As we move from the shortest day of the year to days getting longer, we move into the holiday season. Winter, though a time of reflection, moves into high gear with a lot of moving parts, people coming and going — and often times, a lot of stress. It’s an odd sort of conflict because energetically, the earth wants us to stay quiet, but our holidays want us to move around. We vacation, travel to parents and grandparents, dinner parties and events. It can be exhausting, though fun and exhilarating.

Winter Solstice instigates a change. The late dawns and early sunsets shift. Though the days slowly become longer and night’s shorter, we are quite strongly still in a “yin” time of year (with a little bit of “yang”). This mean it’s a naturally quiet, reflective time. It’s also a great time to turn and look at our darkness within – the stuff we no longer want to hold on to, the stuff that no longer serves us (being angry at someone, habits that keep us stuck, negative thought patterns) and decide to let a few things go.

Here are two very simple and concrete exercises to help you progress through the holidays with equanimity and grace — and some growth thrown in for good measure!

For starters, I suggest you take at least 5 minutes every day for yourself. That is my promise to myself as things get harried. I will spend at least 5 (more likely 15) minutes every morning, breathing, doing a little meditation, running through my “gratitude list” in my head. This sets the tone for my day. The days I forget to do it, I realize at about noon – when I see my day running me, instead of the other way around.

Another important thing to do at this transitional time of year, is to make conscious decisions about what you want to let go of, and why. Transitions of any kind are loaded with energy, and what I love to do with clients is to help them repurpose that energy into something productive and growth oriented.

Exercise: Get a piece of paper and write down things that “bother” you about your life or yourself. Perhaps it’s some issue that keeps resurrecting itself or a person who annoys you. Really have at it. Let your inner-most, secret, dark thoughts come out. Write it all down until you feel complete.

Take a look at it. At first, be objective. (“Isn’t that interesting” is one of my favorite lines to use when trying to be objective.) Just look at what you see on the page as if you were reading a stranger’s writing. What are your impressions? What have you learned about this person? Then, begin to wonder why you think they feel/do/think these things?

What questions might you ask them to help them lovingly let some things go? Don’t be embarrassed or feel you should have “handled” that piece, or should be “over” another thought or feeling. This is the time to love yourself out of it. That’s right….love yourself – warts and all! And, forgive yourself.

When we love and have compassion for ourselves, it’s easier to let things go. It’s easier to surrender than to white-knuckle change – which, of course, means you’re judging yourself. And the more you judge yourself, the more you strengthen the very thing you want to let go of!

A second part of this exercise is to write, in affirmation form, how you would rather live. For example, “I am jealous of rich people” can be transformed into “I know there is more than enough for everyone.” Surrender your jealousy, and ask the Universe to take it away. You don’t need to know how this is going to happen. You just need the intention, and the faith that it will happen.

Lastly, burn the paper (after you write your affirmations down!) I call this a Phoenix Process. You are transmuting your wishes into another form of energy, and putting them into the Universe in their changed form.

So, invoke the power of the Winter Solstice to create dramatic change within yourself which will translate into your day to day life. Take a little time to give yourself the gift of a changed, growth-oriented and loving life. Today really is the first day of the rest of your life! Before you know it, you’ll find a little Spring in your step!

Author's Bio: 

Teresa M. Goetz, is a Life Coach, Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, who has spent her career helping women realize their potential at all stages of life. Her work has paralleled her own personal experiences, and includes specialized work at all women’s major life stages, including pregnancy, child birth, parenthood/ mothering, partnership/ marriage, divorce, and middle life.

Teri gets enormous satisfaction from watching women grow into who they truly are meant to be. She creates and holds a safe space for her clients so that they may turn personal crises, like divorce, into defining moments to transforms their lives. She helps women achieve clarity and confidence, and then breathe fresh air into their futures.

Teri speaks and writes about women's issues and health, works with clients one-on-one and offers workshops for women.

She is a mother of 2 daughters, step mother to two more and married to a wonderful man!

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