13 Days of Yule : Look to Nature
Simple invitations to look to the natural world for inspiration in these days of Winter.
With love from Melissa Fritchle, Soul Guide www.embody-connect.com
Day 1/Dec20 – What Returns to you
This, the longest night of the year, is also the turning point when the light begins returning, days slowly lengthening into warmth again. A wonderful way to experience this ever-returning sun is by getting up to watch the sun rise, gifting yourself a direct experience of light seeping back into the sky after the long night. However you choose to, I invite you to take some time this morning taking in the morning light. Acknowledge its returning.
What resonates in your heart when you think of a warmth or light that always returns, belonging to you even after you have felt most in the dark?
Day 2/Dec21 – Let the Darkness be the Other you Wish to Meet
The rich darkness invites us to move differently, to turn up our senses and step tenderly in. Many humans are not able to experience much of real darkness these days, with man-made light all around at all times, which is a rumination of its own. But tonight I encourage you to allow for darkness as best you can. You might consider going without electric lights for much of the evening and/or sitting out under the vast dark sky. Revel in the way being in darkness invites us to acknowledge our not-knowing, become aware of the ways we are only responding to the shape of things without the filled in detail. How can you open up your curiosity to try to understand what is all around you without the benefit of clear seeing?
What or whom in your life might you be only seeing in silhouette or shadow and how can you move more tenderly towards it or them? What sense can you open up to get more insight?
Day 3/Dec22 – Polyrhythmic Being
Take 10 minutes today to sit outside and see or sense into the different rhythms of more-than-human life around you. Start with obvious movement, the speed of the fluttering leaves at the top of trees, the slower sway of big branches, wings beating overhead. But also feel into rhythms that may be unseen; can you feel a pulse from the earth opening up? Can you imagine the beat of moisture as it moves up a tree trunk or the bit by bit dissolving of a dew drop? Can you feel all this life around you as movement, rhythms?
Your body has its own polyrhythmic music going on. Imagine yourself as an ecosystem of beats joining together into one song. Can you let each part lead for awhile?
Day 4/Dec23 – Becoming Bare
Like branches we may sense a stripping away in Winter, a need to simplify and clear out. As you wander outside today reflect on the ways the natural world is bare, perhaps washed by wind or rain or made boundaryless by a covering of snow. In what ways do you also feel bare these days? What are you yearning to let go of, to drop and simply be a simpler essential you? Take time to revel in the beauty of the deciduous wisdom of letting go for a time.
Day 5/Dec24 – The Patience of Rest
I recently learned that trees sleep in the dark nights; they cease drawing up moisture, letting their trunks ever so slightly swell with the resting liquid, and pause. How lovely to think of the sleeping trees! Much in the Winter season speaks to us of rest and slowing down, snuggling in. Sometimes we humans complicate our rest by putting restful activity on a to-do list in hopes of it improving us somehow. What if rest included a patience with what is? Today see if you can witness the natural world resting in some way – bare branches, withered leaves, a burrow under the cool earth. Whisper to the beings around you and yourself, “The earth invites your rest.” “Bless your rest, dear one”.
How can your body mirror the rest you witness. How would you approach rest differently if you perceived it as all there was to do while patiently waiting for the next Spring to come?
Day 6/Dec24– Sheltered From/Sheltered With
Some weather requires us to shelter from it. Some fresh growth can only happen in the shelter of a larger being so that hard rain or wind doesn’t wash away what is needing to root deeper. Today you might go out on a wander to notice other beings sheltering. You may consider who is currently sheltering near you; where do the squirrels sleep, where do the ants burrow, how are the smallest most sensitive leaves situated, how do birds build nests that will stay dry in the storm? From inside your homespace, you might find the ways that the natural world encircles your shelter. Touch the glass of the window to feel the cool of the outside just right there. Watch a sunbeam play along your floor, the outside coming in.
In what ways do you feel yourself sheltering from and in what ways do you feel yourself sheltering with the more-than-human world around you? And perhaps today take a moment to reflect on the gifts of sheltered protection and those who shelter with you.
Day 7/Dec25 – Gracious Receiving
As you go outside today greet everything you see as though it is a gift given to you. Be generous in your gratitude, how wonderful each of these things that draw your eye are, how amazing they are here for you to witness! Can you see the tenacious grass along the edges of the pavement as a sweet present? What if that unfurling fern, that glistening pebble, that slowing traveling cloud showed itself in all its beauty for you? What if your appreciation of the world around you was wanted?
Receive it all today. Make your awareness a form of gracious receiving.
Day 8/Dec26 - Smell as Song
Plants communicate with their insect companions through smells, sweet, bitter, yeasty, all having silent messages about that they offer and wish to protect. Today I encourage you to engage in that song by listening to your sense of smell. Pick one leaf and bend it to release its scent. Put your nose right up to the bark of a tree or sniff a wet rock. You have to get close to do this and that is much of the point. What songs are occurring close in, closer than you normally get?
Think of the intimacy of remembering a person’s smell. How might you know the world around you more intimately? How might you describe, so that you might remember, the smell of a place or being?
Day 9/Dec27 – Touch as Communication
Today I invite you to get dirty, to get wet. Take time to walk amongst the more-than-human community around you and touch. Trail your fingers over bark, stroke the undersides of petals, splash dew drops all over your arms and face. (If you are unfamiliar with dangerous plants in your area, then stick to touching things you know. Take care of your sweet self) Touch with intention to connect, not to take or move out of your way, but to make contact. Imagine the other being is touching you, with its pollen, collected raindrops, mineral colored soil. What if you let yourself carry these caresses with you all day, on your skin, under your skin? What do they wake up in you?
Day 10/Dec28 – Listening as Contact
Find a place outside where you can comfortably and safely spend some time with your eyes closed. Steady your body and draw your awareness to listening. What do you hear around you? You may first notice human sounds but stay open to other noises. What do you hear close to you? What do you hear from far away? What changes for you as you let hearing be your primary focus for awhile? What are you noticing that you may not have noticed with your eyes?
What are these present sounds inviting you to do?
Day 11/Dec29 – Invisible Growth
Under the earth roots are extending deep, drawing up water and nutrients from previously untapped depths. Your body repairs while you sleep, rest a remedy to the old scratches and scrapes on the surface or within. So much growth happens where we do not see it. Today as you spend time outside connect into the networks of growth happening invisibly around you. Can you envision the root systems as actually just as large as the tree body? The resting buds able to wait out the frost before blooming?
What might these beings tell you about growth and the unseen? What might they tell you about trust? How can you invite your body and mind to honor the invisible movement of the world?
Day 12/Dec30 - The Intensity as Something Goes
I hope you can make time to go witness a Winter sunset do its psychedelic thing sometime this week. Sunsets allow us to watch change unfold before our eyes in shifting, each moment its own new beauty, until it fades into the darkness of night sky. Sunsets are more vibrant in the cooler months, sometimes like a sky on fire. This color explosion happens as the path of the sunlight is longest before reaching our eyes which filters out blues and greens, leaving us to see reds, oranges, pinks. Let your body respond to the beauty of the burst before night falls.
Reflect on what gets filtered out when you know something is ending and what gets highlighted? As this year is leaving what is intensified? How do you honor endings?
Day 13/Dec31 – Wild Time
Of course, the natural world doesn’t recognize this as the last day of a calendar year. It is simply a part of a constant flow. If you can, today you might find a place where you can watch flowing water or the tides of the ocean. If you are not near water, perhaps take some time to watch the clouds flow across the sky. Can you tap into a different conception of time than humans carry? What is time to the wild? How does that tree track time? Just sit and be with the flow of wild time for a bit.
Can you feel yourself as part of a much longer story?