life practices: heading into winter

I intend to blog once a season as we head into each season to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

Winter Solstice Celebration on December 21st!
I facilitate, participate, and sing in this ritual at Unity Unitarian Church every year—if you’re in the area and would like to join us, please do!

Come join this contemplative, family-friendly, participatory, Celtic-inspired ritual to mark the turning of the year as the darkness gives way to the growing light. This year we will also honor the full Wolf Moon and the total lunar eclipse. More information here.

If you’re interested in creating a meaningful ceremony to mark some passage in your life, read more here about my work as an Interfaith Minister.

In your own life, how are you taking in this Advent season of waiting, of going inward? Here is the Call to Worship I gave at our recent Mary service—I offer it as an invitation:

I feel winter calling me inside, welcoming me into its cozy, warm darkness. I just brought in the last of the dark leafy greens from the garden. I’m firing up my crockpot and holding warm cups of tea between my hands. There is a natural inward turning of my attention—towards nourishment, towards warmth—and a slower rhythm is beckoning me.

I usually know myself through my doing. Who will I be if I allow myself to slow down, to listen inwardly, to take in the nourishment of my Being? Who will emerge in the quiet, in the stillness? Who or What is waiting to be born in me?

Music. I have been enjoying sharing music at my Unitarian Church here in St. Paul—a few weeks ago, I was able to sing my Hail Mary during the service on Mary that Rob and I put together, which was a real blessing. Most of my music is about worship, connecting with our own souls, so sharing it as part of a worship service feels very aligned and “right” to me.

Hail Mary is one of the two songs from my album Welcome Brigid that was included on a new compilation CD called Songs of Mary that is produced by Sounds True. The album is stunning—you can find it on my websiteWelcome Brigid, the album that my songs come from, is available on my site here.

Are you bringing music into your life now as we move toward the holidays? What music nourishes you? Singing holiday music can help us move into this season with more joy, or perhaps listening to calming, grounding music that invites you to slow down in what can be a very busy time…How are you nourishing yourself with music?

The Enneagram. As you may know, the Enneagram is my favorite tool for understanding how my personality operates. It’s an amazing psycho-spiritual tool for really seeing through who we think we are to who we really are, to our Essential Self or True Nature. You can check out more about the Enneagram on my site if you like.

My husband Dave Hall and I will be offering an Enneagram Workshop for couples, called Cultivating Deeper Contact with the Enneagram at The Journey Inn, a beautiful B&B in Wisconsin March 18-20. We only have room for 5 couples. You can find details here.

Collage. I have been so busy lately that I haven’t made time for as much collage time as I would like. I really find that the practice of collage nourishes me in a special way. It invites me into creative, non-linear time and knowing, into surprising beauty, moments of delight, deep insight and understanding.

Collaging is also a way that I can engage with an inquiry about something that is challenging me in my life, emotionally, spiritually. Writing helps, but collage gives me another way in that is  less logical, less structured. Recently I have been processing my feelings around another person in my life being diagnosed with cancer, this time a brain tumor. I don’t like to think about death—who does? But this year has been full of folks getting ill and death, including my sweet Teddy Bear lhasa apso, so I’ve been needing to keep myself engaged with this topic.

I share with you my collage and blog post about this most recent friend—there are actually a few about death, the unknown, and the preciousness of life on my blog, but this is the most recent one.

You may not know, but my collages were featured in The Vision Board by Joyce Schwarz, and in the 2nd printing, softcover version one of mine is actually featured on the cover! (You can see it peeking out on the right side.)

Movement. In my busyness, I’m not moving enough these days. I sit at my computer all day, then finish my day-job, and sit down again for working on my work. I’m trying to at least get out for a walk, to run errands on foot, and I do run 2-3 times/week, but it’s not enough!

I wrote about Authentic Movement last time—I’m still doing that and really enjoying opening to new wisdom in my body. You can read about that here if you wish.

Another lovely way to move is the circle dances of Dances of Universal Peace. They are offered every 3rd Sunday at the Friends Meeting House on Grand Ave. in St. Paul. For more information, check out the Meetup listing.

How are you listening to your body’s wisdom? Are you paying attention to tightness, to need for rest or exercise or right amounts of food and drink? Are you allowing your body’s natural movement to inform you, to nourish you? For those of you, like me, who live in northern climes, notice how you tense up in the cold. Can you breathe and relax instead?

Poetry. Another of my favorite practices is that of welcoming poetry into my life. I’m on a few poetry lists that send me poetry into my inbox every day, which I LOVE (Writer’s Almanac and Poetry Chaikhana), and I always have a book of poetry nearby. I also enjoy walking with a poem and reciting it, learning its rhythms and music, eventually learning it by heart.

Here’s a poem for the season by Sister Peronne Marie Thibert, set to music by my friend Elizabeth. If you’d like to get these more regularly, you can sign up for my Poetry List  (when you get to the Contact page, scroll down).

The gate is open
dare we enter
the snow looks heavy, deep,
the woods, dark, deeper still
the Star, we’re told,
is somewhere beyond
on the other side of fear,
of hopelessness
The gate is open
dare we enter
dare believe…

Winter Blessings on your life practice/practice of life, Katy

p.s. If you’re looking for encouragement and inspiration as you move into the New Year, check out my friend Pam’s personal growth email program: Thriving Winter: A Call to Aliveness.