The Winter Solstice marks the first official day of Winter and falls on December 21st in the Northern Hemisphere this year. On this day, we experience the shortest amount of daylight hours and the longest night of the year, which makes it a particularly potent time to engage in rituals that honor and celebrate the gifts we glean from interfacing with darkness. It's a time to stay curious about what lay in the shadows, and offer it up to the return of the light.
One very tangible place I like to begin working with the energy of this seasonal transition is my “beauty shadow”-- the places in myself where I have felt shame or insecurity with regard to my body.
There is potency in beginning here. Why?
So often we withhold basic regard and admiration for ourselves and our miraculous physical bodies. Our lack of self-love for our bodies and their inherent beauty can show up in the most insidious ways, and these insecurities can keep us from showing up in the world as fully as we could.
I created a simple, but powerful ritual to support you in bringing light to your full being, and cultivate newfound confidence for the New Year.
What you’ll need:
- A piece of paper and something to write with.
- A flame- this could be a candle, a fireplace, a gas stove, or even just a lighter. Also be sure to have an ashtray or fire-proof receptacle available.
- Some time and space for you to drop in deeply with yourself. We recommend 20 minutes, at least.
Keep the lights turned low. Take 6 slow, deep breaths and feel your body in the present moment. If it feels comfortable, you might place your hands on your heart and/or on your belly to tune into your tenderness and courage. Once you feel settled, ask yourself the following questions and take some time to write down the responses as they come forward:
- Where do I experience shame or insecurity about my body?
- When was the first time I can remember having that experience?
- How has that shame and insecurity held me back from creating the life I dream of?
- What would I like to call in to fill the energetic space that will open as I heal and release these experiences and criticisms?
When you feel your inquiry and writing process is complete, read through what you wrote. Notice the sensations that arise for you as you connect with the challenging parts of your relationship with your body, the roots of these beliefs, and the possibilities that lie on the other side of letting them go. Allow any emotions to move freely through tears, laughter, or sound.
Prepare your flame, whether that is building a fire in a fireplace or lighting a candle or lighter.
Set an intention to release the heaviness of these experiences, while holding the wisdom you gained from them, and then carefully burn the paper with your written responses.
While this ritual always feels especially potent during the Solstice, you can recreate it absolutely any time you have something you need to release, whether that is shame, pain, anger, or really anything that is no longer serving you. Because this ritual can feel very vulnerable, it can be incredibly powerful to follow it up with some self love practices. Whether that means drawing a bath for yourself, doing some gentle stretching, or giving yourself a nourishing massage, do something that sends a message to your body that you are here to love and support it.