This is just a small post.
I'm not sure about you, but I love planning the year ahead. Working out and feeling into what I might like to create, how I would like to be, what places I might like to go, recipes to cook, and this planning has been super fun.
But, one piece has been missing. My two beloved teachers Elena Brower and Kelly Sunrose have written and discussed recently, farewelling and reviewing 2016. I feel like it falls into the Niyama of Svadhyaya, self-study.
How are we to grow, change and evolve into the very best of ourselves, if we dont take time to look back and review, flesh out, gently pull apart the last year of our lives?
So. I'm getting ready for my own process of gently reviewing the past year.
Here's what it looks like so far, incase you feel inclined to do the same:
1. Block out.
Take some time, minimum one hour and block it out in your diary. Make this before the end of year get super duper uber crazy. I'm looking at next week.
Scoop up all your notebooks, the diary you used this year, your iphone if you keep appointments there (I'm old school, mines hardcopy). Any pieces of paper you've jotted down plans for this year on. Get a blank notebook, or piece of paper and a nice pen.
Make sure you have a comfortable place to sit, and lay it all out on a table.
4. Light a candle.
Lighting a candle can make this process seem more like a little ritual and quite inviting. Imagine as you like the candle, that you are shining the light on the past year, all of it!
Place your palms togther in Anjali Mudra, at your heart. Take a handful of breaths here. Sink into your sit bones, feel into your breath, feel the warmth of your hands together at your heart center.
Softly and gently. If you had any intentions, wishes, goals or any other plans note what they were.
Here's the practice of self study, in sanskrit Svadhyaya:
What kind of year did you have?
How did you feel your intentions/wishes/goals played out during the year?
What things did you do on the weekend?
Who did you spend time with?
What did you read?
How does it look when you review what your intentions, wishes, and dreams?
Do you feel any sense of alignment? What do you feel; happiness, frustration, disappoinment, joy, pride?
What did you want to happen that didn't happen?
What happened that you had planned?
Loving this work.
Lately, I've been guided to ask myself this question: what is your medicine?
Where do you go?
What do you eat?
What little rituals do you have?
What do you read?
What conversations are you in?
Do any of these contain medicine? What is it that heals you? What is it that supports you? What "life vitamins" are you taking to keep you well, supported, right-side up, happy, shining, loved even?
My teacher Kelly Sunrose has a mantra; "You are your own medicine". Elena Brower talks about your gifts being your medicine for the world, what you uniquely have to offer is your medicine.
What do you do, that you know and trust is good medicine for you? When you do these things, or visit these places, how do you feel? How you feel, or how we feel, lets us know if this medicine is good or if its just a placebo.
Here's some medicine suggestions:
- Nature, yes! Being in nature, smelling, looking, listening, feeling. Nature is a healing balm for us all, and it doesn't need to be fancy. It can be local and easy! You could wander into your backyard, sit on your balcony, raining? find a window with something green to gaze upon. A long time favourite of mine, which I didn't even realise was "medicine", is to go outside at night. Usually I do this before bed, and I gaze up to see some stars, maybe the moon if its not a new moon, clouds if its luminous, just to take in that beautiful picture before bed time.
- Bath. I love a good soak in a warm bath. Sometimes I light candles, maybe a rose petal or 10, perhaps some music. Taking the time to immerse myself in the warmth of a bath can be quite the medicine before the evening finishes.
- Bike. Yes, I love to bike. I ADORE my red bike! It makes me feel so happy, as I leisurely peddle my way to class, coffee, the shops. I am NOT a competitive cyclist, I cycle for the love of it. I can slow down, my senses can absorb the beauty around me and its intentionally slow. Yummmmmmmm!
- Poetry. I am IN LOVE with Salt by Nayyirah Waheed and The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche. I don't need any more books, probably not for many years (but we will see how that goes!!). For me its so calming, so grounding, to bask in the beauty of these books. They are deeeeeeeeeeep! They are yummy, they are like olive oil, so nourishing, so much in just a few words. This probably also is why I love Sanskrit, just the one word unfolding can keep me going for a few weeks.
So, think about your life, your days, your rhythm. What do you do, that feels so good to you? It might be different to mine, it might be same-same. But its so good for us to find out what they are, so when life is all topsy-turvy, all "average", or the boat feels like its sinking, turn to these medicines! Soak in them. Let them restore and uplift, or even just soothe you.
Love to know what your good medicine is?
Take a peek!