I must be honest, R.E.M. has been playing in my head all day long: "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine..."
In all of the world ending hulaboo, I almost forgot that it's the Winter Solstice. I found myself wanting to hang out in stillness today and that's what I did. I snuggled up inside the house and meditated, practiced yoga, took a bath, lit some candles, enjoyed some freeform movement, reclined on the couch with my Kindle...yes, I was in fully Winter hibernation mode and I enjoyed every second (perhaps that's why I feel so "fine" today just like Michael Stipe says).
I also spent some quality time with my Tibetan Singing Bowls. I enjoy adding a little sound and vibration to my Savasana by placing a bowl either on my chest or belly. If you don't have a bowl, I suggest adding sound to your yoga practice -- on your exhales, try toning MAAAAAAA or HMMMMMMMMM or AHHHHHH. I did this today (I suppose you could say the theme of my practice today was sound and vibration) using some simple arm movements and forward bends and cat cows. Afterwards I felt relaxed and deeply at peace.
If you're in need of some peace this holiday season, check out this video on the healing power of sound:
And in case peace isn't enough of a holiday gift for you, I'd also like to offer up a perspective shift. Back when I first started studying yoga and meditation, I had this fantasy of turning off my thoughts altogether (yes, I entertained fantasies of sitting high atop a mountain smiling peacefully as I sat with an empty mind). It wasn't until a teacher talked about changing the quality of the mind rather than changing the mind itself that I let go of the fantasy.
When I first started bringing awareness to my thoughts, I found that I could change my outer world if I first changed my inner world. This wonderful TED Talk discusses just that -- and the speaker, Shawn Achor, makes you laugh along the way. Just a little holiday reminder that just because the news proclaims the end of the world doesn't mean you have to buy into it. Perhaps it's time to create your own world...