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Friends, how is this winter treating you? 
Are you rushing around, trying to find the perfect gifts for family and friends, decorating your home and workspace, baking cookies for neighbors, dressing up for holiday party after holiday party? December is a unique time of year with so many holidays occurring for so many of us, and our days tend to be filled with lots of lights, gifts, tinsel, cookies, demands on our time, and a good amount of stress. This time of year calls for a LOT of energy, and ironically, most of us have less than normal.

It is winter now, and for many of us that means MUCH colder weather, and less and less sunlight to energize us. For me, deep in the Utah mountains now, it means lots of snow and ice, cold winds, and a distinct lack of motivation to accomplish things. I often find myself battling bouts of Seasonal Affective Disorder in the wintertime as well, as I know many of us do. It's a tricky time, especially when so many of us are being called towards our purpose now. What do I mean by that?

Astrologically, the sun has moved into Sagittarius, the sign ruled by Jupiter, planet of expansion; with the archer's arrow pointed towards the sky, directing us towards ideals and higher thoughts. Sagittarius is mutable fire, which gives weight to our desires, and in fact unites our desires with those of the rest of mankind, resulting in the communal "Christmas Spirit" (or Yule Spirit, if you prefer ;) ). Additionally, revolutionary Uranus just turned direct in cardinal fire Aries, which gives us the drive to act on our desires and make our dreams come true (Sagittarius can have a tendency to talk and talk about dreams without actually taking action- there's the mutable fire for you). Combine all of that with the energy of the New Moon in Sagittarius, which is the perfect time to begin new projects, especially ones with regards to our higher purpose in life, and it makes sense that I keep witnessing so many goddesses in my life who are stepping into their true power and purpose (seriously, it's happening a lot, folks).

Sounds like a perfect storm for making all of those holiday dreams come true, right? Right?! 

It can be a bit more complicated than that. Winter is, from a nature standpoint, not typically a time of action and adventure. It is a time of hibernation, of rest and renewal, a time when we take a step back to assess what we've accomplished in the past year, look at what worked and what didn't, and begin preparing ourselves for our goals in the coming year. It's a time of reflection, the direction of North, under the wisdom of the bear, who takes all winter long to rest his weary bones before the return of spring.

So, while we're being inspired to take action towards making our dreams come true, we're having to struggle with our natural instincts towards calm, comfort, and quietude. We're being driven to do more, with less energy to accomplish it all. Is this true for you? How does this time of year affect your energy levels?  For many of us, this calls for a balancing act of grounding and revitalizing, both exquisite acts of self-care. At this time of year, with so much emphasis on pleasing, caring for and meeting the needs of others in our lives (whether it's our boss, our extended family, our friends, or loved ones), that we often don't take the time we need to get in touch with ourselves, with our own needs. How do we do that? 

One method is GROUNDING- the act of connecting with Mother Earth by centering your energy in your body, getting in touch with your roots, your rhythms, with nature's healing energy and your own earthy nature, giving you a sense of of security and centered-ness, and of oneness with nature and humanity. When you feel frazzled and out of touch, or if you suffer from anxiety or stress this season, grounding is an excellent way to reconnect to your own power, giving you the strength and energy to accomplish more without pushing yourself past your limits. There are many methods for grounding, and I'll list some here. Keep in mind, however, that you are your own best teacher and that you will benefit most greatly from following your own instincts.

One of the best and most obvious ways to ground is through nature herself. When possible, get outside in the sunlight (if the sun is shining!), take a walk in the grass (barefoot, if it's warm enough where you live), put your hands on a tree, physically connect with the healing energy of our mother earth. Of course, for many of us, all of this simply isn't possible this time of year, with the snow, ice, and cold air keeping us indoors for much of the time. If this is true for you, there is a method that works well indoors too. Sit cross-legged on the ground, or in a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the ground. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and imagine that you are a tree, with roots extending down past the floor and into the earth beneath you, reaching way down into the ground. Focus on sending any excess energy, fear, anxiety, or stress down into the earth, much like compost that isn't of use to us, but can be transmuted into nutrition by the earth's healing power. The earth can take any negativity and knows what to do with it, so feel free to send it all. You are safe and will not harm anyone with this act. Once you are ready, imagine that the earth is sending you the nutrients you need up through your roots and into your body. The earth offers you love, balance, peace, and light, and any other energy you may be in need of. She has plenty, so don't feel guilt in accepting what you need. When you feel revitalized, offer thanks, and give yourself a hug. Do any other action you feel called to in order to complete the energy exchange.

Another way to ground is to get in touch with your own body. Eat, drink- engage your physical senses, and nurture your body. Take a walk or hike, practice yoga, and remember to breathe. Breathing is vitally important to our well-being, and most of us rarely get the oxygen we truly need. Take long, deep breaths through your nose and fill your diaphragm, hold for a few moments, and exhale deeply through the mouth, making any sound that feels natural. Take the time to move and stretch your body, and learn to recognize its needs. Give yourself the rest you need, even and especially when that means more than is usual. Thank your body for the gifts that it gives you, delight in the senses of smell, taste, and touch, and practice exquisite self-care.

A great way to ground, particularly if you enjoy meditation and energy work, is to activate and balance your base or root chakra. If you are not familiar with chakras, they are energy centers placed throughout your body, each addressing different issues and concerns. The root chakra is located at the base of the spine and is known in Sanskrit as the Muladhara Chakra. To activate, get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and begin breathing deeply. Concentrate on the energy center at the base of your spine, opening downwards. Imagine that it is a four-petaled lotus flower of vermillion red. Breathe and see the lotus flower slowly spinning. As it spins, it opens to reveal a ruby-red crystal shining brightly within. Continue to breathe and feel the chakra spin at a pace that is right and comfortable for you. Repeat to yourself this affirmation: "I balance my vital energies and establish my Karmic purpose on Earth." When you feel balanced and revitalized, take your hands and place them over your head, then sweep them down over your body, picking up any excess energy and then grounding it in the earth by placing your hands flat on the floor and sending the energy into the earth. For a daily reminder, or to activate your chakras using gemstone beads, try wearing a chakra bracelet, which I sell in my Etsy shop: Boho Goddess Garden (shameless self-promotion! Yay!).

To go deeper into your practice of grounding, try utilizing the wisdom of stones and herbs. This is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive list of such tools, but instead, gentle encouragement and ideas based on what works for me and those I love, in the hopes that you will find what works for you! 

How to utilize the wisdom of stones: You may want to try holding a stone or crystal in your hands as you meditate, or place them under or on your feet as you relax or practice other grounding actions. You can also choose to keep them with you for an extended amount of time- in your pocket or a special place in your purse as you go about your day, or even in a pouch around your neck if the stones are small enough! You can also find beautiful stone and crystal jewelry all over the internet or at your local health and wellness store. 
Which stones to use: One of my goals here is to promote a healthy balance of grounding and revitalizing energy to help you through the winter months. To that end, I've chosen some stones that I believe serve that dual purpose: Garnet and Red Tiger's Eye. Both are (usually) a vibrant and gorgeous red color, stimulating the root chakra and bringing to mind our connection with the earth. Garnet in particular is highly grounding and protective when found in the red varieties (there are also black green and orange varieties, but I prefer red for our purposes here), and is the stone I chose to utilize when creating my root chakra bracelets. Red Tiger's Eye is a new discovery for me, and I am loving the effects! It is beautiful, with its bright bands of shimmering red, highly motivating, powerful, and stimulating for a sluggish sex drive as well! Some other stones to try for pure grounding and protective energy are Black Tourmaline and Smoky Quartz. If you find that you are too grounded and are feeling slow and sluggish, try some of these purely energizing stones- Citrine, Carnelian, or Sunstone.  Also, while discussing this with a friend, she mentioned that she felt really called to recommend Ammolite, and I'm beginning to see why! It is referred to as the "Seven-Color Prosperity Stone" and contains hues of the entire rainbow, each color representing something different and all together, stimulating each chakra. This stone certainly packs a punch! See if it calls to you.

How to utilize the wisdom of herbs:  There are many ways to use the wisdom of herbs, and not every practice is suitable for every herb. Do your research, experiment, and see what calls to you! Some favorite practices for me are to infuse the herbs in a tea (ALWAYS check to make sure that the herb you are using is safe for ingestion), or steep in a bath. I also will keep the herbs with me in a pouch in my pocket or purse, or burn as incense on a coal (keep in mind that herbs smell differently when they burn). 
Which herbs to use: The first herb that comes to mind is Sage, as it grounds and protects, but also clears away negative energy. Native Americans will burn Sage in a bundle called a Smudge Stick and waft the smoke towards whatever needs cleansing energy. Often bundled with Sage is Lavender, which has the added benefits of peace, relaxation, and healing. Another great grounding herb to try is Sandalwood, which is renowned for it's lovely fragrance, and has very protective, powerful, and courageous properties! Cedar is another tree herb known for it's fragrance, and aids in purifying, protecting, and enhancing psychic abilities. Lastly, I want to mention Mint, which has long been used in healing potions and mixtures- it is said to relieve headaches, cleanse the energy of a room when burned as incense, and has very potent healing properties. Any of these herbs alone could be utilized in your grounding practices, or try combining them for extra potent effects!

What are your favorite grounding practices? How do you stay healthy and happy in the winter months? What can you give to yourself this season to help you feel your most vibrant and beautiful self? Remember that you are precious and valued and your gifts are needed in this world! You are part of what is worth celebrating this holiday season, and who you are is the true gift that you offer to those you love! Don't hesitate to ask for assistance when it is needed, but also keep in mind that you are stronger than you realize, and fully capable of realizing your dreams! 

Happy holidays to you, friends! Thank you for being part of this life-changing year for me, and for supporting me as I pursue my own dreams. I will write a post soon updating my progress! Hope you and yours feel the love this season!

Lindsay

 


Comments

12/18/2012 1:35pm

wow, this is a great post! So much information and really well written, thank you so much for sharing xx

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12/18/2012 1:55pm

So many lovely things to try for grounding--thank you, Lindsay! I find it's a lot harder to feel grounded in the winter because I do spend so much more time indoors, so I'm looking forward to giving some of these a try. I've been feeling really drawn to cedar lately, and have some cedar essential oil, so I think I'll try that first.

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12/21/2012 8:45am

So many great ideas for grounding. Thank-you for sharing this!

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12/27/2012 7:07am

Absolutely love this post. I love how you bring in different modes for grounding - stones, herbs, etc. And you've truly captured the energy of this season. I and several other women are on FIRE to launch new creative projects and business endeavors right now.

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