Mindful Intention Mini-Lesson (9:21)
MINDFUL INTENTION - HIBERNATE TO HEAL
It’s been quite a year, and here we are, looking at the darkest four weeks of the year, where the days are shorter, the sun stays hidden longer, and the shadows of the world are even darker. This time between Halloween and Christmas, the Day of the Dead and the Winter Solstice Birth of Christ…it is the time of darkness.
This course is designed to help us remember that there is purpose for the darkness, that on the other side of day, there is always night, that no matter how dark the night feels, there always comes a dawn, and after the worst of the worst storms, we do eventually get a day of clear skies and sunshine warmth.
Let’s just start by stating the obvious. Sometimes the simple act of acknowledging and validating the overwhelming sucky-ness of a situation makes it somehow feel a little bit better.
This year, “the year of perfect vision” has been rather harsh on not just our eyes, but all our senses. Here in the United States, we started the year tracking the politics of an impeachment of our president. No matter which side of the aisle you lean towards, this was stressful, and divisive to a country whose name implies unity. Then, before the ink could dry on the impeachment reports, the pandemic hit, and everything turned upside-down and inside-out as the world went into lockdown. Terms we’d never heard before, such as social distancing, virtual learning, safe-at-home, and city-wide curfew became common place as we scurried for toilet paper and cleaned out our over-cluttered closets. After two months of hiding inside, as the weather got nice, George Floyd was killed and our nation turned inside-out on itself again, this time with protests and riots. Mother Earth wanted enjoyed the spark of rage and lit our west coast on fire through the summer, and doused our east coast with hurricanes in the late summer and early fall. The mask orders and cancel culture of social media in the fall brought more division just in time for a controversial presidential election.
Phew, just writing that much was exhausting enough for me to need to get up out of my chair and go eat a cookie (or three).
Shadows and darkness are almost always scary. It’s no wonder that our greatest fears as kids are usually connected to darkness, and the monsters that come out from under our beds when the lights go out. As a kid, when I had sleepovers at my Grandma’s house, I was terrified that the cartoon creatures on the posters she had on the closet doors would come alive and attack me in the night. Oddly, I now love owls…and if memory serves me right, those creatures were OWLS. And, even more ironically, owls are considered creatures of the night. Anyway, I remember being the kid that asked my mom to check under the bed and to lock the monster in the closet at bedtime, and begged my Grandma to tell the owl posters to stay inside poster world and not come climb into bed with me.
This week, as COVID cases rise, and most of our country’s governors are encouraging and even ordering stick stay-at-home orders once again, it feels like we are being told to go to bed and stay there while the lights are turned off and the under-the-bed-monsters get louder. How are we supposed to sleep in this kind of chaos?
Every morning I roll out of bed onto my yoga mat. It is my time to connect with myself, set my intention for the day, and stretch my body out of dreamworld through the veil into consciousness. At the beginning of my yoga practice these last weeks, I have been pulling an animal totem card to help with my intention and lesson for the day. Three times in the last two weeks, I have pulled the BEAR card. Hmm…what do bears do this time of year? They hibernate. They sleep. They dream. They rest. They restore. When I started looking at this new stay-at-home order, I decided it is about hibernation. Not only is it important for our physical health during this rapid increase in the covid, but it is important for us as empaths, to protect ourselves from the intense stress and anxiety and the chaotic energies that are flying at an ever increasing rate. I even woke in the middle of the night last week and composed a long blog about the Empath Quarantine, posted just hours before my Minnesota Governor announced his latest executive order to close restaurants and discourage gatherings of people outside their households. Not surprisingly, as with anything, when we change our perspective about uncomfortable things, they can somehow get pleasant. As did my perspective on this stay-at-home order this time around. I liked the idea of hibernating, and I started talking to the cute bear on my animal card deck. Then I thought about it, children like to sleep with TEDDY BEARS…BEARS…hibernate…and a means of snuggling in and hibernating, restoring, rejuvenating, repairing. Perhaps this next stay-safe-at-home is about just that, repairing and HEALING.
On Monday this week, during my play-date with my five year old nephew, I was laying on the living room floor, and he buried me in the couch cushions. I found it rather comforting, even as he was jumping up and down on me like I was the couch. Th soft cushions surrounding me felt like a protective armor to block out the sound and pressures of the outside world…and yes, the light too. I was in a quiet dark SAFE place. Thinking about it more, I realize that one of the things I loved to do as a child, especially when I felt over bombarded by the energies of the big bad outside world was to build a blanket fort using the couch cushions and throw blankets. So, when I did just that with my nephew on Monday, I realized it helped a lot to make myself feel safer and cozier and happier with this last stay home order. In fact, it made me want to nestle in even more.
I encourage you, try it. Build a blanket fort. Use as many pillows and cushions and blankets as you can. It’s cozy. It’s warm. And just like a bear, it’s a little hibernation den. Something about it will make you feel better, and make you want to stay home.
The other thing I did as a child to fend off the monsters of the big bad dark world was to use a nightlight. I’ve been lighting all kinds of night lights since Halloween this year. As a grown-up, they come in the form of candles and salt lamps. They help. A lot. Lighting candles, especially at night, it makes the darkness feel romantic instead of scary. The salt lamp makes it feel cozy instead of cold.
When bears go into their hibernation dens, they sleep. They let themselves sleep deeply. They sleep for a LOOOONG time.
One of the nasty side effects of this long year of 2020 is that I haven’t been sleeping as much or as well. All the stress, all the adrenaline and cortisol in my system, my circadian rhythms are all messed up. But when I do find the dreamworld, I find it deep. and hard.
Perhaps this next four weeks is about just that. sleeping in. sleeping longer. sleeping deeper. resting more…to repair and recover from all the chaos of the year. So, I’ve been going to bed earlier, staying in bed longer, even taking naps.
- I am safe
- I am okay
- I nestle into this hibernation to rest, restore, and heal.
- Everything eventually works itself out
- This time is a reset
- Everything is okay