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  • Writer's pictureBecs Mansfield

Teach us to slow down this winter

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

When was the last time you weren’t in a rush? Coming into winter we can learn to slow down. We'll explore how we can practice slowing down, checking in with ourself and noticing how're we're feeling and what we need right now. Setting the intention to slow down simply one daily action can positively impact on our day.

I'm Becs and I'm a certified Modern Meditation teacher. Here to share meditation and wellbeing guidance with individuals and organisations.

It's now December and for many of us this time of year is overwhelming, pressured and super busy. It's also a very emotional time of year, with all the festivities and expectations. Expecting everyone to be happy, energetic and everything to be perfect. But if we look around us nature is retreating.... We're coming up to the winter solstice this week and the shortest day of the year and marks the beginning of winter (in the astronomical calendar). We can see nature around us has withdrawn into deep, quiet rest. We can set intentions based on the energies of each season and learn from their wisdom. The mood of summer is different to the mood of winter. This is the time to slow down and turn our attention inwards. You may be feeling lacking in energy right now and this is your body’s wisdom asking for stillness, quietness and self awareness. We have been exploring slowing down in my Beginner's Modern Meditation 6 Week Course (starting again in Tuesday 10th January in Bredbury, Stockport!) and it feels like a suitable theme for my December blog post.

Welcoming rest in winter

Winter is a time of rest and hibernation, but for many of us the Christmas period is anything but that. Maybe our calendar is full and there is very little space for stillness and quietness. Maybe our calendar isn't full at all but the expectation of this season for everything to be perfect makes us feel worse. Maybe we are feeling overwhelmed by our situation and stuck in unhealthy patterns. We can learn to live more intentionally, consciously and purposefully. The turn in the season into Winter is a little nudge and a reminder that everything ebbs and flows. Summer is a time of outward focussed energy and action. Winter is a time to pause, to rest and reflect – to just be. The days are cold and short. The nights are dark and long. The sun is taking a rest, and now so should we. We can learn to let go and be more gentle with ourselves. We can be aware of these natural cycles when we're not feeling full of energy, and be patient. Let's explore how we can slow down, check in with ourself and notice how're we're really feeling... and what we really need right now.

Together we're going to set the intention to slow down

We’re going to consciously slow things down. When we connect our mind to the moment, we can make CONSCIOUS ACTION. When we're conscious we start to question why, and we can make POSITIVE CHANGE. What we’re going to do is write down one action you’d like to slow down. Ideally we’d slow everything down, but today we’re going to decide on one action to slow down. Here are some ideas below:

Slow down the process of waking up

I like to slow down the process of waking up. I consciously make my first morning brew and slowly and consciously drink tea in bed. Noticing how the warm cup feels in my hand, the steam on my face, the comforting taste of the (strong, not milky!) tea. I find slowing down the process of waking up has a real positive impact on the rest of my day.

Transform a "mundane" daily action, conscious!

Most of the time we go through life unconsciously reacting because of learnt behaviour, we're creatures of habit, our minds already know what to do, so often our attention is elsewhere. They say that most of us only are conscious 1% of the time. Imagine if could increase that by 1% each day, how much more of life we can experience. We can make a conscious choice to transform an unconscious action, conscious. All you need to do is bring your full attention to wherever you are, whatever you are doing. You can consciously transform the process of your daily walk to the bus stop or your daily train ride to work. When you start to pay attention you notice what is really happening and you will experience each moment fully.

Learn to let go of what is keeping you stuck in busyness

When was the last time you woke up without thinking about everything you had to do that day? When was the last time you woke up completely present? We are a society who prides themselves on busyness. If we're busy it means we're succeeding, and if we're not busy it means we're not doing enough. I am in a constant battle with myself as I am very much a "doer" and forever creating more things to add to my "to do" list. In fact my first self help type book I purchased was called 'Do Pause: You are Not a To Do List' by Robert Poynton... We need to let go and release what isn't serving us to allow space for stillness and slowness. As we're coming to the end of the traditional year it's a nice time of reflection. Maybe it's your attitude towards busyness and constantly trying to do too much that needs to change? You can decide on a mantra or statement you repeat to yourself each morning that sets you free from busyness. "I am not a to do list!" or similar...

Make a list of what you're ready to release

Dedicate some time to write down your intentions and what daily action(s) you'd like to slow down. Then write a list of all the things that you're ready to let go of that will offer you more space for slowing down. Maybe you transform the HIIT workout into a relaxing slow yoga flow, or your run to a walk as I have introduced this week. Maybe you decide to have a cosy night in instead of saying yes to the social event you don't really need / want to go to. Maybe you decide to sit on the sofa and watch Harry Potter (all of the films?) instead of squeezing in jobs that maybe don't need doing right now. Notice how it feels to let go. Maybe it feels uncomfortable, or maybe it feels freeing! Having a regular journalling practice allows us to stay intentional, conscious and purposeful. Get curious how setting intentions makes you feel, and how dedication to the intentions make you feel.

Modern Meditation to practice slowing down

We can introduce a daily meditation practice to regularly check in with the body and mind ~ to create space for reflection. Most of the time our attention is focussed outwards, now is the time to focus our attention inwards. We can get to know our inner world through meditation. Allowing ourself to notice feelings happening in the body and thoughts happening in the mind. Slowing down helps us to make the unconscious, conscious. We can consciously respond instead of unconsciously react. We can make a conscious choice, rather being stuck in unconscious habits or patterns that do not serve us. It's very easy to say "I am a busy person, that's just me" or "My mind is too busy to slow down" or something similar the relates to you?

"The aim of meditation is to understand what we did not formerly understand, to see what we have not previously seen, and to be where we have never been in relation to an object or a subject. Meditation is the unfolding of what is best for each person, and its results can be measured by the benefits to an individual's self and life. Meditation is discovery."

~ A.G. Mohan (Yoga for body, breath and mind)

You have the power to change, from the inside out

You can only truly understand the benefits and the power of meditation when you begin to practice it. You can read into meditation to inspire you to get started, but then it's the meditation practice that creates real positive and transformative change. In meditation we practice coming into the present moment, and without expectation, really noticing what is happening. We can learn to let go and be in the flow of things. Not being pulled into thoughts of the past, or thoughts about an imagined future. We can find real acceptance for this moment that we're in right now, wherever we are and whatever we are doing, and knowing that it is fine as it is.

As a Christmas gift from me to you, here is free Modern Meditation

Favourite this page and come back to it whenever you need. Practice over the Christmas period and beyond. To empower you to find some stillness, quietness and self awareness....

Less than 15 Minute 'Compassion' Modern Meditation

"In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move."

~ Henry Rollins (poet)

This week's winter solstice we reach the longest night and the shortest day. After that the light will begin to return, and we can look forward to the increased energy yet to come.

I am here to share my experience and offer meditation and wellbeing guidance with others. I want to empower people to know they can change, from the inside out. If you found this stuff interesting please subscribe, comment and share with your family and friends. Each month I'll explore a different theme on meditation and wellbeing topics. Get in touch if you have any questions or if you would like us to work together.

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