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Pause on the way to notice where you are

“Yule is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day.” Yule Lore

It’s a special time of year for me. I feel very lucky to be able to say that. It is one of my favourite occasions for family coming together for a time of appreciation, generosity, good food and lots of laughter!

For some it is simply ‘holiday season’ away from work. For many it is about gathering with friends and family, but while that brings celebration and joy for many, for others it triggers stress and sorrow.

For all it can bring much into sharp focus. That opportunity to reflect is powerful (not necessarily pain-free!) for taking
responsibility for where we are and where we’re headed.

It’s ok to slow down

In more ancient traditions, the Solstice of 21st/22nd December is the original new year, marked by the shortest day (in the northern hemisphere) before the days start to lengthen again as we look ahead to Spring and new life.

Winter is nature slowing us down. Solstice provides that reflective 3-day ‘space’ between worlds, old and new, past and future, with time to breathe……haaaaaaaah.

If we let us ourselves, that is! In amongst the hustle and bustle of the ‘modern’ lives we lead, do we miss the experience along the way? Some reading this may even believe I’ve got it upside down. This is Christmas time after all – we even call it “The Silly Season”! That’s my point – I wonder how many of us even take moments between the parties and presents to pause and breathe while we can, as opposed to regretting afterwards that we did and wishing we had…? [And not just at this time of year, but at other points throughout…]

In 2011, I have been lucky enough to travel to the Jordanian desert again (working with mentors and young entrepreneurs), this time also visiting extraordinary Petra and The Dead Sea, and to sail and live aboard the truly remarkable ‘Black Ship’ Heraclitus for 3 months. On these occasions, and others, dedicated time to “pause on the journey” has always been beneficial and hugely rewarding. I’d even call it an integral part of the whole experience and essential in my ongoing intention “to be my best me”.

It’s ok to stop

On our personal journeys, individually and in our relationships, this time in the year represents the pause by the side of the path. Stopping. Putting down our baggage. Taking on food and drink. Recharging the batteries. It is an opportunity to look over our shoulder to see how far we’ve come from the last valley below, to recall what it took to get here, then look ahead to the next peak to climb. It is a moment of acknowledgement and appreciation – of where we’ve come from and where we are going. In so doing, we can really notice where we are – the “present”, no less! In fact, why would I rush on to the next ‘thing’ if I am truly appreciating this moment for all that it is?

It is also a moment to recalibrate and reset our sights on the way ahead. Where might we dare to be by this time next year…?

There are other powerful questions we can ask: what did I notice on the way? What can I celebrate? What can I be proud of? What did I learn? What did I learn about myself? What new friends did I make? What old friends did I reconnect to? Which way would I like to go next? What resources might I need to help me on the way? Who would I like to share my journey with?

It’s ok to let go

Looking back on the year allows us the chance to acknowledge and let go what went badly or didn’t work, what went well or better than expected, to learn from mistakes and new insights, to be grateful for ALL that we have learned and achieved, and to revitalise for what comes next. Letting go creates space for potential to seed and grow. Burning off the old that no longer serves us (as
with the tradition of the Yule log) also brings warmth into the home and is an opportunity to gather and celebrate.

“When we embrace what lies within, our potential knows no limit. The future is filled with promise. The present, rife with

Now that is something to celebrate!!