Be Light and Healthy

Happy Winter Solstice!

Posted on: December 19, 2010

 “I know when night has gone that a new world’s born at dawn.”  Bob Nolan (Tumbling Tumbleweeds Lyrics)

The Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 and marks the shortest day and longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere.  As the darkest part of the year ends, we are reminded of nature’s unending cycles and the passing of time.  She beautifully expresses her duality as the light returns in the northern hemisphere and recedes in the southern hemisphere.  For centuries the return of the light has been marked by festivals and celebrations.  Many modern religious celebrations and customs are rooted in ancient rituals.  Our ancestors lived in harmony with nature.  They relied on her transitions to guide them, and their lives were intertwined with her phases.  As they entered the coldest part of the year, they were most vulnerable to nature’s elements.  The return of the light filled them with hope and helped sustain them until spring returned. 

Just as the darkness does not last forever neither do the cycles of our lives.  As nature contracts, her rhythms slow as she gathers strength for spring’s expansion.  In modern times her gentle urgings to conserve our energy are often met with great resistance.  The velocity of our lives increases as we dash through the days leading up to the holidays.  The demands we place upon ourselves in preparation often cause us to lose track of the important things in our lives.  We get caught up in the details of trying to get the perfect gift, make the perfect cookies, decorate the perfect tree, or even eat perfectly.  By the time the big day arrives many people’s nerves are frazzled and their patience has worn thin unintentionally resulting in the formation of bad holiday memories.   

I spent many years filled with anxiety during the holiday season due to my weight issues.  Instead of focusing on the important aspects of the season, I would direct a great deal of attention and energy to issues surrounding food.  When you look below the surface, many people who appear to have eating issues fundamentally have issues surrounding primary foods, which Joshua Rosenthal, founder of Institute for Integrative Nutrition, characterizes as relationships, career, spirituality, and exercise – aspects of our lives that nourish our souls.  Many people try to fill a void in their lives by indulging in unhealthy behaviors.  During the holidays that void can feel like a chasm triggering bad behavior. 

Being Light and Healthy is about more than food and exercise.  The holidays provide us with opportunities to focus on relationships and spirituality.  Feeling joy and a connection to others are essential components of a healthy life.  Take the time to slow down and consider what would truly nourish your soul and fill you up.  By turning to food, spending, or drinking we are avoiding the fundamental issue.  Instead of denying or resisting bad behavior, be grateful for the critical information your body is conveying to you.  Your body’s cravings for nourishment are a message that something is lacking in your life, and your attempts to nourish yourself by continuing to indulge in bad behavior will never solve the problem.  Consider nourishing yourself and loved ones by trying some of these simple suggestions:

  • Spend time with aged friends or family members.  Sitting and visiting while they reminisce is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give. 
  • Spend time with children.  If you are blessed with children in your life, make building wonderful holiday memories a priority.  They may not remember the gifts you struggled to give them, but they will remember baking cookies with Grammy, lighting the menorah, or sitting by the fireplace every Christmas Eve while you read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Happy memories are gifts that can forever be accessed in the sanctuary of their minds and will sustain and nurture them during the cycles of their lives.       
  • Reprise or replace the spiritual practices of your childhood.  Though you may have abandoned these practices as an adult, connecting with humanity and your past by attending a religious service may feed your soul.     
  • Start new traditions that are uniquely your own.  If a non-denominational celebration appeals to you, celebrate the Winter Solstice.
  • Go Christmas Caroling.  Communities often sponsor caroling events, or you could gather family, friends, neighbors, and children together to fill the air with music.  
  • Volunteer to help others.  Helping others feels good and reminds us that everyone can make a meaningful contribution to the world. 
  • Take a walk with someone you care about.  Slow down and enjoy the beauty of nature as you sense her slowing vibrations.

I invite you to slow down and wisely nourish yourself by spending quality time with family and friends creating beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.  The ripple effects of the joy and happiness you create will overflow and expand the light and goodness in the world.  You’ll naturally begin to feel lighter as the joy you feel fills you up in a way food or material things never could.  Imagine how beautiful the world would be if we focused on filling our hearts with love instead of our stomachs with food and our lives with material things.  Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful holiday.  In addition, I invite you to sign up for weekly e-mail updates to get informed and inspired to Be Light and Healthy.

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Be Light and Healthy

The intention of this blog is to share information and inspire people to Be Light and Healthy.

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