THE POWER OF HIBERNATION
As we approach the shortest day of the year on December 21st and the Winter Solstice, we are invited to step back from the stories that we live our lives by and find some deep peace and reflection space to rest and regenerate ourselves.
After the year that took us all by surprise, we are being asked to use the power of our conscious choice in new ways to create new personal and collective realities. One powerful technique to assist us in doing this is hibernation.
Yes – similar to the Bear tribe, we humans can also find our ‘cave’ and carve some ‘sacred time’ out of our day world to rest, enter into silence and care for our bodies, minds, emotions and dreams.
Taken directly from the December practices in The Soulistic Journey, the extract below invites you to withdraw from your conscious awareness or identity based stories for a period of time so you can discover the true gifts of the year that is passing.
Time to hibernate
Announce to your family and friends or commit to the process in writing via your journal, that every Thursday evening (or whatever evening, or timeframe that works best for you) for the next month (or however long you can realistically commit to this), you will be hibernating. Ideally, your hibernation practice should take place at a time when you don’t usually allow yourself to rest.
- Enjoy the raised eyebrows and disbelief. Insist that during this time, you should not be disturbed – barring an emergency.
- Make like a grizzly-bear and create your den. If you share a bedroom with another human being, is there an alternative space where you can hibernate? If not, then be ready to pack down your den after each session. If you have a shed, summerhouse or a spare room, then mark out your territory! Your den should be small and cosy, dark and sumptuous: collect drapes to hang, and soft furry blankets to snuggle in; have plenty of cushions to curl into and hot water bottles at the ready if it is cold. You may like to hang golden fairy lights above your head to remind you of the stars. As with our animal cousins, even though your den is likely to be inside, it should feel connected to the outside, so you might like to play the sound of a river, the ocean or the wind in the trees on your smartphone – there are many Nature Sounds apps to choose from – or you may prefer silence. Light some incense and a candle, for nothing is quite as soporific as flickering candlelight. Bring into your den anything that helps you to truly relax.
- Admire the beautiful space you have created just for you.
- At the appointed time, wear only loose-fitting comfortable clothes and no shoes. Crawl into your den space and ensure you have at least an hour – preferably two or three – when you will not be disturbed. Set a gentle alarm on your smartphone to rouse you out of your hibernation at the time you choose.
- Nestle, rummage, squirm. Get comfy. Then begin to slow…
- Focus on your breathing: breathe in through your nose, two-three hold… Out through your mouth, two-three hold… Slower: in through your nose, two-three hold… Out through your mouth, two-three hold… Slower still: in, two-three hold… out, two-three hold… in, two-three hold… out, two-three hold…
- Relax and tune-in to the silence or the Nature sounds. Keep breathing slowly.
- You may fall asleep or you may just breathe – but do absolutely nothing else. Sounds easy, doesn’t it! But it’s surprising how long it takes our chattering minds to become still. If you’re adept at meditation, you may easily be able to slip into a meditative state where you become still within, but if, like many of us it is difficult to ‘let go’ of the busyness of the day, then hibernation may take a bit of practice. Do stick with this practice, because how often do you truly allow yourself to do nothing? Watching TV, reading, darning the kids’ socks, writing the shopping list, having friends around for dinner – this is not doing nothing. Gift yourself a few hours each week during the Mystery Time of Winter to just do nothing. Remember, doing nothing takes dedication and practice but it will pay off in the long run!
Hibernation takes you beyond meditation into surrender. And what are you surrendering to? Your own natural rhythm and tempo that exists in every cell of your being. You were born with this instinct but have learned to cover it over with the busyness and noise of modern life.
If any insights come to you whilst hibernating, then write them down after the session so that you may ponder upon them, but hibernation is all about true relaxation at a fundamental level. Really, it asks nothing of you except commitment to surrender.
Extract from The Soulistic Journey
Why not step into your personal Soulistic Journey this Christmas with our new manual for adventurers?
The journey awaits – will you answer?