Gathering In – Preparing for the Holiday Season

LETTER FROM ALAY’NYA – November, 2006

“GATHERING IN: Preparing for the Holiday Season” – A First Year Series Letter

November, 2006

Dear Ones –

“Gathering Your Energy”

This is the time of falling leaves, of nippy mornings, and of the last harvest for the year. This is a sacred time, and a powerful time. “All Hallowed E’en” (Halloween) and the “Feast of All Souls” are cultural markers that have come to us through the overlay of Christian holy days. In reality, these festival days connect us to our deeper history, and to a time when we were more attuned to the rhythms of life and living.

Through strange coincidence, our current time has given us a single hour “between the worlds;” when we set the clocks back an hour on the last Sunday of October. It is in this hour that I am writing to you.

If you are focusing on your Level 1 practice, or grounding, then this is a special time for you. Your “grounding” practice ties in very much to the energy at this time of the year.

Even experienced practitioners will come back to Level 1, or grounding emphasis, from time to time. After more than twenty-five years of dance, and many prior years of martial arts practice, I still need to “re-group and re-ground” from time to time. And so I’ll come back to Level 1, and start from the beginning.

A smart way for us to be more grounded right now is to take note of how we are organizing our daily lives. If we were squirrels, we could simply harvest nuts! If we wear bears, we’d look for a nice place to hole up for the winter. But as humans — in today’s society — we are looking at a time of increased activity throughout the holidays. This puts a stress on both our bodies and psyches. So the smart thing, the grounded thing, to do is to focus on practices that will give us an energy boost that will carry us through not only the holiday season, but also the first part of winter.

These are some things that will help:
Get enough water: It is too easy to start taking in too many sweet drinks (e.g., hot chocolate), but our bodies need water to maintain high physical and mental energy levels. I’m trying to prepare a mug of water with lime or lemon in it at night, so it is the first thing that I drink in the morning. I’m also making a point of having lime-water available during workouts, and on my desk during the day. And even though I love hot tea with honey, I’m making a solemn promise to myself to have at least one to two glasses of hot lime water for every cup of tea! (Surprisingly, there is another benefit — I’ve been told that even though the lime or lemon water is a little pH-acidic, it actually helps our stomach operate at a more alkaline pH, which is desirable for digestion. Good habit!)
Re-organize your life to give yourself exercise time: We’re at that critical point between summer play-time, and the frantic pre-holiday shopping. Take advantage of the moment by simplifying as much as you can, scaling back where possible, and re-focusing on getting daily exercise. Because I’m a morning person, I find that getting up ultra-early and having two and a half hours for “private practice” is ideal. This gives me a half hour for journaling, and two hours for a morning work-out routine that includes yoga, fresh fruit and veggie juicing, core conditioning and working with weights, a little cardio, and all the things that comprise a well-rounded physical regime. Towards the end, I make a smoothie using a recipe that Linda H. of Healthways taught me, consisting of blended banana, soy milk, kefir yogurt, protein powder, and berries or other in-season fruit. This helps me take in supplements, especially the ones that require a little something in your tummy, such as Omega-3 oils. And this kind of early-morning schedule requires going to bed early, which is a lifestyle commitment. You might not be an early-morning person; this whole idea might be intolerable — or impractical — for you. But using this as an idea, see what you can do to get more workout time in your life, and more attention to your diet, emphasizing fresh foods and veggies!
Get more sunshine: It is easy to get out and get some uplifting sun-rays during summer time. At this time of year, though, we need to make a special effort. Try to take a lunchtime walk on sunny days. Pack comfortable walking shoes, and pants if needed, or keep a set at work so you can change and get out for some brisk movement. The sunshine will be a mood-lifter and help your body produce Vitamin D. The exercise will help invigorate your day and help you ride over the afternoon “sludge” period. If it is rainy, consider a walk in a nearby mall or food store (breathe in produce and flower scents!), or visit your favorite tanning salon (load up with SPFs before, especially on face and neck, and be careful not to overdo — but the tanning rays will have a feel-good effect when you’re dealing with multiple rainy days.

You might consider adopting any or all of these suggestions for the next three weeks (between Samhain and Thanksgiving), as it takes three weeks to establish a new habit. Also, if you are really motivated to build up the crest of your “energy wave,” then you might write down a daily affirmation (ten times each day!) that reinforces your intention for an energized body, mind, and psyche.

Love to all – Alay’nya

P.S. At Level 1, you will be concentrating on getting your life together – on “getting grounded” – in many ways. And Level 2 will have you processing lots of “stuff” to help you realize your power, starting in Levels 3 and 4. But you can start now to practice your reality-creation powers by envisioning a mid-winter cheer-up trip; something you can do after the holiday rush has quieted down. Whatever it is that would delight you most — from a trip to someplace warm and sunny, to a ski vacation, or a home redecorating project, think now of what would give you greatest pleasure. Start now to collect pictures, information, and anything that will help you visualize yourself experiencing what you would like — regardless of budget or other “life practicalities.” Just for the fun of it. Forget being practical, let yourself imagine, and put yourself into the situation. We’ll see where this will take you three to four months from now.

P.S. For a great core-training DVD, visit “The Fitness Pharaoh”