. http://howtoplanwriteanddevelopabook.blogspot.com She suggested listing writing accomplishments of this past year, grounding oneself in the strengths of the past year. That is not always easy to do, but frankly, I was quite surprised at what I did in 2014, even though it was a challenging year in a variety of ways and a year in which I thought my writing goals had taken a back seat. The next step was to examine what writing has given me this past year, and words like purpose, balance, stability, joy and pleasure, inner growth, structure, and self-confidence came tumbling out on the page.
Then, and only then, was it time to look ahead to this new year. "Imagine yourself at the end of 2015," the exercise prompts, "what would you most want to accomplish during the year?"
I sat quietly, closed my eyes and breathed myself back to the sacred space I had created. I moved from corner to corner and then rested in the center, allowing the litany of possibilities to flow over and through and around me. As always, there is so much I want to do, so much I hope to accomplish, and with each new year, I am more and more aware of the need not to set aside, not to put off what is most important. Within my sacred space, I found clarity, at least for the moment and I now feel more prepared to enter this new year.
May your coming year be filled with magic and
dreams and good madness. I hope you read some
fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're
wonderful. And don't forget to make some art--write
or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And,
I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise
I invite you to create your inner sacred space as you enter this new year. Perhaps use the Mary Carroll Moore's questions as a guide and allow yourself to see what comes into clearer view and how you are called to live this year? What are you prepared to do to make this year one that finds you being the person you were created to be? I would love to know.