Gift for yourself. Retreat.

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Gift for yourself. Retreat.

Isn’t it curious for many people during this holiday-season-time-of-year that their time is filled with lots of yang: hustle, bustle, celebration, travel, a speeding up of activity, yet when all of Nature is doing just the opposite?  Take a breath … then look outside.  Mother Earth is slowing down.  Retreating. The nights are longer. Darkness falls early.  Tree sap has moved down into the ground.  Animals borough in nests to hibernate.  The air is still and cold. Full moon reflects off glowing snow.  The time of Deep Sleep. Nature is yin.   For of all the times during the year, the time when the natural healing spiral inward, downward and quiet is greatest, is Now.

To be in touch with Mother Nature, the cure and cause of all things, one might consider riding this wave as it spirals inward.  You can take advantage of this natural cycle by making time to refresh, rejuvenate and repair.  Take as much time as you need.  An hour away from the madness is good but creating your own Day Off Retreat will produce big healing results and changes for the better.

Here’s how. An Ancient ritual practice seems suited.  Introducing: A Round. This vehicle takes one from an outer hectic reality, through steps, which decease activity and leads to Silence.   Silence. The built-in, all natural way every organic body heals itself is … rest.  T he deeper the rest, the greater the healing.

The greatest metabolic rest occurs with meditation.  Awareness Meditation  (AM) to be specific.  Try these simple steps, taking 5-15 minutes each one.

MOST OUTE R.  Start with the most outer form of activity: movement.   Start fast and slow down. The slower the better. Slowing the movement down even more, to be with the breath.  From this simple dance comes all Qi Gong forms, Tai Chi and such.

REDUCE More. Descend to the floor for yoga.  This is not exercise or motion.  It is holding a stretch  position for several, at least 3, slooww, lonngg, deeep breaths.

STILLER still .  Now sit with straight spine. Make your exhales twice as long as your free, open mouthed inhales. Now make the exhale three times as long. Now 4 times. 5x….

MOST INNER .   When you notice that you just spaced out above, you are on your way.  For the next while just sit and watch.  No more breath control.  Just watch the body breath itself. Observe the thoughts think themselves. It all happens by itself, quite naturally, without any help from you, thank you very much. In fact, as soon as you DO anything, Awareness Meditation stops.  It becomes the usual thinking, analyzing, figuring, assuming, judging.  AM is the only time in your life when YOU don’t have to DO anything.  Just watch.  Witness. Observe.  With a neutral, cordial attitude.  Like watching leaves wisp over the lawn.

After 20 minutes, you’re done.  Round 1 complete.   You may notice deep rest.  Restful Awareness.  A successful AM session.  Take time to get used to greater activity with a yawn, a stretch, a deliberate deep breath.

For maximum benefit, to really get the most,  take a full Day Off Retreat and repeat Awareness Meditation Rounds 4 times: two in the morning, two in the afternoon. Now you are Rounding.  No electronics that day.  Maybe some short walks, music, reading.  It’s a day off.  A Gift from Your Self.