5 Ways To Embody Your Soulful Winter Self
It’s winter in Houston. For Houstonians, winter means 8-10 days of 30-degree temperature, and we close the city at the first sign of ice or snow.
Though we might not experience a full winter season, the short winter days still drive most of us inside. Some of our trees lose their leaves, standing bare, storing their reserves, waiting for springtime when they can burst forth with new leaves.
Winter always marks a significant time for me. Not only does winter remind me of death, but it also reminds me of transformation.
Two events are closely tied to winter in my life; my father’s death in January 1989 as well as my almost death in December 2017. Both of those events were profoundly transformative for me.
The Major Arcana in the Tarot has allowed me a new perspective. And the more life I live, the more I see that death and transformation are one and the same.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned how to go within and embody my soulful self, my true self.
In Tarot, the Death card can be a scary sight. But the Death card is really all about change, ending one phase of life to make room for a new way of living.
It’s fascinating and fitting that the card right before Death is The Hanging Man. The Hanging Man is indicative of a period of life in self-imposed suspension and self-sacrifice. From this position, you can achieve a new vantage point, one in which we can easily let ourselves off the hook if we were so inclined.
The card following the Death is Temperance; the integration of opposites, conscious and subconscious, fire and water, or thought and emotion. It’s a gentle card as the Temperance angel typically brings healing into a situation.
Winter is a suitable time to review your life’s trajectory and remove what no longer serves you so you can achieve better traction for your momentum so you, too, can embody your soulful self. Not only do we have the rush of the holiday season that can help bring up unresolved issues, but we also have the year-end review that usually accompanies the new year.
The Hanged Man
Just as the trees lose their leaves so they can survive winter and The Hanged Man suspends himself for a new viewpoint, we can go within as well. (BTW, I’m not saying that you should do any self-sacrificing. I’m merely saying that taking some time out to look at things differently sometimes helps.)
You can do this by:
1. Practical pre-paving
Plan your downtime
Define your boundaries
Letting go, releasing burdens and resistance
Set intentions before going to bed or upon waking
Check your calendar before agreeing to take on extra activities/projects
I learned about pre-paving from a few different sources. On a practical level, I learned about it from a project management course. On a more woo-woo, spiritual level (my preferred level), I learned about pre-paving from one of my favorite teachers, Abraham Hicks.
Practical pre-paving takes some getting used to, especially when you’re used to being busy all of the time. But it isn’t difficult. This is what the trees are doing when they are losing their leaves. It’s also what The Hanged Man is doing when he decides to stay suspended.
Planning your downtime or planning for interruptions might seem like your not doing much, but what you’re really doing is getting ahead of stressful situations that can cause confusion.
Observe and make a note of when people or situations disrupt your flow. Minimize the unnecessary interruptions and plan to work on big projects when you’re less likely to have people or situations bother you. Then you can plan your downtime accordingly.
Pre-paving, as Abraham Hicks teaches it, is more about soothing the path before it a situation occurs. It’s about creating in advance by:
Imagining something turning out well in advance.
Acting from a place of alignment, playfulness, and comfort.
Leaving behind the complaints, guilt, worries, and bad feeling stuff.
Releasing resistance by saying things like:
I have a lot to do, and I’m doing alright.
I can work this out so things go better for me.
It might not be the way I want it now, but I’ll figure it out.
Pre-paving and planning your downtime can help you with defining your boundaries and setting intentions.
Once we let go, then we must go within and gather our strength. The bare trees and the Death card symbolize a season of stillness. It looks like nothing is happening. However, there is so much going on underneath the surface. Reserves are being stored, making room for new buds, and a new way of living to emerge when the time is right.
Restoring is important. Resting, yoga, meditation, long walks in nature, intentional breathing, and letting go all have the ability to induce being, relaxation, reflection, and acceptance.
In stressed out conditions, you’re more likely to make judgmental and impulsive choices. Decisions that are made in haste are more likely to be regretted later on. And those choices hardly ever stick.
But when you’re in a relaxed state, you can dispel confusion and quell overthinking. With this sense of calm, you can move into a balanced place of clarity where you can figure out what no longer serves you.
Choices carefully considered and made when you’ve observed your situation from a place of reflection and acceptance tend to be long-standing.
When you’re tired, rest. When you need to move, take a long walk, or do some yoga. Meditate and use intentional breathing when you need some self-reflection and awareness.
Try to mix these up in your self-care routine. All of these things have helped me on various levels at different times in my life. What works in one particular situation might not yield the same results on another.
For me, this combination looked like me planning my interruptions and working in some downtime. Then, I was able to go to this magnificent two-hour singing bowl, Reiki, and restorative yoga session. It was a fantastic experience in which I was able to release some traumatic emotions.
That session helped me further clarify my boundaries and set intentions for future romantic relationships.
Using your intuition
Calling on your guides
Once you’ve clarified your desires and cleared the way, you must go within. Dropping into yourself is best done after you’ve come back to center and let go of what no longer serves you.
After you’ve meditated or unified your body mind and soul with yoga, you can go within and access your inner wisdom and subtle, soulful energy.
Gaining insight with the help of your intuition, Tarot, and guides isn’t very difficult. You have all the answers you need inside of you. These divination tools just help give you a clear understanding of how to move forward when the time is right for your emergence.
Tarot cards are a visual and fun way to strengthen your intuition. If you are reading for yourself, you can pull a weekly card and see how situations during that week reminded you of that card.
If someone else is giving you a reading. Feel how the cards fit into your life situation before the reader reveals the message. Take what fits into your life during the reading and leave what doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it’ll make sense later. Other times, it’ll mean something different to you altogether.
Using your intuition can also seem scary if you’re used to not trusting yourself. Meditation, self-awareness, and self-acceptance help with strengthening your intuition. But it’s really not very complicated.
Just be soft about it and try sensing your way into things. Recognize how your body feels when you want to make a choice about how to move forward. If you have a few choices available, try closing your eyes and feeling each option out. Notice how your breathing changes or how physical sensations arise in different areas of your body.
Start with small decisions and work your way up to the big things.
Calling on guides is very new to me. I realize, however, that I’ve been doing this for quite some time.
It’s pretty easy, just ask a simple question either out loud or in your head. You don’t need to direct it to anyone specific either, though if you have someone in mind, that might be helpful. Then be open to receiving a response.
It’s not about hearing voices or seeing ghosts-at least it isn’t for me. It’s more like subtle ideas popping up.
I recently had a couple of experiences that helped me see how my guides have been assisting me all along. One of those was a breathwork session; the other was the singing bowl session I mentioned earlier.
During the breathwork session, I felt my father, grandmother, grandfathers, godfather, and dog, all of which are deceased, by my side. I also felt others that I don’t recall knowing in this life.
They showed me that every time I’ve asked for help, whether I knew it or not, this group of guides has assisted.
I’ve felt my dad’s and Isabelle’s guidance before. For example, sometimes I think of my dad, then shortly afterward, I’ll get an idea about a quick-fix, or someone will stop by my office with a solution.
However, this other combined energy is distinct and oddly familiar. Looking back at other times in my life, it seems that this energy has always been there in the background.
In the singing bowl session, this idea was confirmed when I asked if they were actively guiding me. The answer came through so obvious, it was undeniable.
Since this is so new for me, I’m just keeping this super light and playing with this energy.
Springtime and Temperance indicate integration and balance, the release of the old, and the introduction of new growth. The time of stillness ends, and the time for healing and understated beauty of expansion begins. New buds and foliage spring forth during this time.
You can do this by:
Emotions and thoughts balance
Check-in with therapy and friends
5. Creative self-expression
Calibrating is another idea I heard about from Abraham. It’s pretty simple. During winter, we can grieve the familiar patterns we’ve released. We can get confused and get lost within ourselves. We can wonder if the boundaries we set were even worth it.
Calibrating is about checking in with yourself and pivoting when you need it. You can also calibrate by checking in with your therapist or friends too. Sometimes having the support of objective parties can help clarify your positioning.
Calibration helps you achieve balance by finding a point of reference. From this reference point, you can tune yourself back on your path.
Digging up old beliefs, re-calibrating, and embodying my soulful winter self looks different than it did last winter or the winter before that.
I’m using new tools this time around. I’m going deeper and releasing some really traumatic wounds while keeping it lighter since I’ve done some heavy lifting the previous years.
Like the Temperance card symbolizes, balance your thoughts and emotions with the help of calibration.
From this calibrated, tempered place, you can heal on a new level and creatively express yourself just as the new buds emerge from the trees.
Once you’ve ignited the fire within, you’ll be able to play, sing, dance, work, and write from a balanced and authentic energy.
What are you doing to embody your soulful winter self? I’d love to hear which tools resonated with you. Leave a comment and let me know.
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