There are little pieces of this story scattered through various newsletters, journal notes, and blog posts .. but today I felt drawn to bring it all together and share the story of Seasonal Mindfulness and the birth of The Lounge
Welcome to Seasonal Mindfulness
Seasonal Mindfulness birthed from a very powerful and personal intention to observe (mindfulness) and honor the gifts and insights that come from listening to the wisdom of the seasons (gratitude). I found this to be a wonderful way to align and harmonize with the changing world around, and within.
Seasons : Moons : Tides : Cycles
Today there is a New Moon .. a potent time of new beginnings and optimum time to plant seeds of intention .. and it is also the month of April, which in the southern hemisphere is the season of Autumn, a time of preparation, transition and letting go. The perfect day for telling my story of resistance, planting seeds of intention, and letting go!
And so the story begins with .. my struggle with Winter.
Yes, my struggle with a season.
For most of my life .. I have hated Winter .. hated! I would brace myself from the first mention of changing weather, the moment when Summer let me down and the temperature shifted, even just a few degrees, and I would continue with barefeet until frost-bite threatened! You would hear me complaining about ..
the bone-chilling cold that stops me from getting out of bed
the stupid heavy dull clothes I had to wear
the boots that squashed my feet
the stiffness in my joints (which made me feel old)
and, the blah light that sapped my energy
arghh .. the greyness and lifelessness
yes .. a little melodramatic!
I now call Winter 2018 the season of my resistance
Interestingly, it was during this time that I also started to gravitate toward, and find, articles, books, and teachers who talked about seasonal living, and the wisdom of the seasons. I also got back into yoga classes, and found an interest in qigong, both ancient practices that speak of the seasons. I even found myself running some seasonal urban retreats with a friend. yep. seasonal.
I realized that my suffering around Winter was due to resistance
In Buddhism, the first noble truth is: there is suffering. Dukkha is the Pali word for suffering, which is often also translated as ‘unsatisfactoriness’ or ‘anguish’. But Dukkha is said to arise from not seeing and accepting the conditions of life as they actually are, and not understanding that everything in life is impermanent.
Struggling against a season (my winter resistance) was certainly a very minor form of suffering, but once I realized what was going on .. and the stories that were directing my perception and informing my experience .. I knew that I could change how the story would continue.
My antidote was to change my mindset
I consciously decided to flip Winter into one of my ‘favorite’ seasons .. to rewrite my story, even if it was a matter of fake it, till you make it. I was going to commit to slaying the crazy stories and tiresome wingeing – and hunt down at least one gift – every single day!
So, I paid attention (that’s, mindfulness) and I searched for the silver lining, the thing that made me smile or pause and notice beauty .. in the moment. I also started taking pictures on my phone which was fun and gave me the insight of a different lense! And as winter unfolded, I captured mornings when the mist rose beautiful above the lawn, the storms that rolled in and lightning strikes across the bay, an unexpected hot chocolate date with a friend, and some pretty happy and cozy movie nights with my daughter (and popcorn).
And the most important mindfulness practice for me was my ‘blue sky’ practice. A patch of blue sky represents lightness, warm sunshine and freedom to me, so every time I saw even a small patch of blue sky, I would note to myself “look .. there is blue sky today”.
And, I fell a little bit in love with Winter!
The change in how I felt about Winter, and the insights that I gained from my very personal and direct experience of mindfulness and gratefulness, inspired me to write a little Seasonal Living eBook so that I could share some of my favorite rituals, learnings, and practices.
Past editions have included:
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And then .. The Lounge
After a Winter of incredibly changed perception, I was excited to feel the whispers of Spring .. and one day, a tiny seed of an idea began to nudge itself into my awareness, because Spring is about rebirth, renewal, and growth and I found myself dreaming and journaling about how Seasonal Living might also inspire our meditation practice .. and then it was Summer, and a surge of energy pushed my little seed along, which is no surprise given Summer is all about FIRE and exuberance and creativity, and I began to paint and play in the sunshine, and The Lounge was born.
Just in time too, because I sensed that Autumn was going to be the perfect time to begin this journey, Autumn is all about the harvest and preparing for transition and releasing and so on 1st March the doors of The Lounge opened .. and we started our year-long seasonal meditation journey.
Tapping into the Earth’s rhythm and the Universal truth – that our inner world is always harmonizing with our outer world.