These are difficult times.
Our Earth and our fellow beings are facing extraordinary challenges.
The weight is heavy on our hearts; what do we do with all of this?
Meanwhile, Autumn, in all its shifting and shades and splendor, so beautifully allows us to meditate on Surrender...
I once wrote the following,
Not apathy, nor to give up,
Not to condone acts of harm toward ourselves and others
But to relinquish illusions of control over the circumstances of our existence
To humbly acknowledge and accept the ebb and flow of our lives, our thoughts and our emotions
To believe in the inherent wisdom of consciousness far beyond our grasping and aversion
To open ourselves to it all
I know it may sound simple, when in practice it is not always so easy. We breathe deeply. We find some stillness and respite from the challenges, and then suddenly, we are once again lost in our emotions, in our feelings, and in our thoughts. We notice we are lost, and so we breathe deeply. We find some stillness and respite. We repeat this process moment after moment... maybe for our entire lifetime.
One deeply important and helpful part of this practice is finding support. When we engage in this process on our own, it can feel like we're getting nowhere -- our habits are easier to fall back on, and we often find ourselves stuck.
This is one reason it is so skillful to take part in group classes, workshops and retreats. It's an opportunity to break out of our familiar patterns and engage in activities aligned with our goals and intentions. It is an opportunity to share our experience with others who can relate to the difficulties, support us when we stumble, and celebrate our dedication and growth; it allows us the chance to implement new routines in more conducive spaces and take them back with us into our daily lives.
If you're seeking an opportunity to reset or deepen your practice, to integrate new healthy routines into your life, or the ability to share quiet time in a breathtaking winter wonderland with a supportive, inclusive community, Erin and I would love for you to join us for this year's Winter Solstice Retreat in the incredible Hocking Hills of Ohio.
As always, we'll feature mindful movement (vinyasa, yin and restorative yoga asana) and guided meditation (always open to all experience levels and all bodies), creative reflection and writing, nourishing food and plant medicine, time immersed in the land around us, and ample opportunity to soak up the stillness on your own.
As you allow yourself to gracefully settle into the season of surrender, may you remember: you are not alone.
Thank you for taking the time to read, and to practice. I'd love to hear your strategies for practicing surrender in your life.
Until next time, may you be nourished.
With gratitude and lovingkindness,
Molly Jo Stanley
Educating for Mindfulness and Sustainability