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Cultivating Winter Stillness

Stress 101 Article   (854 Views | 1 Replies | 1,030 Words)

Carol Ebert is a MSN, RN and specializes in Wellness and Coaching for Women in their Third Act.

5 Followers; 62 Articles; 22,101 Profile Views; 154 Posts

How Can You Practice Stillness in Your Life?

What does it take to create stillness in the lives of people like us who thrive on being busy?  What it usually takes is having a health condition take over your body and you have no choice. That has happened to me and coincidently it arrived around the Winter Solstice of December 21.  Timing couldn’t have been better!

Cultivating Winter Stillness

I have a chronic condition that has plagued me for about 2 years called Tracheal Stenosis (Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis).  Upon seeing an ENT specialist after experiencing shortness of breath when I tried to make speeches, wheezing, and having difficulty expelling mucus from my lungs, the diagnosis was obtained using a scope into the trachea.  I got to see my beautiful insides, but the entry to the trachea had a narrowed opening which was causing my symptoms. And what is it caused by? Who knows. And only white women have this, and not very many I might add. Leave it to me to be a public speaker who now can’t speak publicly!

Well, the good news is it can be resolved (temporarily) through a surgical procedure that makes small snips in the opening and then the opening is stretched, and I’m good as new.  However, it seems to be a repeat procedure approximately every year. And here I am right now scheduled for surgery (for the 4th time) in the next 3 weeks.  Yes I am frustrated because it can’t be cured no matter how healthy I am - and I am Nurse Wellness and have been a role model for wellness for over 40 years.  All those wellness strategies I live my life by still couldn’t prevent this. And, so I will survive and do what I need to do to keep on my path as a wellness educator. 

So how does this tie into STILLNESS?

I find that all I can do right now is go into stillness and the fact that it coincides with the Winter Solstice seems to be no accident.  I have found that late December through January are cocooning times for my business and for life in the countryside of Minnesota – where we are usually snowbound - which lends itself to being still.  Looks like the universe is giving me a reason to be still since I generally have difficulty cultivating that trait. Just to further make that point, a good friend gave me an “Energizer Bunny” stuffed animal for Christmas because that is my M.O. as I am always on the go with teaching.

Now let’s go a bit deeper to better understand what surrounds the Winter Solstice.  December 21 is the shortest day and longest night of the year.

The winter solstice is a time of quiet energy, where you get the opportunity to look within yourself and focus on what you want and need. It's a time to set goals and intentions for the coming year, to examine and let go of our past, and to make changes within ourselves. The solstice is essentially tied to a personal awakening. What Does The Winter Solstice Mean Spiritually? It's Celebrated In Tons Of Religions And Cultures.

Nature remembers what we humans have forgotten

  • every cycle must return to stillness, silence, the dark;
  • every out-breath requires an in-breath;
  • every outer endeavor turns back inward to its origins, its center, and begins again;
  • from death comes new life, and from the darkest night, the new dawn is born.

A Winter Solstice Mystery: Beauty In the Belly of the Dark

Great words of wisdom.  But how can we apply the teachings of the Winter Solstice and capitalize on the stillness of this part of the year? Here are some strategies to consider.

Solstice is an opportunity to look within yourself and focus on what you want and need

  • Practice “doing nothing” by meditating, visualizing or just sitting in silence with your eyes closed.
  • Just do this for very short periods of time at first to get used to being still and then extend the time.
  • Focus on what you want to have happen this upcoming year that will be fulfilling and pleasurable.  

Solstice is a time to set goals and intentions for the coming year

  • Once you decide what you want to have happen, write it down as a goal. 
    • By December 31, 2020, I will have accomplished:
    • The steps I need to accomplish this goal are:
    • The dates for accomplishment of each step are:

Solstice is a time to examine and let go of our past

  • Write down on paper all the past beliefs that have stood in your way from having all you were meant to have in life.
  • Crumple up the paper into a ball and burn it.
  • Thank the burning ball for all the lessons you have learned from those roadblocks
  • Feel the sense of release as they disappear into ashes

Solstice is a time to start making changes within ourselves

  • Commit to one personal change you want to make during the new year
  • Determine how you will monitor your personal progress (Journaling, marking on your calendar daily or weekly, chose the method that works for you)

Solstice is essentially tied to a personal awakening and the above steps fit right into what most of us already do as we embark on a new year.  We set intentions and goals and just forge ahead. This time, however, consider incorporating the STILLNESS factor into your daily life as a way to monitor your progress and keep yourself on track.

And this is the perfect reminder for me as well. Once I am post-op I could jump right back in the fast lane with my voice intact and not slow down until next year when it will predictably slow me down to stillness once more.  Or I can take time out for stillness along the way to monitor and appreciate my personal growth in an ongoing way. 

Now, how about you?

How can you incorporate stillness in your day – week – month – year?

Carol Ebert RN, BSN, MA, CHES, Certified Wellness Practitioner, Certified Mindful Coach, Sanoviv Nutrition Advisor; Inspiring Role Model for Women in their Third Act.

5 Followers; 62 Articles; 22,101 Profile Views; 154 Posts

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 9,739 Posts; 250,137 Profile Views

The winter solstice, for me, brings the onset of depression. The cold, grey days and the long nights combine to make me feel sluggish and moody, I ache and generally just feel lousy all over. What you've written here has made me look at the winter solstice in a different light; maybe if I save this and re-read it as often as I need to, I can avoid the worst of it. Thank you.

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