There was a lot of buzz on Facebook recently about the December 21st winter solstice/full moon eclipse (read more).
One of the comments I can’t get out my head was from a guy who after seeing my friend Deb Kern’s blog about this auspicious day, said, “That’s cool you keep track of this stuff. I never have a clue what the moon or seasons are doing. I’m totally disconnected from nature.”
Unfortunately he speaks for many of us.
The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter, is significant on many levels. But for me, it always signifies an invitation to honor and embrace the time of year when nature calls us to go inward.
We live in a culture that is perpetually in motion. We’re constantly responding to events, trends and tides that pull us outside of ourselves and into a sea of busy-ness. But if we slow down enough to take time to connect with our natural rhythms, we'll feel a strong tug this time of year to rest and reflect, renew and replenish and do the inner work necessary to prepare for an active spring. Think of this time as internal composting for a robust spring garden.
But life calls—so while crawling into a warm cave to hibernate for three months may sound enticing—we have to find a balance. What does “going inward” during these winter months look like for those of us with kids, jobs, businesses and households to run?
Consider trying one or two of the following ideas to take advantage of this rich time for introspection:
- Practice deep listening: what is your body saying it needs right now? Your soul? Stillness … action …release? Get in touch with your rhythms and respond to your needs.
- Connect with your inner writer: this is a great time for writing or journaling. Check out The Artist’s Way from the library and practice some of Julia Cameron’s great exercises.
- Enjoy some contemplative reading and reflective, soulful music (I love the book Sabbath by Wayne Mueller and Loreena McKennitt’s lyrical Book of Secrets this time of year).
- Build in time for extra sleep and rest—there is a reason you feel like crawling in a cave. Listen to your body.
- Schedule a one day or a weekend retreat (we have a nourishing, affordable one-day winter renewal retreat, Jan. 28th at The Crossings coming up)—winter is a great time to connect with your “inner wisdom” and reflect on what it is you most need to hear about your career/life direction. Note: If you’re in career transition, read our career management tips for 2011 or join us at our Jan. 14th career strategy workshop—details below.
- Try different types of replenishing movement such as restorative yoga or Yoga Nidra, qi gong or long nature hikes.
- Cook some deeply nourishing foods (I love my favorite butternut squash and spicy garbanzo bean soups this time of year).
- Plan one-on-one dates or intentional small group gatherings with close friends rather than large parties; take time to feed one another through nourishing conversation and connection. Or perhaps, consider joining or becoming trained to lead a Personal Renewal Group.
- Try eating one meal a week in silence alone or with your family (with the TV off, quiet music is ok). You can do this at the dinner table or while sitting outside. Listen to the sounds around you and really take time to taste and enjoy your meal.
- Consider starting or reviving a prayer, mediation or gratitude practice or even reserving a few minutes a day for stillness and silence.
For years, I used to make myself “get out there” in January, launching new programs and trying to meet the demand of our clients—a frenzy caused in large part by the manic media grabbing us by the shirt collar with a firm order to “Get out there and make those 2011 New Year’s Resolutions happen—NOW!” (A cannon launch is truly the last thing most of us feel like doing in the cold, dark winter months!)
But after forty-something years I finally learned that for me, January was a really fertile time for writing, reflecting, naming and honoring my successes from the previous year and most importantly taking time to listen to what my internal rhythms were dictating (this coming January is the busiest I’ve had in years by choice, but it’s still relatively calm).
If you find you’ve already committed to a crazy-busy January but your strongest desire is to pull back, rest and reflect (I just cancelled plans for a large birthday dance party and instead will be enjoying a small family gathering this weekend), you can always change your mind. You have my permission!
Please let me know how my team and I can support you this upcoming year. Don’t hesitate to call or email us. I hope to see you at an upcoming retreat or event or let us know if you’d like me to lead a customized retreat for your work group or organization in 2011. Take good care and let us know how your “composting” is going this winter on our Live Inside Out community.
Warmly—Renee and the RTA Team
Upcoming Events and Training:
January 1-31: News-You-Can-Use: View two January FOX-TV interviews with Renee on Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions and Steps for Launching a Career Change and read this timely article on Authentic Networking Renee contributed to in the Jan. 3rd Austin American Statesman.
- January 14, Friday: 9:30-Noon The Career Strategy Workshop: Find a Fit, Create a Plan, Love Your Work
A small, dynamic group-coaching workshop focused on helping you strategically map out your next steps and find work that is a “fit” for you. You will also receive support via our online Career Center, a complimentary coaching session and a subscription to the Career Strategist’s job leads service. **BONUS** receive a free DIY Job Search Toolkit (a $99 value) when you register by January 7. Class size is limited. CLICK HERE to learn more/register online.
- January 20, Thursday: 7:30-8:30 p.m. CST Live Inside Out Life Balance Teleclass with Renee Trudeau *Free* Theme: Harnessing the Power of Emotions with special guest Kert Peterson, Qi Gong teacher and leadership coach. A fun, interactive coaching circle via telephone. Join women from around the world as we reconnect with who we are, cultivate self-compassion and learn to live more intentionally. Learn more and register here.
January 28, Friday 9:00 - 3:30 p.m. Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: A Winter Self-Renewal Retreat at The Crossings. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Tap into new sources for ideas/inspiration/energy in the coming year. Enjoy the beautiful, contemplative grounds on this 200-acre nature preserve. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance coach and author Renee Trudeau. Ideal for women in career/life transition. For more details and to register click here.
February 8, Tuesday: 10 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Reclaim Your Life: Creating Balance from the Inside Out, a private women’s retreat in Fredericksburg. Click here to learn more about hiring Renee to create a customized retreat for your professional or civic group. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
February 19, Saturday: 9 a.m.-noon The Empowered Entrepreneur. Are you a small business owner who desires to work less, make (and experience) more and be the master–not the slave-to your business? Join us for this highly popular, interactive small group coaching experience. Workshop cost: $175 (bring a friend and you each get $25 off). Register and learn more.
March 4, Friday: 9:00- 3:30 p.m. Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: One Day Self-Renewal Retreat with Renee Trudeau at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau. Ideal for women in career/life transition. For more details and to register click here.
April 29-May 1, Friday-Sunday: Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: A Women's Self-Renewal Retreat , Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, The Berkshires, MA. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Tap the Transformative Power of Self-Care. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Kripalu. Ideal for women in career/life transition. Details here.
Are you a therapist, coach, doula or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Learn more about becoming a PRG Facilitator and join a national community of leaders who are changing women's lives through powerful life coaching groups centered around The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal.
Private Customized Retreats: Renee is masterful at creating/facilitating empowering half, full day or weekend workshops or retreats for companies, organizations and groups (her recent Lost Pines Self Renewal Retreat and her Kripalu retreat sold out and had a waiting list!). You can learn more about private retreats here or about her speaking/workshop topics, here. We’d love to help you schedule a spring or summer 2011 event. Email Sara Bogan, events manager at email@example.com or call 512-459-6700 to check Renee’s availability.
Visit our online calendar to learn about upcoming self-renewal retreats and events.